Ashley currently works in administration for Gilman School, after leaving a three-year post as Director of Scheduling for former Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake in Baltimore City. She works very closely with the Director of Administration and Finance while also spending time in the middle school observing teachers. Ashley has been emboldened by her upbringing to fight for stronger support structures and professional development relationships in and beyond the workplace. Discover the super work ethic and Millennial mentality this high achiever brings to her job every day.
Data shown above depict the featured individual’s age, preferred form of acknowledgement, top three values of organizational culture, principal values sought in their profession, and what they feel is the greatest misconception of the Millennial generation, as reported in SparkVision’s High Achieving Millennial survey.
How do you relate to the term “Millennial”?
Aside from reaching young adulthood in the early 21st century my tenacity and my desire to achieve greatness in both my personal and professional life. I am a changemaker and that is often how people label millennials.
What are your best practices around supervising Millennials?
When supervising millennials it is important to recognize what everyone’s interests are as well as what strengths they have to best delegate tasks. Defining the end goal and allowing the members of your team to design their own path of reaching the end goal has worked best for me. have a very rigid way of how I complete tasks, but I understand that my way may not be the best way for someone else.
Tell me more about what drives you to succeed.
When I look at all the opportunities that I have been afforded, I understand that it was the direct result of amazing mentors and advocates that not only recognized my potential but nurtured it as well.
How has your upbringing affected your motivations?
Watching my mom raise four children alone and witnessing her strength motivates me. My mom invested her dreams and her desires in each of us. She sacrificed everything for us and it was only right that I give my all in everything I did. So when it was time to apply for college I made sure to seek out scholarships and grants so that my mother would not have to take on that burden.
How has your ethnic identity impacted your professional life?
As an African American woman, there are assumptions about who I am and what I am capable of even before I speak. I knew that if I wanted to change the world whether it be in education or in government that I would encounter people who would only see my gender or the color of my skin. So as a way to prepare myself for that reality, I attended a predominantly Caucasian institution as my way to prepare for the world ahead. It was in those four years that I toughened up and learned that my actions would speak for me.
Working at the mayor’s office, herself a black woman, was an experience not many young women are fortunate to have. I watched her body language and studied her interactions with both men and women. It was from her that I learned to command a room even in silence. Working with so many women and women of color in executive level positions allowed me to see the possibilities of what my future could look like.
How do you feel about the way your organization promotes diversity and inclusion?
My organization continues to explore ways to promote diversity and inclusion not only with the students and faculty that make up our school but also with the larger community beyond our campus.
What’s the top reason you’ve left a job in the past?
No room for personal growth.
What do you consider a healthy work/life balance? What are the barriers to achieving it?
Work/life balance is something that I dream of. If you ask my friends or family they will tell you that all I do is work. For the last three years it was all I knew. I’ve learned that life is very cold and lonely when you do not make time for things other than work. The barriers to achieving it that is not frequently discussed is how we define success and what it means. I pour so much of myself into my work and being successful that I sometimes don’t have energy for my friends and family.
What is one change you would like to see happen in today’s workplace?
Employers must be invested in the things that excite their employees. It is through that investment that you are able to provide professional development and personal development that will fit the needs of every person on your team. Knowing that your boss cares about the things that get you out of bed makes it that much easier to show up at work ready to produce.
Millennials are commonly stereotyped as job hoppers because they lack focus and discipline. We find though that High Achieving Millennials leave jobs largely because they don’t find the learning and growth opportunities they desire. Ashley cites “lack of personal growth” as the reason she left a job in the past, which is the 2nd most common response in our research, nearly on par with a lack of opportunity for professional growth (i.e. job opportunities). How does your organization help your employees live up to their full potential?