“Relish in the moment the lightbulb turns on.”
Alumna Ashley Smith (B.S., Telecommunications and Film and Communications ’94) is the founder of GSD Advisory, a marketing advising and strategy company in Charleston, South Carolina. GSD Advisory leverages Smith’s passions and 25 years of experience in connecting consumers and brands across music, sports and entertainment. Prior to launching GSD Advisory, Smith was the Vice President of Brand Marketing for Madison Square Garden overseeing marketing, digital content and customer experience for the MSG portfolio of venues including The Garden, Beacon Theatre, Radio City Music Hall and Chicago Theatre. With a wealth of sports and music industry experience, Smith traces her previous roles at ESPN, Turner Broadcasting, Left Bank Organization, Beyond Music and New Era Management to her days as a C&IS student. Smith now serves on the college’s Board of Visitors and is excited to support C&IS and its students.
Read below to see Smith’s insight into her undergraduate work at C&IS, her current career and the lessons she’s learned along the way.
What is your official job title?
Founder at GSD Advisory
Why did you choose C&IS for your undergraduate studies?
I think you could say that I was destined to study communications. From leading impromptu singing performances as a teenager at family gatherings to hosting my own radio show in high school, I’ve been a communicator my entire life. I was impressed with the School’s facilities and of course the campus overall.
What lessons from C&IS have helped you throughout your career?
Mr. Oakley, in particular, taught me the value and importance of authentic networking. His Rolodex was a true who’s-who of C&IS graduates who were now influential media executives. His ability to maintain and prioritize those relationships is something I learned from and use each day in my career.
How can students make the best use of their studies?
Have fun! And yes, you can take your classes seriously and learn while having fun. Take advantage of your time as a student and having access to all these experienced and brilliant people around you. Schedule as many informational meetings as you can to meet people, ask questions, listen, and discover the variety of ways you can leverage your degree after college.
What advice do you have for students interested in your field?
An entry level position is not a bad thing. Pursue opportunities and consider all doors that open from that first position – and work hard! Speak up with an informed point of view once inside. Let your voice be heard. Treat everyone you meet with respect and kindness – not only because you should, but also because you never know where a relationship might lead you.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Getting (Stuff) Done. I named my company GSD for that reason. I like to think that I’ve always been the hardest working person in the room, and there’s never a time where that is more important than when you launch your own company. I get the most satisfaction from creating a campaign that motivates consumers to take action. Sometimes you might not like their reaction, yet if it struck a chord, it worked.
What motivates you?
Ideas – I relish the moment the light bulb turns on; the moment you have a new idea and you know it’s a winner.
Thank you, Ashley!