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UGA advertising alumni shine with Super Bowl commercials

Jason Kreher (ABJ ’00), a Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication alumnus, had a hand in creating two of the most popular commercials during this year’s Super Bowl.

He served as creative director for both the Irish Spring cult-horror parody and the minimalist Coinbase DVD logo reference. The Coinbase ad was ranked No.1 by Ad Age and AdWeek and received a Super Clio for best ad in the Super Bowl.

Getting to know Jason

Jason enrolled at UGA in 1996 already interested in the journalism school. He gives a lot of credit to Karen Whitehill King’s media class in which he said he learned “literally everything I know today.” 

After graduating in 2000, Jason traveled to Florence, Italy, before returning to the United States and landing a job as an assistant account executive on the intel account. In 2008, Jason joined the international advertising agency Wieden + Kennedy where he worked his way up to the creative director of its entertainment and editorial division.  

During this time, he earned the 2017 Henry W. Grady Mid-Career Alumni Award. Though he finds the ‘Mid-Career’ part of the title “hilariously diminutive,” he still asserts that this was the most exciting award to receive—and he’s received a lot of awards, including two Grand Prix’s at the Ciclope International Festival of Craft and the AICP’s Campaign of the Year, to name a few.  

After 14 years with Wieden + Kennedy, Jason found a new position as chief creative officer North America at Accenture Interactive. It was with this agency that Jason created and directed the Coinbase and Irish Spring ads for the Super Bowl. 

Jason (right) with Karen Whitehall King and Grady alumnus Tatum Shaw (ABJ ’02).

About the ads

He says he is pleased with the ads’ receptions. He prides himself on creating provocative ads, so when Coinbase’s one-minute-long bouncing QR code received mixed reviews, he was thrilled it was getting lots of attention.

“The Coinbase response was incredibly fun to watch happen in real time,” he said. “I love that once the dust settled, the spot came in first in the AdWeek and Ad Age polls and dead last in the USA Today poll. We knew the commercial wasn’t for everyone, but that was never the point. The number of people who scanned and the number of people who stayed and signed up exceeded our clients’ wildest expectations.”  

Despite being the more traditional of the two commercials—if you can call a sweaty man stumbling into a cleaning-obsessed cult traditional—Jason is happy with how the Irish Spring ad turned out, too.  

“Irish Spring made a few top ten lists as well,” he said. “But the funniest part is that I snuck in my high school’s logo on the main character’s shirt. Apparently, Brookwood pride is very real, almost alarmingly so. My clients were like, ‘why is our social feed lighting up in Snellville Georgia all of a sudden?’ Nice work, Internet Broncos.”  

All of Jason’s work—advertisements, short films, songs and more—are on his website. 

Jason shooting a campaign in Prague.

If you want more Super Bowl ads by Georgia Bulldogs …

Grady alumnus Andy Pearson (ABJ ’06, AB ’06) also had a hand in a popular regional commercial for Liquid Death.

Andy served as the vice president of creative services for the ad which featured small children (and one pregnant woman) partying and drinking the non-alcoholic sparkling water to Judas Priest’s “Breaking the Law.” The brand purposefully markets itself to look alcoholic to give those who don’t want to drink a healthier alternative without feeling pressured.

Andy also has his own website with his many advertising campaigns. He and his wife, Liza Behles, also have a joint website where they freelance remotely as a creative duo.


Support the next generation of ad industry professionals by giving to the Advertising Education Fund.

Family ties lead to lesson in giving

Parents’ philanthropy inspires new generation of Bulldogs

Jeff and Allison Mitchell live on a steady diet of maroon and orange in the college town of Blacksburg, Virginia, where both Jeff and Allison are Virginia Tech alumni, regularly attending football games to cheer on the Hokies. Despite this familiar connection with Virginia Tech, their daughter Elizabeth Grace (ABJ ’21) elected to forge her own path at the University of Georgia.

Elizabeth Grace’s time in Athens offered her an education needed to succeed beyond graduation and it provided valuable lessons around the importance of giving and service. So, while Jeff and Allison may have earned their degrees elsewhere, they’re now building a legacy of giving alongside their daughter at UGA.

New Colors, Same Focus

When Elizabeth Grace arrived on campus, Jeff and Allison instantly joined the Bulldog family, swapping out their Hokies’ attire for red and black. They regularly visited the Classic City during Elizabeth Grace’s four years in Athens, engaging, giving and serving, primarily through service on UGA’s Parents Leadership Council, to demonstrate what a legacy of giving looks like.

“We wanted Elizabeth Grace to understand that supporting her university is something she needed to take the long-term view on,” Jeff said. “Don’t put it off and think ‘I’ll start giving later;’ get started now.”

Giving back is as natural for Jeff and Allison as breathing; they provide ample philanthropic support to a host of institutions and organizations, including their alma mater. They lead by example to ensure those lessons of generous giving are passed on to Elizabeth Grace.

Creating a New Legacy

As graduation neared, Jeff and Allison wanted to honor their daughter’s time at UGA and illustrate why giving is important. The Mitchells decided to recognize her with a legacy gift — a philanthropic gift made in honor of her time at UGA — establishing the Elizabeth Grace Mitchell Student Support Fund.

They sought her involvement, working with her to identify what she wanted the fund to address on campus. Elizabeth Grace recommended that the fund provide financial support to students in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication who are majoring in her field of study, entertainment and media studies (EMST).

“The Mitchell family’s support of student projects will help us fuel EMST film projects – the very heart of the department’s experiential learning efforts,” said Charles Davis (MA ’92) the dean of the Grady College. “This sort of support takes on increasing importance the more hands-on work we do as a college, so we deeply appreciate the fund and what it signifies.”

photo of the Mitchell family with Grady College Dean Charles Davis

Jeff and Allison Mitchell (far left and right) with their daughter, Elizabeth Grace Mitchell (AB ’21) and Grady College Dean Charles Davis (MA ’92) in December 2021.

The fund also gives the opportunity for Elizabeth Grace to engage philanthropically with UGA right after graduation. She’ll contribute directly to it, allowing her to start her own journey of giving while building a legacy that endures long after she’s graduated.

More Opportunities with PLC

In addition to the legacy gift, the Mitchells joined the Parents Leadership Council (PLC) during Elizabeth Grace’s freshman year. Ultimately, this decision launched the couple’s philanthropic journey at UGA.

The PLC offered the chance for their family to build a meaningful connection with the university, including a social network that Jeff and Allison could trust would support Elizabeth Grace during her time in Athens. The service-oriented group provides funding through parents’ annual gifts to various student programs and initiatives on campus.

In the last decade, the group has awarded more than $3.8 million to undergraduate student organizations and is the top supporter of the President’s Venture Fund. The response to these types of needs, as well as the opportunity to help prioritize what needs should be addressed, resonated with Jeff and Allison. It allowed them to proactively help determine how their contributions improved campus—something they offered their daughter when setting up the Elizabeth Grace Mitchell Student Support Fund.

Forever Connected to the Bulldog Family

For Jeff and Allison, establishing the legacy gift for Elizabeth Grace is the culmination of a series of relationships, experiences and opportunities that ultimately will connect them to UGA for the rest of their lives.

“Everybody knows the University of Georgia, but to have your daughter attend from out-of-state and understand the brand and the legacy here, it’s just special,” Jeff said. “We’ve met many, many passionate UGA alumni, and their joy and passion are infectious. You spend any time here, and you just get it. So, we’re happy to celebrate Elizabeth Grace and support the University of Georgia.”

Jeff and Allison hope their philanthropy will inspire other Bulldog parents to establish their own legacies in honor of their students’ UGA experiences. Doing so enables the next generation to strengthen UGA by creating new avenues to success for future Bulldogs.

Want to know more? Consider being a part of parent philanthropy at UGA and establishing your own legacy gift to benefit future generations of Bulldogs! Learn more about UGA’s Parent Fund and Parent Leadership Council.

Learn More About the Parent Fund Learn More About the PLC

Written by Johnathan McGinty (ABJ ’00)

Dawg-gone good gifts: SculptHouse

For the people on your gift list who live in athleisure attire, check out SculptHouse. 

SculptHouse is a fitness studio, activewear and lifestyle boutique with physical locations in Atlanta and Dallas and a robust online presence. It focuses on helping clients lead healthy, happy and confident lives through fitness and fashion. 

Founder and CEO Katherine Mason’s (ABJ ’12) built SculptHouse from her experience in New York City’s fitness industry. Mason launched SculptHouse to fill a void for effective, efficient workouts while also offering an extensive activewear line. SculptHouse Buckhead, its first location, opened in 2016, and a Dallas, Texas, location followed in 2019. This year’s 2022 Bulldog 100 recognizes SculptHouse as one of the fastest-growing organizations owned or operated by UGA alumni. 

SculptHouse sells everything you can think of when it comes to activewear: crop topsleggingslounge sets and more. SculptHouse also partners with Esseutesse to sell fringed-out, fun sneakers that ensure you’re putting your best foot forward.  

SculptHouse partners with Esseutesse to sell fringed-out, fun sneakers that ensure you’re putting your best foot forward.

 Browse SculptHouse gifts through the online store, or purchase a boutique gift card if you just can’t decide what to give. 


The holidays have arrived! As you finish up your holiday shopping, we’re featuring UGA alumni-owned businesses that we can’t stop barking about. Give uniquely and support a Bulldog this holiday season with a Dawg-gone good gift.     

Want more Dawg-gone good gift ideas?

Dawg-gone good gifts: Baylee Bakes

For the people on your gift list who can’t get enough of the Great British Baking Show, fulfill their sweetest dreams with custom-decorated sugar cookies from Baylee Bakes. 

Baylee Bakes’ founder and operator Baylee Marsh (BA ’20) never planned to own a cookie business. While studying advertising at UGA, a casual Instagram account featuring her cookies and a series of accidental cookie orders led Marsh to the UGA Entrepreneurship Program’s 2019 Summer Launch Program, where she won $5,000 in funding. Marsh hasn’t stopped baking since.  

Baylee Bakes offers holiday-inspired boxes of various sizes ($10-20). For the Dawg who bleeds red and black, gift a UGA Football half dozen box ($20). For the person on your list who wants to earn their treat, purchase a Christmas Cookie Decorating Kit ($18) or a Custom Paint Your Own Cookie set ($5) 

Give the gift of red and black with UGA-themed cookies from Baylee Bakes.

Looking for a holiday party idea? Book a private class with Baylee Bakes.  

To order custom cookies from Baylee Bakes, explore the website and submit a customer order request form. Once your order and timeline are confirmed, you can work out cookies designs and pricing. Then, pick up or receive your delivery order so you can share holiday cheer in the sweetest way possible. 


The holidays have arrived! As you finish up your holiday shopping, we’re featuring UGA alumni-owned businesses that we can’t stop barking about. Give uniquely and support a Bulldog this holiday season with a Dawg-gone good gift. 

Want more Dawg-gone good gift ideas?

Dugan Bridges’ (ABJ ’06) “distillery” helps entrepreneurs find the spirit of their idea

Dugan Bridges’ walk to work has, over the years, put him on bustling New York City sidewalks and Hollywood studio lots. Those walks through the global financial capital and the center of the entertainment universe taught him a lot and helped him grow. But it’s his walk to work today—past the Chapel, by the Arch and under the oak trees of North Campus—that he calls “heaven on earth.”

The Oconee County native came to UGA in 2002 with a strong interest in media production, so he set his sights on an ABJ in Telecommunication Arts. In his first three years at UGA, he took on a fairly high-profile extracurricular activity: the position of UGA Mic Man.

The Mic Man is a student who works to fire up Bulldog fans at football games. If you’ve watched or attended a game in Sanford Stadium and seen someone cheering, dancing, and screaming in front of the student section next to Hairy Dawg, you were looking at the Mic Man.

“I was baptized into college football and became a huge Georgia fan because of that,” said Dugan. “I traveled to all the games with the cheerleading team and the mascot. I ate with the athletes, I worked out with the athletes. It was an amazing experience.”

Dugan served as the Mic Man for three years, after which he focused on his major coursework and new extracurricular pursuits.

“I built relationships with people who are some of my best friends now, and we were making films on the side with whatever cameras I could get a hold of through the journalism school,” said Dugan. “I loved it, and I fell in love with UGA.”

Dugan, as Mic Man, leads the student section in Calling The Dawgs.

After graduating in 2006, Dugan headed for New York, where he found a job with a large marketing firm producing corporate videos for brands like Ford, Gillette and American Airlines. The work—though different from what he’d done in college—provided experience and connections.

It was also during this time that he met Jennifer, a New York-born woman who shared a surprising connection with Dugan.

“She loved that I was from Athens,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it. I was like, ‘How do you know about Athens?’ And I found out she was a big music fan, particularly REM. She said, ‘I read a book about them and the town they’re from, and I’ve always wanted to go there.’”

The future Mrs. Dugan Bridges would eventually get her wish. But for now, they were just dating, while Dugan and the college friends who accompanied him to New York continued to produce short films that were getting accepted to more and more film festivals.

In 2012, Dugan began eyeing a move to California. The prospect of leaving his college friends spurred the group to act on an idea they’d been kicking around since their Athens days. Financing was the big question, until someone suggested what was then a relatively unknown avenue for funding: Kickstarter.

“Time was running out, and it was the only shot we had,” said Dugan. “We thought we knew enough people, but movies are expensive, so this was the kind of favor you can only ask for once. We hoped that our network would show up, and thankfully, they did.”

“The Little Tin Man” became one of the first feature films to be funded by Kickstarter. The film premiered in 2013, was accepted to numerous film festivals around the country and eventually garnered interest from Gravitas Ventures and Amazon, who became its distributors.

Dugan and friends at an event for “The Little Tin Man”

By this time, Dugan and Jennifer had moved to Los Angeles, where the film’s success opened doors for Dugan as he began to pivot his career.

“In New York, I was doing more producing, some writing,” said Dugan. “But in LA, I was much more focused on pursuing writing and directing. The success of the film helped me meet working Hollywood screenwriters and producers and have them treat with me respect and not as some outsider.”

Those opened doors turned into a variety of opportunities for Dugan: mentors gained through writers groups, the chance to direct a fully funded short film, a position working for Robert Zemeckis, the award-winning director of “Forrest Gump” and the “Back to the Future” trilogy.

In 2016, Dugan and Jennifer welcomed their first child, Ronen. Dugan’s career continued to develop as Ronen did, but when his son took his first steps, Dugan’s perspective began to shift.

“As soon as he was able to start walking around, it was like I started having visions,” said Dugan. “For the first time in my adult life, a yard with green grass, a house, all that stuff really started to appeal to me.”

As Dugan’s interest in keeping his family in a one-bedroom apartment waned, his interest in returning to Georgia grew. But because of his work, leaving LA was a big decision.

“Ultimately, I realized that Hollywood is not a place—it’s a direction that you’re going,” said Dugan. “I realized I could go to Georgia, create, stay in contact with my networks in Los Angeles and New York, and help the community that’s growing here and has a desire to make something permanent.”

The Bridges family moved to Athens in 2018. Over the next year, Jennifer got a job with St. Mary’s Health Care System, Dugan got the pieces in place for a business, and Ronen got a brother. When Clark was born, the demands of home began to compete with the demands of work, and the family took a leap: Dugan would launch his business, and Jennifer would stay home with the kids.

Dugan with Jennifer and Clark

Dugan created F7 Film Distillery, a company that helps organizations and individuals refine the stories they share to their audiences. Dugan started F7 in his home, but reached out to UGA early on.

“I wanted to be in a creative environment, and I couldn’t think of a better one than on campus at UGA,” he said. “So, I put out some feelers, and the message I got was ‘This is a great idea, and we have something in the works, so we’ll get back to you.'”

That something was the Delta Innovation Hub. Located on Spring Street near downtown Athens, the Delta Innovation Hub is part of UGA’s Innovation District and hosts startup venture efforts, helps faculty become entrepreneurs, provides students the chance to work alongside UGA corporate partners and serves as the university’s front door for industry engagement.

In late 2020, Dugan was offered a space in the Hub, which opened earlier this year. In September, F7 Film Distillery officially moved in.

Dugan on the set of “Rubber Room,” a TV pilot he directed and co-wrote

Now, alongside his F7 work, Dugan is working with UGA student interns, sharing ideas with other start-ups in the building and preparing to take part in pitch competitions to help aspiring entrepreneurs sharpen and curate their ideas. And when he leaves work, he’s able to walk back under those North Campus oaks, by the Arch and past the Chapel on his way home, to a family that’s grown by two—Micah, 2, and Scarlett, 6 months—since they moved to Athens.

“When I moved back into town from LA and New York, I asked myself, ‘If I’m going to plant here for the next decade, how do I want to live it?’ And all I could think was, ‘I’d love to be back on campus,'” Dugan said. “There’s just so much energy. Surrounding yourself with these aspirational people takes you back to an aspirational time in your own life.

“That’s the environment I wanted to be in, and I found it.”

Grady College of Journalism celebrates its 40 Under 40 honorees

Sarah Freeman and Dayne Young, along with other talented members of Grady’s team of writers, put these features together!

Seven Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication graduates are represented in this year’s 40 Under 40 class. This annual program celebrates young alumni leading the pack in their industries and communities, and Grady was proud to highlight each of them on their blog this summer/fall.

Angela Alfano

Angela Alfano

Angela Alfano (ABJ ’10, AB ’10) is the senior director of corporate communications for Major League Soccer. She used her public relations education and experience with UGA Athletics to embark on a trailblazing career in professional sports. Alfano also has worked in corporate communications for the National Football League, Washington Football Team and Tough Mudder. She regularly shares her time and expertise with UGA students. Alfano was recognized as a 2019 John E. Drewry Young Alumni Award winner.

Learn more about Angela.

Jennifer Bellamy

Jennifer Bellamy

Jennifer Bellamy (ABJ ’08) is an anchor and reporter for 11 Alive News in Atlanta. Bellamy has been a journalist for multiple television stations around the south. Bellamy’s fellow Grady grads, mentors and past professors supported her on her journey through broadcast news. She has earned various awards, including the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award in 2015 for Outstanding Local Television Investigative Reporting for report on “DSS: When the System Fails,” the Bronze Medallion from the Society of Professional Journalists and several Southeast Emmy awards.

Learn more about Jennifer.

Greg Bluestein

Greg Bluestein

Greg Bluestein (ABJ ’04, AB ’04) is a political reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and covers the governor’s office and state politics. He joined the newspaper in June 2012 after spending seven years with the Atlanta bureau of The Associated Press, where he covered a range of beats including politics and legal affairs. He contributes to the AJC’s Political Insider blog and is writing a book, “How the Peach State Turned Purple,” about the 2020 Georgia elections. He discussed the publication process and identifying local angles in national stories in this episode of Grady College’s The Lead podcast.

Learn more about Greg.

Marie Green Broder

Marie Greene Broder

Marie Greene Broder (ABJ ’06, AB ’06, JD ’10) is the first female district attorney for the Griffin Judicial Circuit, including Fayette, Pike, Spalding and Upson counties. Broder graduated from UGA as a dual public relations and speech communications major and continued with a law degree. She has developed a specialty in trying crimes against women and children, and is involved with Promise Place and the Southern Crescent Sexual Assault Child Advocacy Center.

Learn more about Marie.

Bowen Reichert Shoemaker

Bowen Reichert Shoemaker

Elizabeth “Bowen” Reichert Shoemaker (ABJ ’06) is an assistant United States attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, a position she has held since 2018. Previously, she was a senior associate at Alston & Bird, LLP and a law clerk to Judge Hugh Lawson. While at UGA, she majored in public relations and was in the Honors Program and Arch Society. Shoemaker earned her law degree from Mercer Law School where she served as editor-in-chief of the Law Review. In her hometown of Macon, Shoemaker serves on the executive board of the Macon Rotary Club, as an adjunct professor at Mercer Law School, and on the executive committee of the Macon Arts Alliance.

Learn more about Bowen.

Britanny Thoms

Brittany Thoms

Brittany Thoms (ABJ ’04) is the co-founder and president of See.Spark.Go, an Athens-based public relations agency. She and her husband, Andy Thoms (BSFCS ’02), founded See.Spark.Go in 2007 with the goal of telling the best stories in the world. They specialize in publicity, social media and digital marketing. Their team has worked with some of the nation’s largest brands on many successful campaigns and events.

Learn more about Brittany.

View the full list of honorees

Mistress of Cultural Affairs: Nawanna Miller’s legacy of diversity and inclusion at UGA

This was written by Charles McNair.

In fall 1970, Nawanna Lewis Miller (ABJ ’73) took on a daunting mission: showcasing the traditions of African American culture at UGA. The student body at that time was overwhelmingly white, and Miller remembers—painfully—how some classmates did not welcome Black faces.

Miller and her Black classmates resolved to stand up and stand out.

Bannered under the theme of Pamoja, the Swahili word for togetherness, Miller founded a pantheon of Black cultural organizations unlike anything seen before at UGA.

The Pamoja Dancers daringly expressed the Black experience through artistic motion. (Miller danced completely alone at first.) The Pamoja Singers gave beautiful a cappella concerts on the plaza outside Monument Hall. The Pamoja Drama and Arts troupe recounted Black life in stories. (Again, Miller performed solo shows at first.) Finding still more ways to share the importance of Black culture, Miller launched the landmark Journalism Association for Minorities (JAM), and that group produced Pamoja Newspaper.

The ripples of Miller’s work would spread through the next five decades into currently active UGA groups (The African American Choral Ensemble, the Black Theatrical Ensemble, etc.). Thousands of UGA students have taken part in these performing arts ensembles. A 50th Anniversary of Pamoja event in 2020 commemorated their contributions to UGA.

Miller’s leadership came with a unique title: Mistress of Cultural Affairs.

Nawanna Lewis Miller 1970

Nawanna Lewis Miller in the 1970 Pandora yearbook.

“I didn’t know what it meant. Nobody knew what it meant,” Miller laughs. “I went and typed out a job description and took it from there.”

The Pamoja movement excited Black students and left them optimistic … to a degree.

“We only had a minuscule number of Black students on campus,” Miller says, “but they made for a supportive audience.

“A few white students,” she smiles, “were curiously polite.”

New success against long odds

After earning a broadcast journalism degree in just three years–Miller took 20 hours each semester–Nawanna and husband George C. Miller (her sweetheart since junior high school), moved in 1977 to Washington, D.C. George took a high political post in the United States Department of the Treasury in President Jimmy Carter’s administration.

The Millers started a family, eventually to grow to six children and seven grandsons. Though the home front kept her busy, Miller now set her sights on another lifelong dream–the ministry.

“My first encounter with Jesus Christ came while I was still in a high chair,” she says. “Through my whole life, I have vigorously served in the church.”

It would turn out that becoming a female minister at a time when men dominated the clergy would take more determination than she ever imagined.

“I can say that the physical, mental, and emotional impact of attending UGA as a minority student in those early years of integration was very, very costly,” Miller says. “But I believe it was even harder to be accepted among Black people—men especially—as Black preacher.”

Miller approached her pastor at Metropolitan Baptist Church in Washington about her yearning. As a first step, she served as director of metropolitan youth ministries, offering spiritual guidance to children in 30 organizations. Then, in 1989, more than a decade after moving to D.C. and over the objections of other pastors, Miller was licensed to preach by Reverend Dr. H.B. Hicks, Jr.

Finally, in 1992, Miller was welcomed fully to the gospel ministry following a substantial public catechism by clergy who “courageously ordained her,” she says.

“The beautiful part is that this revolutionary moment happened in front of about 1,500 people. That was a powerful affirmation.”

She became one of the first female pastors in the Baptist church.

Miller went on to earn a master’s degree in divinity from Howard University. When the Millers returned to the Atlanta area, she founded the Messiah’s Temple Christian Ministries, serving as pastor there until 2016.

The Gospel of Great Health

After a stroke in 2015, Miller reduced her time in the pulpit. She now serves as a personal pastor to people “from all walks of life,” she says, sharing spiritual guidance through The Institute for Christian Fellowship, yet another organization she founded, this one in 1996.

She spends time writing books. She has five titles in all, with a new one, B.O.L.O. – Be On the Look-Out for Satan’s Top Ten Tricks, due in 2021.

Nawanna Miller 2021

Nawanna Miller in 2021.

Doctors gave Miller only a 15% chance of surviving her stroke. Yet, once again, her unbreakable spirit prevailed. Turning the setback into something positive, Miller designed The Gospel of Great Health program, teaching what she calls “supernatural energy techniques for healing and wholeness” to students and churches.

She’s seen many changes since her days at UGA, but Miller insists that one thing in her life has always stayed the same.

“Excellence was our brand for all of the Pamoja groups,” she says. “And I’m grateful to say that’s still the standard I’ve been blessed to attempt in everything I’ve done all these years.”

40 Under 40 Spotlight: Angela Alfano, champion of the sports industry

Angela Alfano (AB, ABJ ’10), senior director of corporate communications for Major League Soccer, is committed to empowering the next generation of sports executives.

For her personal, professional and philanthropic achievements, Angela ranked among UGA’s 40 Under 40 Class of 2021. The program celebrates young alumni leading the pack in their industries and communities.

Angela being interviewed

Angela being interviewed after the John E. Drewry Young Alumni Awards ceremony at UGA.

Who is Angela Alfano?

Angela graduated from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. with a master’s degree in Sports Industry Management and received undergraduate degrees in both public relations and political science from the University of Georgia. Angela started her sports communications career working as a student assistant in UGA’s Sports Information Department.

A strategic young executive, Angela has more than a decade of leadership and innovation in communications.

Since joining Major League Soccer in July of 2018, Angela has been instrumental in garnering positive publicity for the league outside the traditional scope of soccer. She showcases the business behind the brand, finding creative ways to highlight executives in the media and oversee strategies for the league.

UGA Sports Communications-Student Assistants Oct 2009

Angela Alfano (lower left) as a UGA sports communications student assistant in 2009.

What led Angela to Major League Soccer?

Prior to her work at Major League Soccer, Angela spent two years at Tough Mudder’s NYC headquarters in the communications department and six years working in public relations for professional football – both at the National Football League (NFL) headquarters and the Washington Football Team.

Angela oversaw corporate communications for the Washington Football Team where she promoted the team’s community relations and publicized player, coach and ownership initiatives off the field. She also oversaw media credentialing, press box staff supervision and event media coverage recaps for the team.

Angela then moved onto the NFL, where she elevated league initiatives, such as Breast Cancer Awareness, Salute to Service and PLAY 60. She led more than 20 press conferences annually at the Super Bowl and developed public relations campaigns for major league events, such as NFL Kickoff and Draft.

Angela at an MLS All Star Game

Angela working at an MLS All Star Game.

How have Angela’s efforts been recognized?

Angela was honored by PRSA Chicago with a Chicago Skyline Award for “Establishing a New Identity for the NFL Draft” and as one of PR News’ “Rising Stars 30 and Under.” In 2019, she received Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications John E. Drewry Young Alumni Award and currently serves on UGA’s AdPR Executive Advisory Council. Angela was also honored as one of Sigma Kappa’s National Headquarters 35 Under 35.

Watch Grady College salute Angela Alfano: 

Where is Angela now?

Angela currently resides in New York with her husband Michael and dog, Lohi.

Angela dedicates her free time to the next generation of young sports PR executives. She serves as a supportive and accessible mentor to women and men in sports businesses. Passionate about championing a new wave of leadership in the industry, Angela and her husband, Michael O’ Brien, created the “Alfano and O’Brien Sports Communication Award”— an endowment through the Grady School of Journalism and Mass Communications to help students pursuing a career in the sports industry.

Peter Dale cooks with the Young Alumni Council

Chef and restauranteur Peter Dale (ABJ ’99) led a virtual cooking class with the Young Alumni Council and it went deliciously. Peter is an award-winning chef and has flavored Athens’ dynamic food scene with restaurants like The National, Seabear Oyster Bar, Condor Chocolates and Maepole. Peter demonstrated three recipes over the course of the evening: a local greens with pears and asiago cheese salad, gambas al ajillo, and chocolate budino.

If you missed the event, don’t worry! The recording is just above the post title on this page, and here we have the recipes and ingredient lists straight from Peter.

By the end of the event, attendees donated an impressive $1,700 toward the purchase of a food truck for Campus Kitchen at UGA that will allowed them to expand their service. That total recently reached $2,500, triggering matched funds from the UGA Young Alumni Council (for a total of $5,000) and reaching the fundraising goal for the truck purchase. Thanks for getting that food truck rolling, Bulldog donors!

National Weatherperson’s Day: Q&A with Alex Wallace (ABJ ’04)

Alex Wallace (ABJ ’04) is an on-camera meteorologist with The Weather Channel. After earning a degree in broadcast news from the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, Alex earned a master’s degree in geosciences with an emphasis in broadcast meteorology from Mississippi State University. Since joining The Weather Channel on-camera in 2006, Alex has worked in both the studio and the field. He earned the 2012 John Drewry Award for Young Alumni Achievement from the Grady College.

In recognition of National Weatherperson’s Day (February 5), this weather-loving Bulldog shares what it’s like being an on-camera meteorologist and reflects on his time at the University of Georgia.

After studying broadcast news at UGA, what led you to pursue a career in meteorology?

I had a fascination with weather going back to when I was a little kid. Along with cartoons, I made sure to catch the local news and tune into the Weather Channel every day. So, I always knew I wanted to do something in broadcasting but wasn’t exactly sure what. Would it be behind the scenes or in front of the camera? At UGA, I combined my interest in broadcasting and weather to pursue a career in meteorology.

What lessons did the Grady College teach you that you still use today?

At Grady, I learned the different parts that come together to make a news broadcast. Before I did anything in front of the camera, I gained experience with everything from operating a teleprompter to directing. This was a great help for when I finally stepped in front of the camera. It allowed me to understand each person’s contribution to the show and how important they were. That understanding continues to this day. I appreciate all the people that come together to produce TV.

 

headshot of Alex

What is the most interesting weather event you have reported on?

Hurricane Florence in 2018. I was positioned in Fayetteville, North Carolina. It came in and decided it didn’t want to leave. It dumped a ton of rain on the region. I was out covering the storm for more than a week. It ended up knocking out power for several days so it was “fun” being in the dark and taking cold showers for a few days. The moment power came back was one of the greatest moments of my life. It was fascinating to see one of the rivers that flows through the city slowly rise while we were there. I’m talking about a 40-foot rise in a few days. Of course, that led to flooding, which made getting around impossible because so many roads were closed. More importantly, people’s homes were inundated and this was the sad part about the whole experience: knowing we are at the mercy of Mother Nature.

What is a part of your job that many people may not know about?

I think people might be surprised to know that 90% of everything I say on-air is ad-libbed. Sure, there are a few things that are scripted like introducing an interview or weather story, but otherwise it is mostly ad-libbed.

 

Alex Wallace and friend pose with Harry Dawg on a game day

Alex Wallace (ABJ ’04) and Thomas Goodhew (ABJ ’05) pose with Harry Dawg on a Saturday game day in Athens.

What is your favorite UGA tradition and why?

G-Day! Being out of school, Georgia football is a great excuse to get back to Athens and enjoy some time in the Classic City. I’m looking forward to when I can bring my son out to enjoy some time in Sanford Stadium.

Do you have any advice for students seeking a career in meteorology?

The best advice I have is to make sure you truly love it. That advice can be applied to any career choice. The No. 1 reason you should choose your career is because you have a passion for it. It’ll make going to work so much more enjoyable and engaging. This is especially true when it comes to being an on-camera meteorologist. You can’t fake it. People watching can tell if your heart is in it. When they see that it is, they feel they can trust you. Trust is super important when it comes to weather forecasting.

Your support today will help prepare tomorrow’s trustworthy news broadcasters and meteorologists.

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