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08.22.2013

40 Under 40 Spotlight: Ashley Jones (BS ’02)

According to UGA Director of Federal Relations Andrew Dill (BBA ’06, AB ’07), 40 Under 40 Class of 2013 honoree Ashley Jones (AB ’02) “defines leadership.” He adds that she “is a public servant who has passed on more lucrative opportunities to stay in a position to serve her state, country and university.”

Jones is currently Congressman John Barrow’s chief of staff, a position she has held since 2007. At the age of 27, she became the youngest female to obtain this position on Capitol Hill. As chief of staff, Jones oversees Barrow’s Washington, D.C., office and four district offices, manages a staff of more than 20, and serves as Barrow’s senior political advisor.

“The average age of a chief of staff is 42. The fact that I was put in charge of the Congressman’s operation at the age of 27, and the fact that I am the only female chief of staff in the Georgia Delegation, is a source of pride for me,” said Jones.

Jones began her career with Barrow as an intern, but quickly moved into a fundraising role with the Congressman’s first campaign in 2003. That year, Barrow’s team raised more money than any other challenger in the country. The alumna later managed Barrow’s 2012 re-election campaign, which was seen as a no-win contest. Through Jones’s leadership, though, the congressman won re-election by eight percentage points – a victory recognized nationally as one of the greatest upsets in that election cycle.

When asked about her favorite UGA memory, Jones acknowledged the challenge of selecting just one. She added, “I hope I’m not done creating memories at UGA, which is why I continue to stay involved. I can hopefully help others leave UGA with the same impossible task of picking just one favorite memory.”

Jones gives back to her alma mater on a regular basis. She has hired more than 25 UGA graduates since she became chief of staff, and always welcomes several UGA interns each semester. She speaks to UGA Washington Semester students and visits campus to share her experiences with SPIA students.

Thank you for representing your alma mater in D.C., Ashley. Your university is proud of your success and looks forward to what else your career will hold. Congratulations on being named to the 40 Under 40 Class of 2013!

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10.15.2014

Pulaski County students experienced life at UGA

Guest Blogger: Michelle Wilder Rivers (MA '10)
Program Coordinator
Archway Partnership

To demonstrate the possibilities available through higher education, the Hawkinsville LIFE League worked with the UGA Archway Partnership and the Office of Institutional Diversity to bring students to campus in July. The goal of the trip was to increase the awareness of postsecondary education opportunities, and to provide direct access to college admissions information. 

LIFE League teaches life skills and encourages excellence through basketball and other programs for at-risk youth in Pulaski County.

The day started with a UGA police escort for the students similar to that given to the football team on game day. Basketball games at the Ramsey Student Center were preceded by a reception during which numerous UGA administrators welcomed students.

Throughout the day, students participated in events including tours of the Ramsey Student Center and Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall (where they met student-athletes Nasheema Oliver, Kenny Gaines, Marcus Thornton and Chris Conley). Students had lunch at the Village Commons dining hall and emjoyed an interactive session with the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. LIFE Leaguers ended their day with pictures in front of Sanford Stadium before heading home.

Units across campus made the day possible including: Office of the President, Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach, Terry College of Business, Mary Frances Early, UGA Athletic Association, Recreational Sports, Parking Services, Food Services, UGA Police Department and Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

  

Those involved hope that providing these students with a day on the UGA campus illustrated the possibilities that exist through post-secondary education. It was a great day for the Bulldog Nation and I felt lucky to be part of such a life-changing event for so many young people.

Click here to view more photos from the students' visit to UGA. 

More information about the Archway Partnership, a unit of Public Service and Outreach at UGA, can be found at www.archwaypartnership.uga.edu.

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10.10.2014

Alumnus Sets Sights on Vonage

Former Google executive Alan Masarek (BBA ’82) is making big moves.

Later this year, Masarek will be joining Internet phone service provider Vonage as the chief executive officer. He will also serve on the company’s board of directors. Vonage, which is based in New Jersey, is an international company that reported $829 million in revenue last year. The company also has ties back to Georgia, with its business services division moving to Cobb County in the near future.

Over the years, Masarek has served as president of a healthcare IT company and co-founded AdOutlet, an online media buying platform, and Quickoffice, an app provider that was acquired by Google in 2012. Most recently, he was the director of Chrome and apps at Google.

Congratulations on your continued success, Alan! The UGA Alumni Association wishes you the best of luck in your new role.

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10.06.2014

UGA Alumni See Success in Startup Companies

Several alumni are enjoying success in Atlanta's competitive startup environment. Technology startups seem to be popping up all over Metro Atlanta and three UGA alumni are leading the charge with their innovative businesses.

The brainchild of Adam Wexler (BBA ’07) and Devon Wijesinghe, Insightpool uses social media to help its clients, including Intercontinental Hotels, Chobani Inc. and A&E Networks, market more effectively to their target audiences. Last week, Insightpool announced it had raised $4 million in funding and plans to expand its Altanta headquarters later this year. The company's staff roster will also expand by approximately 75 individuals. This growth will help Insightpool as it helps businesses mine social networks for top influencers, prospects and potential customers. 

Adam Wexler (BBA '07) on right

Insightpool isn’t the only startup taking Atlanta by storm. Michael Tavani (ABJ ’02), co-founder of ScoutMob, is launching SwitchYards, a startup focused on business to consumer (B2C) relationships. Located in the heart of downtown Atlanta, SwitchYards hopes to bring consumer- and design-focused startups together to build new and innovative brands.

Tavani plans to launch two to three B2C startups per year, including mobile applications and e-commerce. Those that break even within 15 months, will continue to receive funding.

  

Michael Tavani (ABJ '02)

Everett Steele (AB ’06) launched Kanga, a mobile application that crowdsources shipping, moving and delivering, in Atlanta earlier this year. The application, which will be expanding to Athens later this month, connects individuals needing something moved or delivered with people who are looking to make some extra money.

    

Everett Steele (AB '06) 

As Atlanta continues to grow as a major technology hub, the UGA Alumni Association looks forward to hearing about the continued success of these three alumni and their businesses.

Do you know of other UGA alumni running successful startups across the country? We'd love to hear about them! Please email Jamie Lewis (AB '12, AB '12) at jelewis@uga.edu. 

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