We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashley Owens and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ashley, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I had nothing to lose. 18 jobs after graduation afforded me the experience and the motivation to make a change. I never got fired from those positions, and I had something to prove. Mergers, acquisitions, last one in first one out, made me incredibly biter. I was working through sickness, going above and beyond, and I was tired of having someone else depict my future. Networking was what kept my career afloat and I thought the only person I had not relied on yet, was myself.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
BEGINNING Some people have a defining characteristic that others use to describe them. As a kid growing up in the suburbs of North Jersey, I could be defined by one word: timid. All throughout school I was picked on constantly for my stutter and shy, compliant nature. But by the time I got to high school, I decided enough was enough. I forced myself to take public speaking and auditioned for the school play, just to get out of my comfort zone. I ended up getting the lead and from then on, I began to find my voice. STRUGGLE After college, I held many jobs mostly in the entertainment industry, eventually making my way out to New York City and nabbing the enviable position as an assistant to a well-known actress. This was the type of experience where only on the other side did I see how much it taught me about boundaries and limitations and my value. I was treated inexcusably, yet said yes to any request because I did not know my worth. I found myself exhausted in every way and completing many different tasks at a sub-par level just to get them done. A meltdown from my boss resulted in the letting go of every member of her staff, so I headed back to New Jersey feeling like I had failed in an industry that I had a passion for. I had absolutely no direction, sense of worth, or voice. TIPPING POINT I took a job as a waitress in a restaurant in New Jersey, and my life changed. Two businessmen I served saw something in the way I sold them a burger, something in me. They asked for my resume and within weeks I was offered a sales position at their company. I provided guidance and structure and through that initial experience and subsequent job, I found my voice. I slowly realized how my genuine, enthusiastic personality and the way I naturally communicate with people were invaluable tools I possessed that could be harnessed to help others find their voice. NEW BEGINNING After moving to Philadelphia, I had obtained several wonderful positions that went from customer service to account management to business development, which unfortunately had unavoidable mergers, acquisitions, budget cuts, layoffs, etc. I found that my role was constantly changing, not due to performance but the inevitable nature of business. I realized that having my future depicted by others was no longer an option. With the support from my network and the strategic partners I trusted, I set out to be the leader in my story rather than the follower. I start my own business as a personal networking concierge. While interacting with clients, I have the ability to adapt and manage different personalities, environments, and ever-changing situations at the drop of a hat. It’s my job to be your advocate in business and remind you why you started. I am fascinated by people’s stories, their journeys, and what gives them their voices.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I am a foodie and love live entertainment. The first place I would take them is the Reading Terminal Marketing in Philadelphia. Walking around to either grab a breakfast sandwich at Hershel’s or a donut and coffee at Bylars! Next we would walk off the food coma around City Hall on the way to Rittenhouse square to sit and people watch, maybe stop a few stores to window shop. Then comes lunch! Heading over to Parc for a midday cocktail and incredible spread of breads, sandwiches, and phenomenal dishes. Next if money wasn’t an option and I was with my best girlfriend, I would take her to the Palm for a massage and facial. We would then get dressed up to hit dinner at Del Friscos and then after-dinner drinks at Ashton Cigar bar. Food, music, good company, and an all-around packed day!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The men who saw value in me and my abilities before I ever did. Alan Finkelstein and Brian Greenspan were seated at my table when I was a waitress and without them giving me an opportunity, I would be a very different person today. I owe them everything.
Twitter: Ashley Assists