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Jamilla Johnson
Jamilla Johnson

When marketing major Jamilla Johnson heard that she wasn’t in any photos from the Fourth annual PESA (Professional Entertainment and Sports Association) Summit this year, she wasn’t shocked.

“I was so busy running around everywhere making sure things went off OK,” said Johnson, who serves as president of the club. “I’m not surprised I’m not in the photos.”

She’s right -- catching her sitting still would be extraordinary. Johnson, a native of Chicago and third-year student at Terry, seems to do everything at breakneck speed.

During her freshman year, she volunteered to work at the PESA Summit, an annual event featuring panels and workshops exploring business trends and issues within the television, film, fashion, music and sports industries. During her sophomore year, she served as a committee member. By midway through her junior year, she was president.

Her ascent within PESA is a reflection of the pace at which she approaches everything, according to instructor David Barbe, director of Terry’s Music Business Program.

“Jamilla really embraces the ‘Must Be Present to Win’ philosophy of MBUS. She gets involved, serving in leadership positions with organizations like PESA, and Grammy U (the collegiate arm of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences). That sort of thing will serve her well not only in college, but as an important part of her career preparation," Barbe said. "If I had to find a phrase to describe Jamilla's presence in the classroom, it would be 'pleasantly persistent,' which is a great quality to have. She welcomes challenges, and always seems to maintain a positive outlook when pursuing her goals.”

She applies that same can-do spirit toward PESA. This year the club grew from 80 to 100 members. Next year, she said, she wants everyone to be more involved.

“We really focus on networking events, but we also do more than that,” she said. “We have speakers in the industry come to speak once a month. We try to pair up with the UGA Career Center on anything that they’re doing, so we make sure that PESA members go. We take company tours. Not a lot of people know this, but when you’re a member you get exclusive invites to company tours. This year, our members got a chance to tour Modern Luxury and their fashion magazine company in Atlanta. We did a Hawks game night, where we saw the Hawks play the Knicks, and their people had a panel set up to talk to us about marketing. We try to make things fun; it’s not just a boring suit-and-tie networking club. It’s about enjoying the moment, too. The entertainment industry is going to be exciting, as much work as it is, and we try to reflect that.”

After Terry, she hopes to break into the entertainment industry doing marketing work.

“I have wishes. I have companies I hope to work for. I want to go into agency work for the entertainment. CAA (Creative Artists Agency) came to a PESA event my sophomore year, and I thought, ‘Wow. I have to work for them some day.’,” she said. “But, really, I’ll take any door-opening opportunity. I know I’m not going to start with a $100,000 salary, so any place where I can climb the ladder will be good. I seem to be good at that.”