Featured Member: Ashley Mann


Tell us your work story : Who are you and what do you do?

I’m a publicist and marketing pro that specializes in telling brand stories in a way that’s authentic and genuine. No sales lingo here! Most importantly, I’m a wife and a mom to two great little kids, Remi (2) and Canon (1).


What is your proudest professional accomplishment?

There are so many client highlights – from getting placements in the New York Times to securing Today Show spots, but my proudest accomplishment overall is how I’ve managed to create a career for myself that allows me to pursue my professional aspirations while reserving space for my number one priority – my family.


What is the hardest challenge you’ve faced, work-wise? 


I was the director of marketing at a fast-growing biotechnology company and traveling every week for work. I had just had my daughter six weeks before and was still recovering from an emergency c-section – already back from maternity leave, in full career mode. I have this vivid memory of sitting in one of those tiny pods at the airport, trying to figure out how to operate my breast pump, dead tired and attempting to catch the last flight home so I could make it back in time to nurse my daughter before bed. In that moment, I asked myself “WHY are you doing this?” and I couldn’t come up with a clear answer. That moment was really the catalyst for me to put a plan in place to step out on my own. It didn’t happen overnight – in fact, it took a few more years and another baby for me to feel confident enough to take the reins. But, from that moment forward, I started laying the bricks and gathering the experiences needed to take the leap. Sometimes our hardest experiences are also those that positively impact our future the most.



What advice do you have for other women looking to make a career change but are afraid or lack confidence? How is it on the other side?

As women, I think lack of confidence is our biggest cumulative issue! Getting over the imposter syndrome and believing in yourself and your abilities is the hardest part. But, as someone once said, if you won’t bet on yourself, who will? Dive deep on the parts that make you the most anxious – either by learning things yourself, or outsourcing them so you can eliminate the blind spots. Hiring a good accountant is a great first step, no matter your industry.


Do you have any advice on how to craft a winning pitch?

Own your personal brand! What makes you unique and different than everyone else pitching the same opportunity? Lean into your experience and relate it to the client’s needs. Also – be engaging and friendly. No one wants to read a blanket pitch –  I never use the same one twice.


What is the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever received?

Start the laundry first. It sounds boring and not career-related at all, but my very first boss gave me this advice and I still think about it when I plan out my day. Basically, it means do all the tasks that require a response from someone else, first. In my industry, that means getting my media pitches out first thing in the morning, because I can be writing a CEO profile or penning social content while I wait for responses to roll in. Optimize your time as much as possible.


How do negotiate the balance between life and work when you are the one setting the boundaries?

You need to set boundaries early and often. My family is my number one priority, full stop. I book my client work around my family needs, which includes a lot of calendar blocking, up-front planning to make sure I’m getting all of my hours in for each client, and support (childcare). Set yourself up for success early by being completely transparent and up-front about your time and how much you have to give to each project. Also, you have to have focused, uninterrupted time to dedicate to your work. It can’t be a half and half thing (at least for me).


How do you make work work for you?

By having clearly defined values, setting expectations up-front and not over-committing. I’ve learned that planning things out ahead of time and keeping my workload manageable is the greatest gift I can give myself!


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