We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashley Munson and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Ashley, what do you attribute your success to?
Giving back. My life has been spent advocating for issues and demographics that are sometimes looked over – education for black and brown students, environmental justice efforts for people of color and now food insecurity. My success is derived from always being a voice for those who don’t know how to use it. Success for me means that policies are changing and benefiting historically disadvantaged groups.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Well, I have always been an underdog. Looked over. Not traditional. Not always politically correct. In fact, some of the most prominent jobs on my resume I got as a result of being told no first. My journey has been God driven and predicated on how do I want my legacy to be known. I’ve worked as a campaign manager for the Indiana House Democratic Caucus, for the speaker of the house in the Illinois House of Representatives, I’ve been a lobbyist for environmental justice, education and now, food security. I’ve had some great opportunities in my very short 30 year time span. I’m most proud of being a youth minister, leading one of the biggest marches in Chicago, mentoring young women through my alma maters – Purdue University and Northwestern University. I’ve had the privilege of working with displaced individuals who need homes. I’ve raise money to house those same individuals. I learned that pursing biblical justice is what my life is all about. Taking care of orphans, feeding the hungry, housing the homeless and working to change policies that aid these goals – That’s my life’s mission. I use my “out of the boxness” to show the least likely and the other folks looked over that you can be you unapologetically and still have a great purpose on this earth.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
This is a good question. I am a sucker for art galleries, comedy shows and hookah lounges. I also tend to diversify my experiences. I love a nice fancy restaurant but would go to a pub in my local neighborhood in a heartbeat. You can find me at neighborhood coffee shops and at big dog parks with my pup.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I will dedicate this to everyone who has decided to spend their live advocating for justice. Specifically the March for Us Team under my non-profit organization, Illinois Black Collective. We are still growing and planning but in the past two years, we were able to change laws and work to together to bring together chicago communities. And of course, all my success, achievements and future aspirations go to God. He is the source of my strength.

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