A Corporate Panel featuring Grady alum from Coca-Cola, Customer Focused Strategies, Georgia Power and Tupperware

By: Raynor Manley

Meet our Panelists!! 

  • Lottie Smalley, Coca-Cola 
  • Allie Vlk, Customer Focused Strategies, *formerly Home Depot*
  • Crystal Ashbourne, Georgia Power 
  • Maggie Cavalenes, Tupperware 


Lottie Smalley graduated from UGA in May of 2020. Lottie majored in Public Relations and received certificates in both Public Affairs Communication and Entrepreneurship. She was involved with the UGA Student Government Association, UGA PRSSA, Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority and more. She served on the executive board with PRSSA as the Digital Media Director. 

Lottie is currently employed with the Coca-Cola Company and is a Digital Workplace Communications Specialist. 

Lottie had a lot of great advice to offer Grady students. She encouraged us to always advocate for ourselves because it can bring success. Each club and organization can serve as a building block and stepping stone. Take advantage of joining committees and serving on executive boards. Having leadership roles in your clubs are crucial because you can talk about these experiences in your job interviews. These experiences will help prepare you for interviews which will help get you jobs. Internships can often turn into bigger opportunities. 

One of Lottie’s favorite things about her job is that she gets to work with so many different types of people and form relationships with them. 

Lottie left us with a few pieces of advice, sometimes the jobs you want will be very competitive and you may not get the job you really want. Keep your mind open. Don’t be afraid to fight for what you want. Start a portfolio that showcases your best work and showcase what you are passionate about. 


Allie Vlk graduated from UGA in 2018. She was an advertising major and received the public affairs communication certificate. She was involved in many different organizations around campus and even served on the PRSSA executive board as the Director of Internal Communications. 

Allie used to work as a Paid Media Specialist for The Home Depot but recently changed positions and now works as a Marketing and Communications Consultant for Customer Focused Strategies. 

Allie expressed how rewarding Grady and PRSSA were to her and how many great opportunities came from her involvement in these organizations. She said that we should go on every trip and study abroad that we can. She also stated how important it is to learn the areas that you don’t want to go into. This can help narrow down the job search and help you find a job that you know you will love. 

Allie’s favorite part of her job is that she works internationally so she gets to learn about different cultures and business backgrounds. 

Allie’s advice was to not be afraid to put yourself out there. No one will advocate as hard for you as you will. Make it a habit of putting yourself out there and reaching out to people! It’s okay to not have the perfect internship because you are still gaining experience and skills can be applied in many ways. 


Crystal Ashbourne graduated from UGA in 2016. Crystal majored in public relations and pursued a professionalism certificate and a new media certificate. She was a member of PRSSA and other service organizations around campus. 

Crystal is currently employed with Georgia Power Company and is a Digital Strategy Manager. 

Crystal had great tips for students. She encouraged everyone to connect with professors. She gave our advisor, Kim Landrum, a shoutout and said she wouldn’t be where she is now without Kim. She explained that our coursework truly prepares us for the work field and Grady delivers students with exceptional talent. She encouraged us to lean on our professors and mentors. 

Crystal’s favorite part of her job is that she has gotten to partner with different sports teams around Georgia and has even met Matt Ryan! 

One piece of advice that Crystal left us with is to do lots of research on a company before interviewing with them. Companies are always impressed by passion and students’ passion for wanting to work at their company. Tell them what you would add to their company and explain what cool ideas you have, because they want to see what you could do at their company. Reach out to people you admire; at companies you love. Even if they aren’t hiring, ask to do an informational interview and show your passion. They will remember you. 


Maggie Cavalenes graduated from UGA in December of 2020. She majored in public relations and received a certificate in public affairs communication. Maggie was very involved on campus and even served as the Executive Director of Communications for the Student Government Association. 

Maggie currently works as a Global Communications and Public Relations Specialist for Tupperware Brands. 

Maggie encouraged students to talk to professors and make lasting connections. She was a big fan of going to her professor’s office hours so that she could develop personal one-on-one relationships with them. Your professors want you to succeed and can help you get internships! 

Maggie’s favorite part of her job is that she got to work on a project for the show The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and they were featured in Vanity Fair! How cool!

Overall, Maggie left us with the advice to get to know your professors and take advantage of the opportunities that Grady has. She said there is no wrong way to go, and your path is exactly what it is meant to be. Every mistake and misstep lead you to the right place. 


Feel free to connect with any of our speakers on LinkedIn, we loved having them and are so thankful for their advice and guidance.