It wasn’t until she graduated from high school and went to college at the University of West Georgia, that the UWG alum and former West Georgian editor, Ashley Bush, narrowed her writing interests to a career in corporate communications.
Bush always knew she wanted to be a writer and saw herself pursuing a career in writing.
After a semester at Mercer University, she transferred to UWG. She says the program encompassed more aspects in communications, which ultimately allowed her to find her passion. The variety of skills required for a career in public relations is what ultimately drew Bush to the sub-specialty.
“I was exposed to the beautiful concept that writing is just one part of developing and conveying a message,” Bush said. “I could strongly use my writing skills, but I could also use my other talents and the creative parts of my mind, including campaign development, graphic design, multimedia presentations, photography, videography and much more. “
Bush was editor at The West Georgian during her time as a student. She also interned at the Carroll County School System where she assisted the public relations director. These experiences have allowed her to develop strong relationships with her community; relationships it maintains to this day.
“I helped their public relations director set up communications for the various stakeholders in the system,” Bush said. “I also got to see the first 12 for Life years [one of Southwire’s most notable partnerships with local school systems] on the part of the programme’s educational partners. It was through 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 and was offered an internship in Southwire’s Corporate Communications department,” Bush continued. “After graduating from UWG in 2011, I applied and was offered a full-time position as a Communications Specialist for Southwire where I expanded on my previous responsibilities and started, not only to write and edit the newsletter, but also to coordinate, write and direct produce for corporate video projects.
Just 11 years later, Bush has not looked back. Today, she serves as Director, Communications and Giving Back at Southwire. Prior to her current position, Bush held numerous other positions at the company, from communications specialist and company spokesperson to media relations representative.
She currently serves on the UWG Alumni Council as Chair of the Fundraising Task Force as well as on the UWG A-Day Leadership Team for the past four years.
His advice to students who want to pursue a career in corporate communications is to develop strong writing skills, build and maintain strong relationships in the field, and take the time to learn business acumen.
“Building relationships builds trust, and to be a good communicator, you have to be a reliable source of information,” Bush said. “This applies regardless of the field of communication you represent and, honestly, it can also apply in a much broader sense of leadership. To do this, it takes time. You need to invest time in getting to know people, listening to them, checking in just to say hello.
“The important thing is that you work to establish or build these relationships when there is no ‘demand’ or pressure – before any particular need or crisis,” Bush continued. “That way, when the time is right and one party needs the support of the other, you’ve established a relationship of trust.”