Featured Colleague: Traci Ash-Thornton Brings Magic to Marketing

By Dani Moritz-Long

Growing up with rural roots in small-town America, Assistant Vice President of Marketing Traci Ash-Thornton was charmed by the larger-than-life nature of the New York City ad agency lifestyle, as depicted in one of her favorite TV shows, “Bewitched.” Equipped with a can-do attitude and a vigor for learning — courtesy, she says, of her small-town upbringing — Traci was inspired to make her own magic as a marketer.

She earned her marketing associate degree from Wiregrass Technical College (formerly Valdosta Technical College), a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Valdosta State University and a Master of Business Administration from Nova Southeastern University with an emphasis in marketing and entrepreneurship.

Along the way, she garnered 25 years of work experience with companies like the Sprint Corporation, where she worked for more than 20 years, and Massey Services, the nation’s fifth largest pest control organization.

Then, a few years ago, Traci found herself bewitched by the idea of working for Valencia.

“As an educator and a life-long learner, it was such a perfect opportunity to combine my passion for marketing and education to make a difference in our community,” Traci said of her decision to apply at the College. “Valencia signifies a promise of a better future for everyone — a reachable, attainable change for students, families, our community and beyond.”

When she joined the Marketing team two years ago, she brought with her a rich history of expertise in strategy development, consumer behavior, marketing and advertising. More importantly, she called upon the leadership skills that have been integral to her role.

“Traci is an excellent marketer,” said Jay Galbraith, vice president, public affairs and marketing. “Given her business background, she understands how to drive results with talented people. But more important, as a graduate of a community college in South Georgia, she deeply understands our mission and has brought a wonderful culture of service to Marketing and Creative Services.”

Commenting on her own leadership style, Traci said, “I think good leaders are good listeners, supportive, collaborative and perfectly imperfect. I want to always be an inspiring leader who creates a space for others to reach their highest potential and be inspiring as well.”

In her free time, you can find Traci enjoying time with her two daughters, volunteering in the community, crafting and adding stamps to her passport. In fact, this summer she’ll be traveling to Italy to marry her travel companion and fiancé, David Bjella. But this time she’ll return with more than a new stamp and Italian souvenirs; she’ll be returning with a new name.

“You’ll recognize me this summer as Traci Ash-Bjella — the one with the huge smile and a full passport,” said the bride-to-be.

Know of someone who embodies one of Valencia’s Values (learning, people, diversity, access or integrity), who has been an employee for one year or more? Send the colleague’s name to us at The_Grove@valenciacollege.edu. He or she might be one of our featured colleagues, subject to supervisor’s approval.


  • Mike Bosley said:

    Glad you are here Traci! Congrats on your new adventure!

    PMTue, 23 May 2017 17:25:08 +0000Tue, 23 May 2017 17:25:08 +0000pm17,5:25 pm

  • Paul Rooney said:

    Traci…you are so talented and always eager to assist …thanks for all you do to make Valencia shine!

    PMTue, 23 May 2017 18:23:39 +0000Tue, 23 May 2017 18:23:39 +0000pm17,6:23 pm

  • Nichole Segarra said:

    I'm so glad that I've had the opportunity to learn with you in Pivot and Prototype! We are lucky to have you at the college 🙂

    AMWed, 24 May 2017 09:33:28 +0000Wed, 24 May 2017 09:33:28 +0000am17,9:33 am

  • Bob Gessner said:

    Traci, All the best on your travels; it was my pleasure to get to know you better in our Prototype cohort.

    AMWed, 24 May 2017 10:06:38 +0000Wed, 24 May 2017 10:06:38 +0000am17,10:06 am

  • Heather Fontaine W said:

    I'm so grateful to work with you, Traci! I personally have benefited from your leadership and support, and am SO happy to have you leading our team 🙂

    AMWed, 24 May 2017 11:37:22 +0000Wed, 24 May 2017 11:37:22 +0000am17,11:37 am

  • Noelia said:

    It was a true joy to collaborate with Traci at this year's Prototype. Glad she is part of our Valencia family!

    PMWed, 24 May 2017 16:00:38 +0000Wed, 24 May 2017 16:00:38 +0000pm17,4:00 pm

  • Dori Haggerty said:

    It's such an honor and pleasure to work with you Traci! Congratulations!!!

    PMWed, 24 May 2017 16:46:52 +0000Wed, 24 May 2017 16:46:52 +0000pm17,4:46 pm

  • Jeff Nardo said:

    Traci is such a great colleague and collaborator! She is a joy to work with, am very happy to have been able to work with her, and look forward to continuing to do so in the future!

    PMThu, 25 May 2017 12:42:20 +0000Thu, 25 May 2017 12:42:20 +0000pm17,12:42 pm

  • Carol Traynor said:

    Traci brings a great deal of skill and flair to Valencia’s marketing efforts. On top of that, she’s an awful lot of fun to work with.

    PMTue, 11 Jul 2017 19:34:34 +0000Tue, 11 Jul 2017 19:34:34 +0000pm17,7:34 pm

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Posts

    Valencia Hospitality Students Celebrate Mardi Gras and...

    Wednesday, March 16, 2022 A Message from Terri Graham, Interim President, West and Downtown Campuses Valencia Hospitality Society Mardi Gras  On Tuesday, March 1, 2022 — in celebration of the first day of Mardi Gras — the Valencia Hospitality Society (VHS) offered free waffle bento boxes on our Downtown Campus. Special thanks to the club […]

    Featured Colleague: Makendy Jacob Plays a Starring Role...

    Tuesday, February 15, 2022 By Jennifer Keefe As we all know, Valencia College prides itself in finding top-notch talent to help the sometimes impossible become possible for our students. But for Makendy Jacob, student services advisor for the Downtown Campus, life is all about using his skills to create that kind of magic, both on and […]