By: Aya Maruyama

To kick off our first meeting of the new year with the Coca-Cola Company, we welcomed three speakers very near and dear to our PRSSA and Grady hearts: Abby Todd, Senior Manager of Brand and Business Communications at Coca-Cola, along with Riley Muse, UGA PRSSA’s president and Samuel Peraza, recent Grady graduate, both of whom interned with Coca-Cola’s North American Public Affairs Communications department this past summer.


Todd began the meeting by walking us through her journey, explaining how she landed an internship- and later a full-time job- with the company and dropping tidbits of advice along the way.


She graduated from Grady in 2008 with a major in Public Relations and her main focus during her undergrad was gaining experience. “Paid, unpaid, glamorous, non-glamorous, I knew I had to and wanted to get my hands dirty,” said Todd.


As a result of her motivated, go-getter mentality, Todd built up her resume with positions like president and committee lead of PRSSA. She was also an intern and a PR specialist at Jackson Spalding. “Agency experience helped mold my PR experience right out of the gate,” said Todd. At Coca-Cola, she worked with issues management concerning sustainability, health & wellness, and positive publicity.


At this point, Todd turned our attention over to Muse and Peraza so they could share their internship experience with Coca-Cola over the summer. Their primary responsibility was “to assist the external communications team to protect and enhance the reputation and image of Coca-Cola, its brand and community, through creative storytelling, relationships, and communication with key audiences.”


Muse and Peraza were published both individually and collaboratively on Coca-Cola Journey. They also worked with a handful of Coca-Cola’s 800+ brands—Peraza with the NYC Times Square Coca-Cola sign, Sprite and Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, and Riley with Fanta’s “Be More Than One Flavor” campaign and Diet Coke’s full brand restage.


Within each project, they created PR plans, risk assessments, news releases, ideations, and so much more. “Coca-Cola has been something I have always been passionate about, and you have to have passion for the brand… working for Coca-Cola was a dream come true,” said Peraza.


If Todd, Muse and Peraza’s experience with Coca-Cola has inspired or interested you in any way, you’re in luck! Applications for summer 2018 internships are now open! Make sure to attach two copies of your resume, cover letter, a writing sample and submit the application by noon on Friday February 2, 2018.


“Passion is the first. Writing is the second. If you have strong writing skills, it will take you far, because writing is the foundation of everything we do…The goal is to get the cans in the hands,” said Muse.


Thanks to everyone who came out to our first meeting of the semester, and we can’t wait to see you for our Internship Panel on February 13!