UWG alumna and recipient of the 30 Under 30 Alumni Recognition Award, Lacy Wilson, will be speaking as a panelist at Media Day to provide students with insight about how she was able to gain the success that she has in her career.
Wilson got her bachelors degree in mass communications with a concentration in public relations and a minor in marketing. After she graduated UWG, Wilson began her masters degree in public relations 100 percent online at Kent State University in conjunction with working full time.
Her first job right out of college was in a marketing role for a for-profit university that had recently opened in Chattanooga. She stayed there for around a year and a half before she went on to Blood Assurance, a regional non-profit blood bank based in Chattanooga. Here, she spent the majority of her career, which totaled over seven years.
Currently, Wilson is the president of the Walker County Chamber of Commerce, the same county she grew up in. Working and giving back to the community that she came from is something Wilson greatly values and says it would not have been possible without the opportunities she gained in school.
“It has been a very fulfilling job to be able to go to work every day in my own community, my hometown, and do business,” said Wilson. “That is something I probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity to pursue without some of the volunteer opportunities offered through the school.
“One of the first jobs that I had was actually interning at the PR department on campus for West Georgia,” continued Wilson. “So, without the staff in the communication department none of those opportunities would have ever happened for me.”
As a former student in the Department of Mass Communications, Wilson has attended Media Day, but this will be her first time doing so as a panelist. It is a moment she sees as not only an honor, but also bittersweet.
“It’s amazing and it’s an honor, but it flies by,” said Wilson. ”I remember when I worked Media Day in 2006, so to fast forward and to be back as a panelist is crazy to think how fast time really does go. It’s a little bittersweet because I know these students are right on the cusp of this great adventure.
“It’s a whirlwind experience and then you look back and you’re like ‘where did this time go?’” continued Wilson. “It really is bittersweet because you will never again have all of your immediate close friends in the same town again. It’s a great time and obviously, the education and the academics are important but the broader picture of what’s going in their life right now is something they really need to soak in and cherish because it will be gone before they know it.”
Having experienced Media Day as a student and now looking back, Wilson is able to see just how beneficial it was for her and can be for students today.
“Having that real award experience in the room and actually ask them questions,” said Wilson. “They are not necessarily interviewing you for a job that day so you can ask them a question and they’ll give you straight up honest feedback about this industry and what to expect. I think that really helps the students understand what’s to come down the road.”
After many years in the field and several years since graduation, Wilson says that continuous learning is the best skill to possess. In a field that is constantly changing, the ability to learn and adapt is what she says is most important.
“Never stop learning. This is an industry where your skill sets don’t necessarily change but the tactics change so much as far as how do you employ all of this information to your audience,” said Wilson. “That is constantly changing. It might be podcasts and Instagram today but it might be something completely different three-four years down the road.”
Remembering the panel speakers she saw at her Media Day as a student and the lasting impact that they had on her, Wilson will certainly relish the opportunity to be on the other side of that experience.