Recent Grady Grads Daley McCallum, Patrick Femia and Ashley Hoffman Share Their Early Career Experiences and Advice for Grady Students
By Sara Lawrence
This week, PRSSA had the pleasure of talking to three Recent Grady Grads: Daley McCallum, Patrick Femia and Ashley Hoffman. These alumni gave insight into their day-to-day lives and their experiences both in and out of the classroom that led them to where they are now.
Meet Our Speakers:
Daley McCallum graduated in May 2021 with a degree in public relations and currently works as a Convergent Sales Planner for Warner Bros Discovery in New York City.
Patrick Femia also graduated in May 2021 with degrees in public relations and political science, in addition to completing the public affairs communications certificate, and works as an Analyst for Deloitte in Washington D.C.
Ashley Hoffman graduated in May 2020 with a degree in public relations and works as a Corporate Communications Specialist for FLEETCOR.
Daley is responsible for pitching FoodNetwork shows to various brands to encourage them to advertise their products on the shows. She performs analytic work to ensure that the brands are reaching their respective audiences and garnering sales through their advertisements on air.
Patrick’s daily work is focused on brand guidance, creating PowerPoints to explain complex strategies to his clients in a creative format, writing efficient emails and performing other communications tasks. Many people think of consulting as a strictly-business field, but communications is an essential function in this realm of work.
At FLEETCOR, Ashley creates deliverables and plans communications strategies that accommodate employees at all different levels in order to connect and resonate with them. She explained that her work is very similar to the project-based work that she did in Grady, and that some of the deliverables she created in Tom Cullen’s Public Relations Communications class are still present in her portfolio.
Relevant Grady and Extracurricular Experience:
Daley noted how her Campaigns coursework applies to her job, with both focusing on teamwork, delegating assignments evenly and prioritizing peer leadership and mentorship. She also highly recommended Dean Davis’ Career Explorations class as a great way to hear about different career paths in Grady.
Patrick’s involvement and coursework taught him valuable soft skills, such as writing emails and talking to clients, that are imperative in his role. His time as an Account Executive for Talking Dawg allowed him to learn the basics of client relationship management, and serving as the Executive Director of UGA Heroes and the Grady Senator for the Student Government Association also taught him how to facilitate influence as a junior executive.
Ashley was involved in PRSSA and ADPR Connection, which allowed her to form connections and gain post-grad opportunities. Throughout her time at Grady, she learned that the hard skills and the soft skills are equally important, stating that students should have both people skills and leadership skills going into the workforce.
Internship Experience and Advice:
Daley advised students to learn as much as they can in any internship they have, even if it is not their first choice. She shared that a lot of employers want to see that you are putting yourself out there and gaining skills to use in your future work.
Patrick shared his own experience of his unconventional internship search. He applied to intern on Capitol Hill with Grady but did not make the cut. Rather than giving up, he went door-to-door with his resume, pitching himself to different employers and eventually landed the best internship he had. This is an important lesson for students to learn to not be discouraged by minor setbacks and to continuously advocate for themselves in the internship process.
Ashley talked about having to switch her mindset to accept what she did not consider to be typical communications internships, becoming a marketing assistant at UGA Athletics and interning for UGA Discover Abroad. These experiences taught her how to target different audiences, which is crucial in the world of PR. She advised students to determine which internships were the right fit for them, just like how the companies determine the best candidates for the job on the other side of the hiring process.
Handling Career Shifts:
Daley works in advertising sales, which she did not expect as a creative public relations student in college. However, she took what she learned as a PR major and geared it towards the advertising space.
Similarly, Patrick was set on working in political communications, but his final internship with Deloitte made him fall in love with consulting. Even though political communications and PR might seem a far-fetch away from an analyst role, Patrick noted that there is a PR influence in something he does every single day.
Ashley originally wanted to work in sports PR, but took a marketing opportunity to land her first job. This was her first exposure in pivoting her career plans, and allowed her to use transferable skills that she honed in Grady to apply to the marketing world. Ashley was also originally adamant about working at a Fortune 500 company, but immediately connected with the company she works at now. Having an open mind to explore all opportunities was one of Ashely’s biggest tips for students.
In the entertainment industry, networking is everything. Daley recommended utilizing the Linkedin filters to find people from UGA that work in the field you are interested in and messaging them to connect.
Patrick discussed the nerves that many students feel when it comes to reaching out to professionals, but stressed that the UGA alumni network is always eager to help current students. He also talked about the importance of starting to network as soon as possible, rather than waiting until the moment you need a job.
Ashely learned about the different areas of PR by simply talking to her professors. She advised students to utilize their teachers as a resource, because they know what they’re talking about and want to help you.
Maintaining a Work-Life Balance:
Daley believes it is very important to enjoy where you work and what you do so that you can form connections that make you happy while you are working and when you put your work down at the end of the day.
Patrick recognized how his environment completely changed when he moved away from home to start working, which can be overwhelming. He recommended leaning into the things that bring you excitement, establishing barriers for yourself and communicating those barriers to those around you in the workplace.
Similar to Daley, Ashley’s key to her work-life balance is enjoying where she works, while also allowing herself to be human. Sometimes you need a mental break, and that is okay. Working with people who value you as not only an employee, but also as a human is imperative for maintaining balance in your life.
As you can see, these Grady Grads are already excelling in their careers and we cannot thank them enough for sharing their experiences and advice with PRSSA!