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06.27.2014

Spotlight on Young Alumni: Angelique Jackson (ABJ '12)

Weeks after graduating in May 2012, I packed up and drove 2,460 miles across the country to chase my dreams of working in entertainment news. Fortunately, I had some support in making this big transition. I was part of the inaugural class of students to participate in Grady L.A. – an eight week program led by Dr. Jennifer Smith, where students work as interns and take classes in Los Angeles. I had two internships lined up with Entertainment Tonight and The Insider and Hollywire.com, so I knew it was going to be a busy summer!

Once the eight weeks were over, though, my safety net was gone and I was on my own. I spent a month continuing to work as a contributor to Hollywire and living on the couch of a few fellow Bulldogs that had made the trek to L.A. The rest of my free time was spent looking for a full-time position and a permanent place to live. There were many moments where I wondered if I had taken too big of a risk and I needed to head back home. I will never forget the phone call offering me a production assistant position at Entertainment Tonight and The Insider and I knew everything was going to be okay. 

Okay turned out to be quite the understatement!

I started my job as a production assistant on Emmy Sunday 2012, logging incoming footage from the field; it was an overnight shift – from 7:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. Four months later, I became an assistant photo editor. My daily responsibilities include providing still photographs for the show from our subscription services and press sites, as well as working with paparazzi agencies. I also work for both shows as a field producer. Under that title, I’ve had the opportunity to interview celebrities ranging from Sandra Bullock, Kevin Hart, Hugh Jackman and Lupita Nyong’o to icons like Harrison Ford, Tom Hanks, Morgan Freeman and Betty White. In little more than a year, I’ve worked at 100 red carpets, after-parties, backstage tours and press junkets.

One of the highlights of my first summer in L.A. was venturing off on my own to the premiere of Savages at the Regency Village Theatre in Westwood, hoping to see some of the action. From the patio of the Starbucks across from the theatre, I watched Blake Lively, Penelope Cruz and the rest of the cast walk the red carpet and sign autographs for screaming fans. One year later, I was back at the same theater in Westwood. But this time I was holding the microphone and interviewing Vin Diesel for his new movie Riddick. It’s nice when everything comes full-circle.

Moving to a new city is hard. Moving to a new city without a job or a place to live is even more difficult. Some might call it crazy, but crazy worked for me. On June 6, I celebrated the two-year anniversary of my move to Los Angeles. My life has changed in ways I dreamt about, but couldn’t possibly imagine, all because of the University of Georgia! 

Angelique Jackson (ABJ '12)
Assistant Photo Editor
Entertainment Tonight/The Insider

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09.22.2014

Former Bulldog’s Studio Shines in Storytelling

Harold Hayes Jr. (ABJ ’01) specializes in a number of different fields, from editing, producing and directing to writing, graphic design and marketing. Each of these skills are used together for one true purpose: storytelling. Sunnyboy Entertainment, Hayes’ company, is a creative studio based in Pasadena, California. The studio uses its unique approach to production to capture some incredible moments and stories in the world of music, film and television.

Hayes has worked with movie studios on countless occasions to provide an interesting look into the production stages of incredibly popular films, including The Blind Side, P.S. I Love You, Book of Eli and countless others. This is nothing new for the studio, which has a history of making bonus feature pieces for DVD and Blu-Ray releases of motion pictures. 

Additionally, Hayes’ studio has worked with films like Pirates of the Caribbean to create interactive games featuring the movie's characters. These original projects add to the experience in a way that movies cannot achieve on their own.

The journey for Hayes and Sunnyboy continues through projects with musicians like Glitch Mob and Deadmau5 to create visuals for their tours, movie studios to make more video games and featurettes and with corporations, such as Microsoft, to make advertisements that speak to the storyteller in all of us. 

Check out Sunnyboy Entertainment's website for examples of Hayes' impressive work. 

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09.17.2014

Class of 2014 40 Under 40 Honorees from the School of Law and Grady

Tomorrow is the big day, the 2014 40 Under 40 Awards Luncheon! The UGA Alumni Association team spend the week highlighting 30 of this year's honorees - and today, the final 10 are featured. These individuals all hail from the School of Law or the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. Read on to learn more about these inspiring young graduates.

While at UGA, David Adams (JD ’02) was a Moot Court board member, a member of Honor Court and a member of the Business Law Association. Today, David is a partner at Stites & Harbison, PLLC, in Atlanta where he led the Georgia Financial institution practice for the firm and founded its Georgia State Public Policy practice. He also provides pro bono representation to terminally ill patients who need assistance with end-of-life planning.

With a focus on educational and disability law, Lisa Taylor (JD ’01) works in Washington, D.C. as a prominent civil rights attorney for the Department of Justice. In this role, she works throughout the country to enforce the Americans with Disabilities Act. Recently, she also helped launch a diversity and inclusion office in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

After enjoying classes about Georgia law, the legislative process of the Georgia General Assembly and the Executive Branch, Ryan Teague (JD ’03) decided to enter Georgia politics. He currently serves as executive counsel for Governor Nathan Deal. In this role, he has led key criminal justice reform, saving the state millions and allowing for extended rehabilitation opportunities for non-violent offenders.

Double Dawg Shannon Wallace (JD ’12) was the first female elected District Attorney of the Blue Ridge Judicial District in Georgia. She is also one of the youngest of the state’s 49 district attorneys, and recently led the formation of Cherokee County’s first felony drug accountability court. Outside the office, Shannon is involved with the Junior Service League of Woodstock, and travels around her county as a motivational speaker.

As the director of communications for Disney Channel Worldwide, Rachel Harper Fox (ABJ ’06) oversees all communication and media relations for the Disney Channel and Radio Disney. She also is in charge of Disney Channel’s internal corporate communications and national press outreach. Recently, Rachel served as a board member of the South Pasadena Educational Foundation, an organization that supports educational excellence in South Pasadena’s public schools.

A former Bulldog 100 honoree, Christy Hulsey (ABJ ’97) is the owner and creative director of the Colonial House of Flowers in Statesboro, Ga. Christy rebuilt and rebranded the 50-year-old shop, earning her the Chapel House Designer Designation. She was asked to decorate the White House for this past Fourth of July, and Pottery Barn has chosen the shop to help launch its summer brand. Outside her business, Christy is a member of the faculty at Ogeechee Technical Institute and the Distance Education Consortium.

A leader in his field, David Mowery (ABJ ’99) owns and operates his own lobbying and public relations firm, one of only two firms in the country that works with both Democrats and Republicans. David’s firm has helped to run successful congressional, senatorial and mayoral campaigns, including the first-ever election of an Independent to the Alabama Senate. Outside of the office, David serves as the president of the newly-formed Montgomery Chapter of the UGA Alumni Association.

Eric NeSmith (ABJ ’02) is the youngest publisher in the history of Community Newspapers, Inc. Currently, the alumnus is its vice president of business development and sits on the board of directors for the company. Most recently, Eric received the National Newspaper Association’s Daniel M. Phillips Award for outstanding leadership as a young professional in the journalism field. To give back to his alma mater, Eric serves as the chair of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication Alumni Board.

Elaine Reyes (ABJ ’97) works as an international news anchor for CCTV America, interviewing the likes of former presidents Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush. She also serves as the host for CCTV America’s flagship magazine program. Outside the office, Reyes is an active supporter of the March of Dimes, a passion that began when she was a member of Gamma Sigma Sigma at UGA, and continued when her daughter Mercer was born premature three years ago.

Emmy-winner Tracy Thomson (ABJ ’00) is the co-head writer of CBS’s The Young and the Restless, America’s top-rated daytime soap opera. In this role, she has been nominated for four Writers Guild Awards and six Daytime Emmy Awards. Tracy’s brother, Robert Thomson (BA ’02), is also a 40 Under 40 honoree this year, making them the award’s first sibling honorees.

Click here to see the rest of the 40 Under 40 Class of 2014. Information about others in this year's class will be posted to the UGA Alumni Association's blog between 9/12/14 and 9/18/14.

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09.16.2014

40 Under 40 Class of 2014: Advice to Students

Each 40 Under 40 honoree has an amazing success story that starts with their time at UGA. 

With this year's 40 Under 40 Awards Luncheon right around the corner, the UGA Alumni Association cannot think of a better group to give advice to current UGA students

Silvije (Sly) Barisic (MBA ’04), Founder & CEO, FotoIN Mobile Corporation

“Believe, for you and for those around you. Act on what you know and believe, for you and for those around you. Selflessly acting for others leases to the greatest personal gains. Faith, family, team – all successful when based on selfless action.”

Mark Butler (BBA ’02), Founder and President, CXO Staffing, Inc. and Pay It Forward Atlanta

“The world measures success often in numbers, whether it is people or dollars. Work hard with passion, drive and superior ethics for yourself, not others, because you are made of greatness. More importantly, try to be sensitive to, and available to meet the needs of, those around you.”

Toby Carr (BBA ’01), Director of Planning, Georgia Department of Transportation

“Be trustworthy. Live your passion. Seek mentors for guidance, and mentor those who need it. Do not be too proud to ask for help. Be curious, reading everything you can. Question every assumption. Balance life by keeping work in its place. Rest on Sundays, and practice humility.”

Ashley Diamond (BBA ’06), Global E-Commerce Leader, Procter & Gamble

“Take the opportunity to study abroad at least once during college. Immersing yourself in another culture and a foreign situation will challenge you from an emotional, mental and physical perspective, allowing you to grow and evolve in ways not possible in Athens, Georgia.”

Bynikini Frazier (BSED ’08), First Grade Teacher, Hodge Elementary School

“Always believe in your dreams and never give up on them. Develop a plan that aligns with your focal point and that allows you to discover your resources, make connections and get involved. Your actions determine your success and your experiences at UGA will guide you into your forever.”

Matthew Sawhill (BBA ‘01), Managing Director of External Affairs, AGL Resources

“Get out of your comfort zone and be involved with other students and organizations. The effort put into building relationships and understanding differing opinions will have an exponential return on your investment.”

Lindsey Harper (BSFCS ’99), Owner, Lindsey Coral Harper Interior Design

“Take advantage of all the opportunities around you. If you are able, study abroad. I participated in a work/study program in London. It definitely was a stepping stone in my career, and it gave me the confidence to move to New York City, the epicenter for interior design.”

Danielle Hosker (BS ’01), Founder and CEO, Dancefx, Inc., Antage Bleu and Baby Bleu

“College is about discovering your passions. Expose yourself, find out what you don’t like and uncover what you love. Read the UGA Bulletin and discover majors and minors you never knew existed. Get involved and pursue every interest: intern, volunteer, shadow, audit a class, join professional clubs, study abroad and have fun!”

Laura Jalbert (BSW ’99, MSW ’00), Owner & Clinical Director, Mindful Transitions, LLC

“Be mindful of the full experience of each moment you encounter. Experience every moment, now and forever, pleasant or unpleasant, with the curiosity and inquisitiveness of a child, but utilize the wisdom you are acquiring as an adult.”

Burt Jones (AB ’04), President, JP Capital & Insurance

“A lot of us have preconceived notions about whom and what we want to be. Knowledge is power! The more education and life experiences you have will create a better you. Make your own decisions, think for yourself and find your place in this world.”

Jody Young (AB ’99), Founding Principal Partner, Atlanta Capital Group

“Take risks, but don’t be a fool. Do your homework, learn as much as you can, so when you make that leap you have some idea of where you are going to land.”

Congratulations to all our 40 Under 40 honorees! The UGA Alumni Association supports you in all your current and future endeavors and can't wait to see you on Thursday, September 18, at the Georgia Aquarium! 

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