The commencement ceremony for the Fall 2019 graduating class of the College of Coastal Georgia will be held at the Jekyll Island Convention Center on Sunday, December 15 at 3 p.m. As a new group of Mariners transition from students to alumni, a distinguished global expert in diversity and inclusion will share words of wisdom and encouragement.
Lori George Billingsley will be the keynote speaker for the ceremony. Billingsley is currently the Global Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for The Coca-Cola Company. She has more than 30 years of public relations experience in developing and implementing breakthrough programs that meet organizational goals and target audience needs and produce results.
Billingsley has been with Coca-Cola for 17 years, spending the last 16 years in a variety of roles with increasing responsibility in the Public Affairs and Communications arena. She currently leads the company's Global Diversity and Inclusion Center of Excellence, which includes the Diversity, Inclusion, and Workplace Fairness teams for North America. All of the Center's teams are directed toward enabling a more engaged global workforce, mirroring the markets served, and supporting a more inclusive culture to best position the associates of the company to drive growth.
Prior to joining Coca-Cola, Billingsley had her own public relations consultancy, LG Communications; served as vice president at Porter/Novelli, a leading public relations firm; and was a senior public affairs specialist in the District of Columbia government.
"We are very excited to have Lori George Billingsley as this fall's commencement speaker. She brings with her so much experience and first-hand knowledge on the importance of bringing people together and embracing differences to benefit everyone—not only locally but globally as well," said College of Coastal Georgia President Dr. Michelle Johnston. "Our students will face a rapidly-changing, competitive world when they graduate. Billingsley can provide insight and motivation about how to navigate those areas for success."
Billingsley serves on the Board of Directors of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc., Women's Business Enterprise National Council, Leadership Atlanta, ColorComm, Arete-Executive Women of Influence, and Living Water for Girls. She is a member of the Howard University School of Communications Board of Visitors and is co-chair of American University's Women's Network.
Billingsley has also received numerous national awards, including the Alumni Award for Distinguished Postgraduate Achievement from Howard University; the ColorComm Circle Award; the Chairman's Circle Leadership Award from the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, Inc.; the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Order of the Phoenix Award; My Black Is Beautiful Rooted In Faith Award; and is a Georgia PRSA Hall of Fame Inductee.
Billingsley earned her Bachelor of Arts in public relations at Howard University and her Master of Arts in public communication at American University. She is also an ordained minister.
Commencement will be streamed live on the College's Facebook page (facebook.com/coastalgeorgia).