Tag Archives: Atlanta

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The Woman Behind What Makes Atlanta So Darn Cool: Sheoyki Jones

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T: What is your Job Title and what do you do?

S: I am the Program Manager of Creative Industries at Invest Atlanta. My role is basically for local content creators in creative industries such as film, music, and digital entertainment. I create programming to help invest in them and to keep them sustainable as a business. Also, I work on economic development projects for high profile entertainers that are purchasing real estate in the city of Atlanta.

T: How did you get started in entertainment and what is your story?

S: Originally, my degree is in Paralegal Studies, so I was on the path to become a lawyer. But, I was working in a law firm after graduating while managing a singer-songwriter and a fashion model. With the fashion model, we were very successful with four consecutive seasons of New York Fashion Week and even Milan. I have gotten her national and international campaigns. For the singer-songwriter, I helped her develop her first EP, features on some projects, and performances on tours with major record labels. As I was doing that, I realized that I liked the corporate structure just because it was a more sustainable lifestyle for me. So, I decided to start doing legal work again and ended up working at Invest Atlanta as the Senior Legal Assistant. Two years after that, I moved to the Economic Development Team and asked my boss if my focus could be Film and Entertainment and he said yes. From there, I basically merged both of the worlds I learned in Entertainment and Economic Development. Essentially, I have been able to create a loan fund to invest in content creators, promote the city of Atlanta as a place to do business in the creative industries nationally and internationally, and work out million-dollar deals to help drive the success that we are seeing in the city.

T: What is your favorite project that you have worked on so far?

S: I am working on a project right now with a high-profile entertainer. They are backing the development of a creative industries incubator for Atlanta. It will be the first time you will see Film, Music, Digital Entertainment, and Technology all housed under one roof. They will all have the resources to create on an independent level with access to workforce development and training. I would say that is my favorite because it does a lot for the community and gives independent content creators the resources they need. This will promote Atlanta as not just a transactional city when it comes to entertainment, but a cultural driver.

T: We have spoken about you working on something called the Creative Industry Loan Fund. What exactly is that?

S: The Creative Industry Loan Fund is the first fund in the city of Atlanta, funded by the city, that invests in content. It is a 1.25 Million dollar fund that local content creators can use for film, music, digital entertainment, production, post-production, marketing/distribution, tours, attractions, tours/festivals, and prototype/product development. We are super excited about it. It is something that we would like to be able to give our filmmakers, musicians, and our content creators. [With this], it gives them the opportunity to seek funding from their city and keep control of the content that they are creating. Also, we can use this as an educational platform to teach them how to be a sustainable business, how to seek funding, and how to operate as a business when taking in funding. This is our idea of how to push the next generation of content creators forward, but in a way that they will be sustainable as a business.

T: For students who are interested in entertainment but want a more structured environment, like you, what do you advise them to do?

S: There are film commissions and economic development agencies all around the world. Some economic development agencies have not started including creative industries. So, I think that there are opportunities there to create those roles in those organizations. There are also those film commissions that are operating under your city and state governments that are always looking for the next generation of leaders that are experienced in these industries. [With their experience], they can help build programming and opportunities to help keep and retain these content creators. There are also major record labels who have corporate structures.

T: Does Invest Atlanta have internships or other work opportunities?

S: Yes, we have interns every summer in different departments… just depending what the need is. We also have a program called Students2Startups where we give students the opportunity to work for startups. We pay 2/3 of their salary and the company pays the other 1/3 for the student to work with them for the summer. So, we have a few options.

Sheoyki is a powerhouse and is doing great things to futher our beloved city. Atlanta is special because of the culture, feel, and creativity it has. We need more people like Sheoyki to help communities advance economically and culturally. It was a pleasure interviewing her and I hope that I will see some of my classmates in similar positions in the future.

Sheoyki Jones: Invest Atlanta’s Program Manager or Creative Industries


Creative Industries Loan Fund: https://www.investatlanta.com/businesses/startups-creatives/creative-industries-loan-fund

Invest Atlanta Website: https://www.investatlanta.com/

Thank you for reading,

Taylor Tucker

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Student Spotlight: Erin Cooke

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Deciding who to interview for a student spotlight was a no-brainer for me. My friend Erin Cooke is probably the busiest person I know. I’m not kidding when I say she rarely has a day off! A senior from Ringgold, Georgia, Erin is involved in many student organizations at here at UGA, holding leadership roles in multiple clubs. Just to name a few, she works full-time for the UGA chapter of Turning Point USA, is a member of the College Republicans, and holds a position of leadership in UGA Miracle. Erin’s senior year got off to an impressive start as she coordinated a Turning Point event that hosted Donald Trump Jr. as headline speaker. The event was met with much anticipation. Originally scheduled to be at the Tate Center Theatre, the event had to be moved to the Classic Center to accommodate the large expected crowds. Turning Point saw its largest attendance ever for a campus event with a recorded turnout of around 1,500. Because of Erin’s impressive work coordinating the event, Turning Point offered her a full-time position, which she accepted in December.

Turning Point isn’t the only organization in which Erin is making a difference. Erin attributes a large part of her time to a leadership position with UGA Miracle, an event that raises money for the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Erin has a younger sister with a cleft palate lip who was adopted from China at a young age. Erin told me that she knows the difficulties that many families go through with children needing vital operations. Erin’s relationship with her sister is the driving force behind her commitment to the organization. This weekend, UGA Miracle hosted a dance marathon in which attendees were challenged to stand for 24 hours straight to raise money for the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. The organization raised over $1.1 million over the weekend. Erin raised about $600 herself through her sorority.

So what are Erin’s plans after graduating from UGA? Well, Erin plans on running for political office in the state of Georgia, aspiring to become a U.S. Senator one day. For someone who has accomplished so much at such a young age, Erin is very humble and down to earth. She told me that she doesn’t want to seek fame through politics, but instead wants to be a servant of the community. Erin’s faith in Christ is what she said has motivated her throughout her life’s journey. I believe Erin will enjoy great success after graduation because of her amazing work ethic and dedication to service. I wish Erin Cooke the best of luck in her future career in politics!

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Corporate Spotlight: Minerva Nada

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This week I interviewed my mentor, Minerva Nada, CoxReps TEGNA Team Sales Manager. I met Minerva at an Ad club meeting here at UGA. She is on the board of the Atlanta Broadcast Advertising Club which was created by Sean Jones, Director of National Sales at Comcast Spotlight. When I saw Minerva’s personability and discovered she was from and previously worked in Los Angeles, I knew she was the person I was going to look up to.

Minerva made her way to college at the University of California, Berkeley studying Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing. She worked full-time throughout college in a sales position, and then soon after graduating sold real estate in Orange County. After a successful two year real estate career she then moved to flip and sell more houses in Texas.

After a couple more years in real estate she found herself wanting to use her degree to work in advertising.  Minerva went back to LA to start as an assistant at the national TV rep firm, KATZ Media. After a year she was promoted to an account executive position, and then two years later decided it was time for more growth. Through a connection, she landed a job at a local radio station selling ad spaces for LA businesses only. These two years she would say grew her skin thicker from hearing a lot of no’s.

In 2013 Minerva got a position as an account executive at Cox Media in LA, and then 3 years later received a management position at the CoxReps office in Atlanta.

“How important have professional relationships been to you?”

I would not have had most of the opportunities I received in my career without these relationships. Within my sales roles and manager role now, relationships are so important. Building relationships with my clients is very important in order to build trust and complete buys. Also, you will likely work with or need to connect to people you knew and worked with a decade ago, so I advise not to burn bridges!

“What is the value of mentorship to you?”

I was mentored by the scariest and oldest man in the business during my time as an account exec. He was tough and everyone was scared of him, but he saw that I was strong, had something in me and taught me everything I needed to know. I could not be more about mentorship now and am all about paying it forward. I love it so much that I created a mentorship program at CoxReps for reps and managers to be put together. I really enjoy mentoring at work, teaching lunch-n-learns and getting to mentor college students like you!

“If you could go back and change something about your college career what would you do differently?”

You know I definitely had an interesting situation having to work full-time throughout college, but I do wish I had gotten more involved within the business school at Berkeley. I also wish I had gotten internship experience before I graduated even through the financial stress.”

“What does work-life balance mean to you?”

So I definitely was a worked fourteen hour days for a year or two starting out in advertising. Once you have become established though it is important to prioritize your happiness. I work hard and I play hard. I grind it out at work so that I can leave at a reasonable time, go to the gym, and eat and spend time with my family at night. Don’t give up your life for your job! People I work with do say I’m always connected, which is true, I will get back to people quickly and always know what is going on, but it works for me and does not interfere with my personal life.

“What advice do you have for those leaving college and entering the advertising industry?”

It is okay to not know exactly what you want to do, but make moves to figure it out. Dabble in a lot of different roles, intern, shadow, get mentored, and ask a lot of questions. It is better to try something out in the short term rather than getting stuck in a role that you hate for too long. It is important to keep a strong network, and one of quality over quantity. If someone just adds me on linkedIn, that is not connecting. It is important to follow up with people soon after meeting them and ask them questions, build a relationship, don’t just ‘network’. Like I said before, prioritizing your happiness is important. Be relocatable for a job because leaving what is familiar will give you room to grow. However, do not take a job in a city you know you will hate or take a job you know you will hate. It is okay to take a step back in order to take a step forward, and above all know your worth.

Thanks so much Minerva! I am thankful to get to know and learn from you, and am glad to get to pass along all of your wisdom to my peers.

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How Atlanta Has Blown Another Super Bowl

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This Sunday the most watched musical performance in the world will air in the Pepsi Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show. Maroon 5 is the headliner and will be accompanied by Travis Scott and Big Boi from OutKast. Big Boi is the only native Atlantean performing! That’s simply ridiculous. Atlanta has been blessed with an immense amount of musical talent. Here’s the list of native Atlanta artists that are performing Thursday night at the Tabernacle as part of the Super Bowl festivities: Migos, Ludacris, Lil Yachty, Gucci Mane, headlined by Zac Brown Band. Why the hell is this not the Halftime show! Don’t get me wrong. I love Maroon 5 and believe they will do an amazing job, but I would much rather see the Migos start off the halftime show with “Walk It Talk It” then here Maroon 5 play “Payphone.” I mean just imagine the halftime show ending with over 100 million Americans singing “Chicken Fried” together! That’s a United America.

However, it will not be so. This year’s halftime show has been brought under immense controversy with multiple artists turning down the opportunity. Most notably Rihanna declining the offer in support of Colin Kaepernick, the ex-NFL player who began the protest of kneeling during the National Anthem. Maroon 5 was not officially announced as the headliner of the show until January 13th. That’s the latest a headliner has been officially announced in a very long time. This further displays the difficulty the NFL had in finding a performer this year. Jay-Z even put a line in his song “Apesh-t” that reads “I said no to the Super Bowl, you need me, I don’t need you/Every night we in the endzone, tell the NFL we in stadiums too.” Nonetheless once Maroon 5 was announced and there was inevitably a petition to have them back out of the show. Currently over 100,000 have signed the petition. Travis Scott has been criticized much harsher than Maroon 5 by fans and other artists alike. Scott would not agree to perform at the halftime show until the NFL agreed to make a joint $500,000 donation to Dream Corpse, a social activist group founded by Van Jones in 2014 . Travis Scott assumed that this donation would curtail his scrutiny, however it has not. Kaepernick, T.I., and Michael B. Jordan have all publicly criticized him for his decision. Calling Travis Scott selfish and claiming that Scott does not care about black culture. Big Boi has also been added to the set after the outcry of no-native Atlanta performers in the halftime show. Big Boi is best known for his part in the six-time Grammy award winning group OutKast. However, he has not taken much flak from his decision to participate in the show. A major reason for this may be due to his radio silence on the matter, but I believe it is more due to the fact that he was raised walking distance from the stadium.

Here’s my point. The Super Bowl Halftime show this year has been a massive disaster for the NFL and the other parties involved. I believe a big reason why is because the NFL goofed up the selection of the performer. If the NFL had of selected an Atlanta native group, such as the Migos, I do not believe there would have been so much shade thrown around. Given that the Migos are performing as part of the pre-Super Bowl festivities, they would have likely agreed to play the halftime show in support of their home city of Atlanta. The Migos would have showcased Atlanta’s talent while also avoiding further controversy for the NFL. But surprise surprise, Atlanta blew another big game.

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Painting the Town Blue

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This past Saturday, I made the trek from Athens to Atlanta to attend the UGA Alumni Association’s annual Bulldog 100 event. As I made my way into downtown Atlanta, I quickly noticed the numerous billboards and advertisements for Pepsi on every street corner and city block. There were ads on the sides of buildings, banners outside hotels, and even a poster on the bus stop, right outside of the World of Coke.

Being a native Georgian, Coca-Cola was a staple in my childhood home. When we’d go to a restaurant, the wait staff would offer us sweet tea, water, or Coke and if a waiter or waitress ever asked the question “Is Pepsi okay?”, I’d ask for water instead. It’s not just a preference here, it’s a way of life. I even stopped eating breakfast at Bojangles a couple of years ago because their franchises only offer Pepsi products.

After further research into Pepsi and their ads in downtown Atlanta, I found out that only official Super Bowl sponsors are allowed to advertise in the area around the new Mercedes Benz Stadium, in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl. While Coke usually has licensing rights within the stadium, all of their products have been banned during Super Bowl LIII. All soda products served during the Super Bowl will come exclusively from PepsiCo. Inc.

While Pepsi’s temporary presence in Atlanta looks like a threat from the outside looking in, Coca-Cola’s brand loyalty is as strong as ever in the state of Georgia. Pepsi may benefit from their day-of sales within Mercedes Benz Stadium however, nearly all of the downtown restaurants exclusively serve Coca-Cola products and those 71,000 game patrons will have to eat somewhere during their stay in Atlanta.

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A Checklist of Ten Backdrops in Atlanta

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A city provides countless backdrops for photos. Atlanta is defined by its own iconic landmarks and upcoming businesses. The number of businesses and city landmarks creates a competitive digital atmosphere as new businesses and iconic landmarks jostle for online presence. I’ve compiled a list of the top places I think you should visit and snap a pic in the heart of Atlanta and its surrounding neighborhoods.

Unlike my previous blog post of brands in Athens, Georgia, this list explores landmarks that represent certain areas or neighborhoods in Atlanta instead of businesses. These landmarks serve as backdrops that can be easily captured and recognized online to drive consumers to businesses in the area.

Take a look at my top ten list below.

  1. Jackson Street Bridge

  • This is probably one of Atlanta’s most popular spots for a picture of the city’s skyline. Resting on the edge of Freedom Park and the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood, it’s a great spot for a sunset picture of the city. It’s also the site of the famous image of Atlanta in The Walking Dead.
  1. Midtown Sign

  • The heart of Atlanta is split into two pieces: downtown and midtown. This sign is featured outside of Colony Square, the first large scale mixed-use development in the Southeast. Recently called “tired,” Colony Square sought to bring recognition to the booming Midtown area and their own development revitalization with the eight foot letters.
  1. Centennial Olympic Park

  • Many people outside of Atlanta know this sight for its role in the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Today it is a public park within the city with a view of the downtown skyline. Nearby attractions include the Georgia Aquarium, The World of Coca-Cola, The Center for Civil and Human Rights, SkyView (Ferris wheel), and the Atlanta streetcar.
  1. Ponce City Market

  • Adapted from an old Sears building, Ponce City Market features a collection of boutiques, restaurants, offices, and residential space. It is connected to the Atlanta Beltline and neighbors the Old Fourth Ward, Virginia Highlands, and Midtown neighborhoods. You’ve probably seen these complementary colors plastered across your Instagram feed.
  1. Atlanta BeltLine

  • Built on a former railway corridor, this multi-use trail features murals and sculptures by local artists. The popularity of the trail for locals as well as visitors can be largely attributed to its featured art on social media. Businesses on or near the BeltLine often paint their exteriors so that they are featured on social media to drive brand awareness and foot traffic.
  1. Oakland Cemetery

  • Known as the resting place of iconic Atlanta residents like author Margaret Mitchell, this is a less popular destination for many visitors. I suggest this historic landmark because of its comprehensive walk through Atlanta history. The design of its old mausoleums contrasts with the modern skyline of downtown Atlanta.
  1. Piedmont Park

  • Piedmont Park is the city’s largest green space. Though it is surround by a number of restaurants and businesses, the park itself features a number of festivals and events, bike rentals, and pool and tennis memberships. Oak Hill, Lake Clara Meer, and the Active Oval are the best spots in the park for a picture of the midtown skyline.
  1. Historic Fourth Ward Park

  • Known for neighboring the popular Ponce City Market and Atlanta BeltLine, this park is a great example of the revitalized Atlanta area. It serves as a recreation and festival space for the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood. Its design and online social capital serve to increase the relevance and value of the neighborhood.
  1. Krog Street Tunnel

  • The tunnel connects the Cabbagetown and Inman Park neighborhoods. Its revolving content of graffiti serves as a great backdrop for social media. The tunnel itself draws many visitors, and those visitors often stay to visit the many boutiques and restaurants featured in Krog Street Market.
  1. Little Five Points

  • Little Five Points is known as one of the more eclectic neighborhoods in Atlanta. The neighborhood features murals and street musicians and is known for its edgy and indie style. “Hipster” would probably be too mainstream a word to describe the area. When you visit, be sure to snap a picture in front of the many murals as well as the shops on Euclid Avenue.

How many of these landmarks and neighborhoods have you visited? What Atlanta sites would you add to the list? Let me know in the comments below.

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