Get to Know Ashley
Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your 21-year old self?
At 21 I was just graduating from college at Columbia University. The advice I would give myself at that age is best explained by a quote from Maya Angelou: “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.“
Sometimes it’s easier to accept that where you’re from, how you grew up, and the obstacles you faced dictate the narrative of your life, but in reality, we have the power to change that narrative. As someone who has faced many obstacles throughout my life, I have found that having an unwavering belief in myself is what has allowed me to seize opportunities that have opened doors for my future success. I was able to build up my confidence by creating a track record of success one step at a time. Knowing what I know now, I would tell my younger self that the events that happen to us are just events – we decide what they mean. It’s important to own your story, find power in your struggle, and know that everyone shines given the right lighting. Find what lights you up and remember that your past doesn’t dictate your future – your decisions do.
What about your upbringing contributed to your success as an attorney?
Being a first-generation college graduate and the first person in my family to become a lawyer has definitely contributed to my success as an attorney. Because no one in my family knew what I was experiencing, I was forced to figure everything out on my own. This often felt overwhelming and isolating, so I made it my mission to seek out mentors along the way. Anyone who expressed even the slightest interest in my personal or professional growth became my mentor, whether they realized it or not.
As I learned how to succeed in college and then navigate graduate school, I made a conscious effort to give back and share my knowledge with those coming up after me. I now have a solid network of other college grads, young professionals, and mentors, and I always look for ways to give back. This desire to pay it forward is what inspired me to start my own company, Ivy Grad Services, which is a graduate school admissions consulting business dedicated to helping diverse college students reach their grad school goals. Since 2018, we have helped over 300 students reach their grad school goals and gain admission to top law schools, business schools, and masters programs.
I hope that my dedication to lifting as I climb can be used as motivation for other first-generation students, people of color, and women entering the legal industry, and can inspire others to do the same.
What is your favorite quote and what makes it so meaningful to you?
“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” This is meaningful to me because it reminds me to always be ambitious and go after everything I want out of life without holding back and doubting myself.
List one show you “binge-watched” recently and what was it about the show that captivated your attention?
Euphoria. What’s captivated my attention is Zendaya’s performance in every episode along with the writing, which doesn’t shy away from tackling important issues like mental health, substance abuse, and coming of age in today’s world.
Name one song you listened to “on repeat” in the past 12 months and provide some insights about why couldn’t you get enough of it?
Any song by Lauryn Hill – her music is timeless and I love it.