Ashley Callahan: 40 Under 40 2014

Global manager of digital communications and social media, the Coca-Cola Company
Age: 32

In a still blossoming career spent at the forefront of social media innovation, Ashley Callahan took her talents to Chick-fil-A this July after two-plus years at Coca-Cola.

There, she played a part in revolutionizing the soft-drink giant’s global PR strategy by helping transform its website into a dazzling digital media platform. Not only did she develop the strategy behind Coca-Cola Journey, she also spearheaded the platform as managing editor, both writing and creating the content that has made the 127-year-old heritage brand a global leader in the digital space.

"Ashley first transformed her team of digital communications and social media experts into members of a nimble digital newsroom," say colleagues at consumer engagement firm 206. "With her team at her side, she was able to shift the company’s focus from standard press releases posted to its archetypal corporate website to branded content that tells stories via this new, dynamic online magazine."

By monitoring the site’s performance and reaching out to consumers Callahan went on to fine-tune the approach, helping reach both Coca-Cola and non-Coke audiences with original and meaningful stories.

The numbers underscore the success she enjoyed. In 2013, Journey had 13.1 million visits, 33 million page views, more than 1,200 articles from 350-plus authors, and 6,800 videos posted.

As part of her work on Journey, Callahan has also helped ensure its successful adoption across the globe, including coordinating a training conference for 19 international Coca-Cola teams. Another career highlight was launching and implementing Coke’s global social media program for the 2012 London Olympics.

Before joining the soft-drinks giant, Callahan was the spokesperson and manager of strategic communications at St. Joseph’s Health System, also based in Atlanta. She established that organization’s first social media presence.

Her nose for a good story could be attributed to the fact she is also an award-winning journalist, having reported and anchored at top-rated TV stations in different parts of the country.

 

• Callahan is a member of the Alumni Advisory Board for the University of Georgia’s Grady College and is a guest lecturer at the university

• She regularly contributes feature articles to local magazine The Kitchen Drawer

• Callahan recently participated in Spalding County’s Annual Stream Cleanup, organized by the Griffin Rotary and High School Interact clubs

• She is a member of the Griffin Utility Club, a community service nonprofit that supports an area that is home to nearly 24,000 residents

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