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08.19.2013

40 Under 40 Spotlight: Tosha Hays (BSFCS ’07)

Tosha Hays (BSFCS ’07) is enjoying an enviable career in the fashion industry. It could be said that her success began during her study abroad experience at UGA.

In 1996, Hays traveled abroad, for the first time, with the UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences. While she was there, she was selected to intern with designer Bella Freud, great-granddaughter of Sigmund Freud. The internship was such a success, says Hays’s former teacher, Patricia Hunt-Hurst, that she was invited to work London Fashion Week.

After leaving Athens, Hays moved to New York City, where she took a job as a merchandising assistant with Tommy Hilfiger, Inc. In 1997, her husband’s job took the couple to Seattle, where Hays became a sales coordinator for Unionbay Sportswear and Supplies Menswear.

After relocating to Charlotte, N.C., Hays decided took the plunge and started her own fashion line, Tosha Hays, Inc. The line saw tremendous success and led to business investors and buyers, including Saks Fifth Avenue. At just 24, Hays was awarded the Women’s Wear Daily Fresh Face Award for the clothing line.

In 2007, Hays joined SPANX, Inc., as a product designer and developer. Just two years later, she was named senior director of design. In this role, the alumna manages and directs the brand’s designers in addition to creating new business category designs for launch seasons including SPANX Active, ASSETS Swim, and Men’s.

This past February, Hays was invited to attend the Chanel Haute Couture Spring 2013 Fashion Show in Paris by Chanel and SPANX CEO, Laurie Ann Goldman. To those outside the fashion world, this may seem like a trivial accomplishment, but the invitation is highly coveted among the fashion elite and allowed Hays to mix and mingle with top fashion leaders, and participate in a private event with Chanel designer, Karl Lagerfeld, and Vogue Fashion Editor Anna Wintour.

Hays hasn’t forgotten about her alma mater, though. According to Hunt-Hurst, Hays has returned to campus numerous times to guest lecture and offer learning opportunities to current students. In her free time, the mother of three is a board member for Fernbank Museum’s Artemis Foundation.

I’m so impressed by Tosha Hays’s success in such a highly competitive industry and congratulate her on being named to UGA’s 40 Under 40 Class of 2013!

To view the full list of the 40 Under 40 Class of 2013, please click here.

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12.11.2014

UGA’s Thank-a-Teacher Program

Did a teacher at UGA enrich your life or create a spark that inspired you to pursue your dreams? Was there a professor or teaching assistant that pushed you to do your best and helped you discover your passion for a certain subject? 

Now is the time to let that teacher - and the university community - know how grateful you are for their effect on your life. UGA's Center for Teaching and Learning invites current UGA students and alumni to particpate in the Thank-a-Teacher program.

What is Thank-a-Teacher? It is a program that allows students and alumni to express gratitude for teachers who have impacted their lives in a profound and meaningful way. If a teacher (professor, instructor, teaching assistant) made a positive contribution to your experience at UGA, please consider sending them a brief note. You may choose to remain anonymous or have your name attached to the note. 

You will be asked to fill out a simple form and acknowledge your appreciation for your teacher's work, dedication and extra effort. Share a simple thank you or an anecdote to let that teacher know what you enjoyed about their class and why it was important to you. 

Click here to complete the Thank-a-Teacher form

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12.10.2014

Former UGA football player gives back to the community

In recent years, the Lumpkin Street School in Hawkinsville, Georgia, one of 500 Georgia equalization schools built for African-American students during segregation, has fallen into disrepair. The town’s Deacons and Stewards Association wants to turn the space into a community center and museum, and a former Georgia football player is helping to make that happen.

Charles Johnson (M ’08), through the Charles Johnson Foundation (CJF), has issued a $25,000 challenge grant to renovate the school. The challenge, which states that CFJ will donate $25,000 to match the $25,000 that the Deacons and Stewards Association raises, has been instrumental in gaining donations for the project from other organizations.

Charles Johnson teaches a basketball clinic in his hometown of Hawkinsville, Georgia, during the Charles Johnson Foundation’s annual Community Weekend.

This isn’t the first time Charles Johnson has helped out his hometown. The captain for the Carolina Panthers has donated funds to support Parent Cafes for single mothers, sponsored women to attend the Pulaski Tomorrow program, donated to other middle Georgia foundations, and has provided scholarships to Pulaski County students during his organization’s annual Community Weekend in Hawkinsville.

For more information about the Lumpkin Street School project and how you can help, please email Greg Brown

Thank you for helping preserve the history of Georgia, Charles! The UGA Alumni Association is proud of your accomplishments on and off the field.

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12.08.2014

Spotlight on a Bulldog Business: FotoIN

Class of 2014 40 Under 40 honoree Sly Barisic (MBA ’04) and his brother, James Gates (AB ’01, MPA ’04), founded FotoIN in 2012, an automated mobile and management solution for capturing, documenting and filing site photos to a customer's storage repositories. 

The startup is located in Atlanta and Zagreb, Croatia, Sly’s native country. It serves an array of industries, including construction, real estate and property management.

James Gates

Sly Barisic

The company has seen growth in the construction industry,  managing projects for Brasfield and Gorrie, the lead company in the development of the new Atlanta Braves baseball stadium. Barisic was also invited to speak at tech conferences in Washington, D.C., and San Francisco last year.

The UGA Alumni Association is proud to showcase the success of hardworking alumni! For more information about startups founded by UGA alumni, click here. If you have an alumni-owned or -operated startup that you would like featured on this blog, please email Assistant Director of Communications Jamie Lewis (AB '12, AB '12) at jelewis@uga.edu.

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