This week’s featured lady boss is just a completely awesome human. Introduced to us by Mara D’Amico (who is a super duper connector), Ashley Fox is an advocate for local politics and engagement. I have a feeling that if you haven’t already hooked into your local politics, you will want to after reading about Ashley.
Ashley stumping for Jamie Raskin
Q: Why are you interested in public service?
A: My granddad’s constant reminder to me: Never forget who you are, where you come from, and who sent you. He was talking about committing to being authentic and having a vision—a vision for something bigger, bolder, and better. For a black man born in the 1940s Mississippi Delta who never finished high school, believing that harnessing skills, passions, and introspection can be personally fulfilling and transformative for communities was really more than just a belief. It was a vision for hope and change.
I had a close relationship with my maternal granddad and have long been inspired by his conviction that political engagement, particularly at the local level, is the most immediate and effective tool we have to advocate for ourselves and influence our personal circumstances in the US. This conviction manifested itself in ways that positively changed the trajectory of three generations in my family.
It’s because of these changes that I see public service as an extraordinary tool to empower and advocate for myself, my community, and others—a tool that can change the trajectory of generations for the better. Politics isn’t always a feel-good ride, but it’s unavoidable and demands participation. It’s exciting to be a part of that, and it’s fulfilling to know that, through public service, I’m bringing my own vision for something bigger, bolder, and better to life.
Q: How did you get started in public service?
A: Volunteering on a campaign! It was infectious—meeting so many hardworking people who wanted to empower themselves by voting and advocate for their interests through a candidate.
Ashley & Get Out The Vote!
Q: What do you do now?
A: I was once asked if my job is like being Gary to Selina Meyer on VEEP…which would be hilarious. The answer is definitely no, but there are always surprises and a good number of laughs throughout my day! I’m the communications and community outreach director for a city council member in Washington, DC. This means that I spend my days talking to press, writing website and social media material, keeping tabs on what residents are concerned about, attending and hosting community events, and making sure my boss is prepared for events outside of the office.
Q: In tweet-format (140 characters), what advice have you gotten about being a woman in public service that most rings true for you?
A: There’s no substitute for being authentic. Master listening. Remember you’re not the whole. Learn from useful criticism and forget the rest.
Q: What advice would you give a woman coming up in public service?
A: Ask yourself why you care about the things you do and how you are best equipped to positively impact individuals and communities. Answer honestly. If you’re interested in politics or running for office like me, have a goal and find a mentor. Being a boss lady in male-dominated spaces can be hard. Know the ways you best refresh and recharge, and do them regularly.
Ashley at a Back To School event
Q: Are there books or articles that have influenced you that you’d like to share? If so, can you give a sentence about why you recommend it?
A: I most recently read Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance. It’s an interesting read that detailed an experience completely different from my own. There’s always plenty to learn from someone else’s story.
When I need a little motivation I flip through Go For It! A Celebration of Your Dreams, which is a clever little Hallmark book that I’m lucky to have annotated by my parents.
When I need to be reminded of who I am, where I come from, and who sent me, I read a selection from I Dream a World: Portraits of Black Women who Changed America.
Q: What Instagram account do you like to check when you need a distraction?
A: A few favorites (no judging!): @feministabulous, @secretflying, @Cuteemergencytv
As I said before, Ashley is a boss lady.