Terry Case Study: Halle Bynum

Halley Bynum

Accounting Major Halle Bynum, founder of H & L Marketing

Hometown: Fitzgerald, Ga.

High School: Fitzgerald High School Class of ‘21

Accounting major Halley Bynum grew up driving tractors and prepping fields on her parents’ sod farm in Fitzgerald, Ga. Her love for rural Georgia and entrepreneurship contributed to her desire to study accounting at Terry. After graduation, she plans to attend dental school and fulfill her dream of starting a small chain of dental practices in South Georgia.

Why did you decide to come to UGA?
I always wanted to be a Georgia Bulldog, and I knew from day 1 UGA would be my home for four incredible years. During the college application process, I applied to three to four schools but held tightly to my love of UGA. As soon as I was accepted, I immediately knew I wouldn’t consider any other schools. UGA has an incredible pool of resources available — from class variety to experienced faculty and staff to availability of scholarships.

What made you decide to pursue an accounting major?

When I was deciding what degree to pursue, I had to consider where I wanted to be in the next 5, 10 and 20 years. I knew from the get-go I wanted to own a dental practice, so I decided to start taking classes at the Terry College of Business. Through my classes, I came to enjoy introductory accounting and the teachers who presented the material with such confidence and joy. Because of my introductory accounting teachers (Swati Bhandarkar and Chad Hugie), I applied to the accounting major and got accepted in spring of 2023.

I have loved every second of my accounting classes, and I know the material I am learning now will be not only relevant but incredibly useful and beneficial for the rest of my life. The return on this degree is unmeasurable.

Do you have plans after graduation?
My plans after graduation are to attend the Dental College of Georgia and obtain my MBA and DMD. I don’t plan on specializing, but that could always change as I learn what specific patient groups I enjoy working with most.

I fully intend on moving back to South Georgia, near my hometown of Fitzgerald, and opening a general dentistry practice. After running this office for a few years, I hope to create a series of rural-based dental offices serving the needs of the citizens of South Georgia. Long term, I see myself providing employment opportunities to those in rural communities, improving the overall quality of healthcare in South Georgia and growing a business through improvements in leadership, opportunity and culture.  

Can you explain what the Propel Rural Scholars program is? How has that program impacted your time at UGA?

The PROPEL Rural Scholars program is a one-year program under the Carl Vinson Institute of Government designed to allow students to help rural communities solve some of their most pressing economic issues. This program helps expose students from all backgrounds to the hardships small, rural communities face when trying to make vital decisions concerning economic growth and development. The program spends the fall semester taking students on a community visit and teaching students some of the basics about consulting for a small town. In the spring semester, students are assigned a community to perform an economic development project. I am working on a project for Pulaski County, Georgia, promoting local events and getting information out to the city and county.

This program allowed me to work in the communities I am most passionate about. Small, rural towns helped develop me into the person I am today, so getting to go back and help these communities solve important problems thrills me. I can truthfully say this program is one of my top 3 experiences at UGA, and I’m so glad I am able to put my knowledge and skills to use and give back to the places I love the most.

Why did you decide to pursue the ILA and Entrepreneurship certificates?

I decided to pursue certificates in Entrepreneurship and Personal and Organizational Leadership due to my drive to always want to learn more. I enjoy learning, and I feel the certificate programs in the Terry College of Business are incredible ways to grow specific skill sets, regardless of your background or area of study. Since I have leadership and entrepreneurial experience, I decided to pursue the related certificates to grow my pre-existing skill sets. When choosing these certificates, I invested a good amount of time calculating the long-term payoff of the time investment I would be required to make.

What I’ve learned in the entrepreneurship and leadership programs will always be relevant and incredibly beneficial. I have truly enjoyed all my classes in these two certificate programs, and I feel the teachers are invested in sharing their experiences and knowledge to set their students up for success.

How has working with the UGA Entrepreneurship Program helped you grow?

Working with the UGA Entrepreneurship program over the summer of 2022 helped me form a baseline understanding of entrepreneurship. I went through the Idea Accelerator, Build Test Accelerator, and the Summer Launch program. Through these programs, I was able to learn so much about customer discovery, making a business scalable and revenue-driving techniques.

I used the time to refine H & L Marketing LLC, a company I started with my brother as part of Fitzgerald High School’s FLEX entrepreneurship competition. It’s a fundraising platform that simplifies the fundraising process for clubs and teams through online fundraising, providing in-demand and local products and direct-to-door shipping. While the business is on a hiatus until we have more time, my time in the Entrepreneurship Program helped us take the next steps.

The mentors I got to work with over that summer were so experienced and were interested in propelling the growth of my business. They met with us every week and pushed us to “beat the clock,” pushing us to grow our businesses as fast as possible. The scale my business reached would not have been possible without that extra nudge from the Entrepreneurship Program.

How has the work on the Certificate in Personal and Organizational Leadership helped you?

The Institute for Leadership Advancement here at UGA has truly given me more than I could ever ask for. This certificate program has become more than just classes, it has become a community of passionate teachers and students, an opportunity to meet people who have gone above and beyond in life, and a way to consistently give back through service.

Though I am only in my second semester of the program, I have already grown incredibly close with my classmates, allowing me to form meaningful connections with those who are like-minded. My teachers invested so much into my education and have taught me about using my strengths and weaknesses to become the most effective leader in the environments around me. I look forward to my last semester as a scholar, where I will get to finish my service-learning project and present this project to the community that is entrusting us with such a great deal of responsibility.

What is your most memorable experience while at UGA?

My most memorable experience at UGA was getting into the Terry College of Business in the spring of my sophomore year. Taking classes up to that point made me feel like I was just checking off boxes. I didn’t feel what I was doing had true meaning and relevance to my field of study.

When I got into the accounting major, I instantly felt I was about to head down a path with a direct correlation to my future goals. Beyond it being a huge relief after weeks of worry surrounding getting in, there was a reassurance that everything I did up to that point had meaning. The classes, experiences, and endless hours of work had meaning and led me to this very point in my life. I remember being ecstatic and ready to start my major classes so soon. I knew my education was in the hands of the some of the best faculty in the country, and I knew I wouldn’t leave campus a single day without being poured into it.