GC graduate Emily Ward managed what many college graduates struggle to pull off: get a job in her major after graduation. With hard work, connections and a little luck, Ward became one of the youngest account executives at Cox Media Group.
Ward currently works in Jacksonville, Florida, and represents seven different radio stations: 95.1WAPE, 96.9 The Eagle, WOKV 104.6, Hot 99.5, X 102.9, 106.1 and Easy 106.5. As an account executive, Ward maintains relationships with new and old clients, creates marketing strategies to help clients achieve their goals and comes up with ideas for events. She also gets to exercise her creative side in her job, writing and producing radio commercials.
To get such a prestigious job, Ward had to connect with the right people. While attending the Radio Talent Institute in Athens, Ward had a fateful meeting with Kim Guthrie, who eventually became president of Cox Media.
Ward described the meeting: Guthrie strode into the conference wearing a black pantsuit with red and cheetah print heels. Ward was in awe.
“She was the epitome of fierce, and I knew I wanted to be her,” Ward said.
Guthrie asked each student what they wanted to do in radio. Most wanted to become on-air talent, but Ward stood out by answering that she wanted to become the general manager of a radio station. This answer impressed Guthrie, and she approached Ward after the panel.
“Come to find out, she was high up on the food chain in the radio division of Cox Media Group,” Ward said.
Ward wasn’t intimidated by Guthrie’s position. In fact, Guthrie offered to help Ward find a job after graduation. Ward didn’t let this connection slip, and she stayed in touch with Guthrie over email.
Graduation was approaching, and Guthrie held true to her promise. She arranged an interview for Ward in Atlanta at the headquarters for Cox Media radio and television stations. The interview went well, but Ward knew that the digital position the company offered wasn’t for her.
Ward continued her job search in Jacksonville, hoping for another Cox Media position. This time, the job was exactly what she was looking for: account executive. She endured the five-hour-long interview process and was left wondering and waiting.
“I wasn’t dumb, so I went ahead and applied for another position at another radio station,” Ward explained.
This other station offered her a job, but Cox Media was still her top choice. Ward wasn’t afraid to reach back out to them.
“If there’s any way you can blink once and let me know that I’m hired, I won’t take this other job,” she said to the hiring manager.
On the morning of her mass communication senior breakfast, she got the anticipated phone call: it was a “yes.”
Before graduation, Ward had already secured a successful and exciting job in a competitive industry.
Ward graduated from GC in May 2016. While her passion for radio took her far, radio wasn’t her beginning. Ward was originally a biology major, as far as she could be from mass communications.
However, she ran across the campus radio station, WGUR 95.3, tabling on a fateful fall day during her sophomore year. Ward later helped WGUR DJs hand out fliers during Georgia College’s annual Fall Fest, which set off a chain reaction.
Ward began hosting a radio show called “Wonderful Wednesday” about upcoming concerts. Fast forward a year later to her junior year, and Ward was a mass communication major and production manager of WGUR.
As production manager, Ward impacted other mass communication students. Caroline O’Neil became the WGUR production manager after Ward graduated.
“I learned a lot from Emily in terms of leadership,” O’Neil said. “She taught me that it was important to keep a tone casual and [stay] comfortable while working with a team, but also to stress the professionalism and expectations that come with broadcast.”
Professor Angela Criscoe was the advisor of WGUR and worked closely with Ward.
“Emily had a natural talent for radio,” Criscoe said. “The first time I met Emily, I loved her energy. I knew pretty quickly that she was going to push herself to do well.”