Getting to know...Jo Ann Brasington
Jo Ann Brasington is a Wofford graduate (’89) who is the associate editor for Wofford Today and advises both the Old Gold & Black and the Bohemian. She attended Woodruff High School and decided to stick around when selecting a college.
“I attended Wofford as an Abney Scholar, playing tennis here back in the days when Deno Trakas coached the women’s team,” she says. “I took all of the creative writing classes the college offered at the time (two), and worked as a student in the athletics office for Danny Morrison. I had no idea at the time how those dots would connect. Now I look back and realize that they made a lasting impact on my work ethic, creativity, confidence and determination.”
After she graduated from Wofford, Doyle Boggs and Larry McGehee hired her on as staff assistant in communications.
“Doyle taught me not to fear the red pen,” she says. “He was incredibly forgiving of mistakes. I remember a few months after joining the staff, Doyle was called away with the National Guard to help maintain order on the coast after Hurricane Hugo. We just finished my first Wofford Today, and the proof came back ready for final approval. I was nervous, but I looked it over and signed off on it. About a week later I dreamed that two of the books written by alumni that were featured on the back cover were switched.
“The dream turned into a nightmare when the advance issues showed up at the communications office. The cover of Judge Bruce Littlejohn’s book was flip flopped with another book. I was ready to fire myself, and I fully expected Doyle to fire me as soon as he made it back to the Upstate. Instead, he showed me a mistake he had made years before and told me it would be all right.”
After five years working full-time in the communications office, Brasington decided to start a family. Ever since, she says she has viewed all of her decisions “through mommy eyes.” She started her own writing, graphic design and public relations consulting business to give her the flexibility required to raise three children.
She also is very busy advising the Old Gold & Black and the Bohemian.
“I consider myself part Pollyanna and part Simon Cowell (of American Idol fame),” she says. “I try to encourage the students on staff to make good decisions, but I don’t believe in censoring the student press. I give them a lot of leeway and support to write the stories they want to write.
“Still, I want them to want the OG&B and Bohemian to be the best paper and yearbook in the country and when I feel like they lack energy or creativity or they haven’t done their best work on a story, I’m harsh…Simon Cowell harsh. Working with the students is the best part of the job. I’m going to be the mom of a college student in three years. Watching them and listening to them is like a having a crystal ball that shows me glimpses of the future.”
As for Wofford Today, she says she considers it her quarterly brainteaser.
“Each issue is like putting together a different puzzle where all the words, pictures, colors, white space and graphic elements have to fit the Wofford message,” says Brasington. “I love Wofford Today and the adrenaline it takes to put it together and meet deadline. I also love the sense of lightness I feel when it’s at the printer. My favorite part of the job, however, is meeting and interviewing Wofford people. Everyone has a story to tell, and I’m always honored when I’m chosen to hear that story and share it with other Wofford people.”
Outside of work, she enjoys playing tennis with husband Bill, who also graduated from Wofford in 1989. She has also started a book club in Woodruff. But there are two more passions that are on hold for now.
“One day I’ll travel again, and one day I’ll have more time to write fiction,” she says. “For now I’m content to enjoy my family, church and work.”