Alumni Spotlight: Jack O'Grady

by Delaney Garver

Meet Jack O’Grady – the 1893 Brand Studio Alumni whose initiative pioneered the Alumni Spotlight. 


O’Grady’s journey to becoming a media and journalism student at UNC wasn’t a straight line. His vast interests led him to switch majors and try several positions before landing at the 1893 Brand Studio. However, he found that his passion for writing never faded and has been a driving force to where he is today. 


He worked at the Brand Studio for three years, beginning as a storytelling team member, advancing to team lead and completing his senior year as the Director of Marketing Strategy. He described the environment at the Brand Studio and Daily Tar Heel as “uniquely effective.”


“I don’t know any other organization that prepares students to make an impact in the real world while not really making them wait,” O’Grady said. 


The Brand Studio offered him early exposure to working in an agency, allowing him to develop skills and gain experience that helped him discover his true passion and strengths.


He found value in his connections with clients and viewed his clients’ trust in the Brand Studio and himself as an honor. He believed there was excitement in being able to write a more comprehensive story for his clients, bringing their brands to new levels.

“I had so much fun being the storytelling team lead. Even with COVID, that was the most fun year I had with the Brand Studio.”


Although O’Grady spent most of his time as team lead communicating through a screen, he characterized his time junior year as the most transformative year at the Brand Studio. 


During his year as a team lead, the Brand Studio partnered with large clients such as Alamance Community College, which came with an influx of work. A broader workload prompted him to initiate partnerships with other teams. He witnessed a transformation within the studio as teams focused more on surrounding clients.


“Winning these really big deals required us to come together, and I got to see that happen. And at the time, I was like, this is really exciting,” O’Grady said.


During his senior year as the Director of Marketing Strategy, he undertook several pivotal projects, including launching the Alumni Spotlight features and finding new ways to develop the Brand Studio blog. He believed in leveraging as many people as possible on these projects, creating a strong alumni network while incorporating active students in the Brand Studio and Daily Tar Heel. 


Through all of his work as an undergrad student, O’Grady has held an unwavering belief in the product and the people, which led him to his position today in experimental design.


“Once I was dealing on the marketing side, I enjoyed getting people interested in a product that I believed in,” O’Grady said. “If I didn’t believe in the product, I don’t think I could have brought the same passion to it.”


O’Grady is currently a Content Strategy Junior Associate at Publicis Sapient, a tech innovation agency. He develops strategy and designs content to help businesses innovate their products and keep up with the current digital landscape.


In his dynamic position at Publicis Sapient, he honed his skills and passion for writing, taking charge of writing UX copy, working on brand audits and providing client guidance. 


A significant aspect of his role involves persuading others to recognize the value of his work. He attributes this skill to his experience in client-facing roles at the Brand Studio.


“Even when I’m working on helping build an app, I still have to sell that work,” Jack said. “Learning that skill of how to convince someone to see the value in what you’ve done is one of probably the biggest long-term things that I learned from the Brand Studio.”