It wasn’t until she graduated high school and went to college at the University of West Georgia, that the UWG alumna and former West Georgian staff writer, Ashley Bush, narrowed down her writing interests to a career within corporate communications.
Bush always knew that she wanted to be a writer and could see herself pursuing a career in writing.
Following a semester at Mercer University, she transferred to UWG. She says the curriculum encompassed more aspects within communications which is ultimately what allowed her to find her passion. The variety of skills required for a career in public relations was what ultimately drew Bush into the subspeciality.
“I was exposed to the beautiful concept that writing is only one piece of developing and delivering a message,” said Bush. “I could strongly utilize my writing skills, but I could also use my other talents and the creative parts of my mind that included developing campaigns, graphic design, multimedia presentations, photography, videography and so much more.”
Bush was a staff writer at The West Georgian during her time as a student. She also interned with the Carroll County School System where she assisted the Director of Public Relations. These experiences allowed her to develop strong relationships with her community; relationships that she holds to this day.
“I supported their director of Public Relations in building communications for the various stakeholders within the system,” said Bush. “I was also able to see the early years of 12 for Life [one of Southwire’s most notable partnerships with local school systems] from the educational partner side of the program. It was because of this internship that I decided that the media and community relations aspect of communications was my ultimate dream job.
“The summer before my senior year at UWG, I interviewed for and was offered an internship with the Corporate Communication department at Southwire,” continued Bush. “Upon graduating from UWG in 2011, I applied for and was offered a full-time position as a Communication Specialist for Southwire where I built upon my previous responsibilities and began, not only writing and editing the newsletter, but also coordinating, scripting and executive producing for company video projects.”
Just 11 years later, Bush hasn’t looked back. Today, she serves as Director, Communications and Giving Back at Southwire. Prior to her current position, Bush has held many other roles at the company from communication specialist and company spokesperson to media relations representative.
She currently serves on the UWG Alumni Board as the fundraising task force chair as well as the UWG A-Day steering team for the past four years.
Her advice for students seeking to pursue a career in corporate communications is to develop strong writing skills, build and sustain strong relationships in the field and take time to acquire business acumen.
“Building relationships builds trust and to be a successful communicator you need to be a trusted source of information,” said Bush. “This applies no matter what realm of communications you represent and, honestly, can also apply in a much broader sense of leadership. To do this, it takes time. You must invest time in getting to know people, in listening, in simply checking in to say hello.”
“The important thing is that you work to establish or build these relationships when there is no “ask” or pressure – in advance of any particular need or crisis,” continued Bush. “That way, when the time comes and one party needs support from the other, you have established trust and rapport.”