seat at the table

Organizers and panelists pose after the join Grady and Terry event, "A Seat at the Table." (Courtesy Jada Hill)

A Seat at the Table, a crossover event with the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication and the Terry College of Business, taught male and female students how to earn their place at the table and what to do with it once they are there.

The event took place in the Miller Learning Center Friday, March 29 and was hosted by Women in Business, Women in Media and Her Campus UGA.

Panelists Nikki Barjon, Gralyn Daily and Nadia Rodrigues talked about how they earned their seat at the table by taking risks, speaking up and knowing when not to speak.

Nikki Barjon, founder and owner of the Barjon Group, works on high profile crisis cases for minorities.

“It’s not just having a seat. Sitting there is not enough,” Barjon said. “It’s what do you have to contribute.”

A representative of T.I., Gucci and other popular names, Barjon gave students some advice about how she has catapulted her way to the top of her business.

“I try to surround myself with excellence … all I had was drive and I knew I could outwork you,” she said.

Gralyn Daily, a UGA graduate and senior manager of production management at Turner Sports, talked about how she is “OK with failing.”

“It’s not just having a seat. Sitting there is not enough. It’s what do you have to contribute.”

— Nikki Barjon, A Seat at the Table panelist

“I’m very curious...I like to find out what people do differently than what I do to educate myself,” Daily said.

Daily said if you ever find yourself in a boardroom meeting sitting on the outskirts, remember: “The seats behind the seats are just as important because those are the people that lift up the ones in front of them.”

Daily left the students with advice to never give up on what they want.

“I can’t control whether I’m going to have a job tomorrow but I can control how valuable I am,” Daily said.

Nadia Rodrigues, senior manager of strategy and operations at Credigy, comes from a different work environment than Barjon and Daily.

Rodrigues analyzes data and transforms it to answer questions that the business has.

Rodrigues said the most important thing to consider when asking for a seat at the table is to be prepared.

“You have to be ready,” she said. “If you ask for a business or a meeting … you have to know everything.”

Lottie Smalley, a public relations major and digital content creator for YouTube, also spoke at the event about how to stand out in a saturated world and how to develop a personal brand.

“You can do anything but you can’t do everything,” Smalley said.

Smalley said she takes indirect advice from Chrissy Teigen and Jennifer Lawrence.

“[They] keep it real and make you feel like they’re normal people,” Smalley said.

Jayda Hill, a co-coordinator of the event, is the founding president of Women in Media.

Hill, from Ellenwood, Georgia, is a junior majoring in advertising, minoring in sports management and working for a certificate in new media.

In coordinating the event, Hill wanted to “make sure all majors were represented within our speakers,” Hill said.

The mission of the event was to give women the encouragement and knowledge on what to do when they are working in a media environment that is different than Grady.

“In Grady, it’s a predominantly women-based school but when you go out to the media industry, it’s not the same reflection,” Hill said.

Alleyone Monsanto, a freshman fashion merchandising major from Smyrna, Georgia, also attended the event.

“I’ve always wanted to own my own business eventually, so I figured it would be a good start to listen in on the event,” Monsanto said.

After leaving the event, Monsanto said she “definitely felt empowered and motivated and it also felt like there’s people out there to look after me, in a sense.”

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