Grady graduate, Brianna McClendon, spoke this week at PRSSA about her job at Southern Company and an internship opportunity for the coming summer and fall.


Southern Company is a gas and electric utility holding company that is the parent company of many local and state energy companies, including Georgia Power, Alabama Power and Mississippi Power. They are the largest energy provider in the southeast, and their footprint spans the entire continental U.S.


McClendon got connected to Southern Company through their internship program and now is a communications specialist in the internal and external communications department. During her time at UGA, she was a journalism major and originally wanted to work in the newsroom. However, after working for Southern Company, she found her calling in PR. McClendon loved the company’s culture and how they valued her ideas and projects. They wanted fresh ideas and she had them.


The communications team at Southern Company works in many different channels, such as internal communications through their website Southern Today, and external communications through their media newsroom and social media. There are also advertising teams that work on sponsorship projects, including large names like the Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Falcons and the PGA Tour. Along with these major projects, there are also event planning opportunities that include planning the annual company meeting at Callaway Gardens.


McClendon explained that every day at Southern Company is different, whether it’s working with clients, or event planning, or creating social media content. One of the many things the team works on is crisis communications. For instance, one major crisis that the team dealt with recently was the massive Atlanta airport power outage. The team was responsible for ensuring the public was informed and the media was kept up-to-date.


In addition, the team recently brainstormed ideas for ways to prevent sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace. The team came up with an anonymous hotline for people who were experiencing discrimination, an infographic with helpful information regarding discrimination, an article about the company’s policies, and management talking points so that leadership was directly involved with the policy. This communication plan helped get the whole company, which employs around 32,000 people, on the same page about their zero-tolerance policy.


The Southern Company internship is a great way to get your foot in the door. The last two interns proved themselves and were offered full-time positions after their internship ended. The internship gives you invaluable experience and allows you to get connected in a position where you normally would have to have 15+ years of experience in the field. The internship application deadlines are coming up in the next week, so make sure to apply on handshake today!