Ole Miss

Published on December 1st, 2020 | by TLV News


Ryan Whittington Named to Business Journal’s Top 50 Under 40

University of Mississippi marketing and brand strategy director honored among the state’s top young leaders

Ryan Whittington, the University of Mississippi‘s marketing and brand strategy director, has been named to the Mississippi Business Journal‘s Top 50 Under 40 for 2020, which recognizes outstanding young business leaders across the state.

The annual awards for outstanding young professionals in the state were announced recently, featuring a diverse list of talented professionals from both the public and private sectors.

Whittington joined Ole Miss in 2011, and holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in journalism from the university. He said he is honored to be named among those on the list and that he views the recognition as a reflection of the strong team of support that surrounds him.

“Perhaps most important to me in receiving this honor is the reminder that I’ve got a group of loved ones, mentors and colleagues in University Marketing and Communications that push me every day to excel in everything I do,” Whittington said. “It’s a true testament to the amount of time, energy and commitment that they took or continue to take to help me accomplish my personal and professional goals.”

Whittington is responsible for masterminding branding efforts to support the university’s initiatives. He is charged with boosting engagement with all UM audiences and spearhead the development of marketing campaigns and promotional materials.

Whittington most recently served as project manager for the first-ever brand refresh for the university, completed this summer.

Ryan Whittington

The Top 50 Under 40 awards program was slated for April 30, but because of COVID-19 restrictions, the MBJ canceled the awards program for the safety of the honorees, community and staff. Instead, MBJ released a video presentation and special publication to highlight 2020 honorees.

Tami Jones, MBJ publisher, congratulated this year’s honorees. 

“These deserving men and women have already proven themselves as high-achievers and trendsetters,” Jones said. “We have no doubt that many of these individuals will go on to even greater success in the years to come.”

Whittington said he’s grateful for the support of strong mentors and supporters that has helped him grow. 

“If not for people like Dr. Alice Clark, Dr. Robin Buchannon and Beth Fitts, as well as countless other folks that I call mentors, I wouldn’t be the person that I am today,” Whittington said. “That group of people, in addition to my incredible wife, Beth Whittington, and my parents, deserve a lot of credit and I truly appreciate them for allowing me the opportunity to grow and learn.”

Jim Zook, UM chief marketing and communications officer, said Oxford and Ole Miss just mean more to Whittington, and his department and the university are fortunate to have someone who cares about the institution so much. 

“Our university is so fortunate to have Ryan Whittington leading our marketing and brand strategy work,” Zook said. “As an Oxford native and Ole Miss graduate, Ryan feels this place in his bones, and he is a passionate, talented and tireless marketer and leader on our campus who builds strong relationships with humor and a collaborative style.

“I’m thrilled for Ryan and the university that he is being recognized across the state with this well-deserved honor.”

By Michael Newsom

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About the Author

The Local Voice is a bimonthly entertainment guide and newspaper based in Oxford, Mississippi, covering and distributed in North Central Mississippi, including Oxford, Ole Miss, Taylor, Abbeville, Water Valley, Lafayette County, Yalobusha County, and parts of Panola County, Marshall County, and Tupelo . The Local Voice is distributed free to over 255 locations in North Mississippi and also available as a full color PDF download worldwide on the internet.

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