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07.09.2014

We are our Sisters’ Keepers

In 2011, while studying fashion merchandising and marketing, UGA alumna Michelle Blue (BBA '13) studied abroad in Ghana. While visiting textile workers and taking in the incredible, vibrant clothing, she was inspired.

Upon returning, Blue contacted her now partner, Sasha Matthews, and together they founded Bené, a company with much more to offer than amazing style.

Bené is an online store that allows users to create their own customized scarves from a number of styles, patterns and features. The scarves are gorgeous and versatile additions to any wardrobe. The real story, however, is behind the scenes.

The scarves themselves are created by the women of the Refugee Sewing Society in Atlanta from unique patterns and textiles that Blue discovered on her trip abroad. The Refugee Sewing Society is a non-profit organization that supports women who have fled their home countries for many reasons including ethnic cleansing and war. The organization teaches women to sew and provides an outlet to help sell their items. The money raised goes directly to provide for their families.

In addition to visiting textile workers while in Ghana, Blue was introduced to many local organizations that work to provide young girls with a secondary education and skills to engage in the world of entrepreneurship.

A portion of all Bené sales goes to the Stay-In-School Tuition Assistance (SISTA) Program and specifically to the SISTA Scholarship program. Built on the goal of increasing female education and business knowledge, SISTA Scholarship funds the secondary education of young Ghanian women. Through each educated girl, the cycle of poverty grows weaker and empowerment spreads throughout the community.

Blue and her partner have made it very clear that at the heart of Bené is giving. They believe that, "as global citizens we are responsible for each other, connected by the similarities and differences that tie us together. We must not simply placate the situation, but empower women by making investments into their lives, natural abilities and gifts to enable them to be self-sufficient."

Click here to learn more about the Bené mission!

Photo credit to www.benebyyou.com.

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Recent Entries


10.20.2014

Alumna Spotlight: Christy Hulsey (ABJ '98)

Bulldog 100 and 40 Under 40 honoree Christy Hulsey (ABJ ’98) lves a busy and fulfilling life as owner and creative director of Colonial House of Flowers in Statesboro, Georgia. 

Hulsey’s work, inspired by her grandmother, is self-described as “timeless elegance that is ethereal and moody.” The majority of her designs feature unusual materials, such as pinecones and berries - something that caught the attention of both Pottery Barn and President Obama. Hulsey’s shop was selected to launch the design giant’s 2014 summer brand, and her floral designs were displayed at the White House last year.

A regular on Pottery Barn’s Have and Hold wedding blog, Hulsey informs brides-to-be on the art of creating garden fresh flower girl halos, cake stand centerpieces and seashore-inspired tablescapes.

Hulsey loves when opportunitues to work with fellow UGA alumni come along in her life. Hulsey began her relationship with Pottery Barn after the floral arrangements she designed for friend and fellow Grady grad Linsay Cheney Rudd’s (ABJ ’08) wedding were noticed by the blog. Hulsey also uses her friends in various photo shoots for Pottery Barn, including one for a driftwood lantern centerpiece tutorial that features Lea Lanier (BSED ’99).

  

Congratulations on all your success, Christy! The UGA Alumni Association looks forward to many more years of your beautiful designs.

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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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