Today we’d like to introduce you to Ashley Jeffress.
Ashley, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My journey started with a love of networking. Building relationships with people, bonding over shared experiences and developing empathy through hearing new perspectives are all true passions of mine. I know this may sound like some people’s actual nightmare, but what can I say, I’m a people person.
I realized my love of creating remarkable experiences for people back in high school, and that only grew throughout my college experience. Whether it was touring prospective students and their families or sitting on a careers panel to help students identify job opportunities after they graduate, I’ve enjoyed sharing my perspective, learning about those I am interacting with, and leaving an impact on them wherever that may be.
The hardest part about this passion of mine was figuring out how I could translate it into a career. After graduating from St. Lawrence University, I landed in Boston with a new apartment and a job as an Assistant Buyer at Wayfair. During my 3.5 years with the company, I learned so much about e-commerce market trends and how to analyze and present data, all while fueling my passion for building relationships and helping my key accounts grow their businesses.
I feel fortunate to have found a place where I learned so much and met so many remarkable people who I am still friends with today. While this part of my journey may sound like the complete picture, it was what I was doing outside of work that got me to where I am today. I was introduced to a company called LEVO through a friend and started attending local events around Boston in 2014.
LEVO is a networking platform that allows its members to build connections and find their passion through content, events and virtual mentorship. Their local Boston chapter held an event about finding your passion and the panel featured successful women from a range of fields. One of the panelists happened to be Katie Burke, HubSpot’s Chief People Officer. I remember fangirling over her every word and trying to figure out how I could get the opportunity to work with her.
Her love for HubSpot was only slightly overshadowed by her love for Beyonce, which is now something we bond over any chance we get. I made the decision to approach Katie after the panel was over to discuss a question I was too nervous to ask out loud.
I introduced myself and said, “What is your favorite Beyonce song?” Not only did she seem relieved that someone else loved Beyonce as much as she did but, but I think she appreciated the fact that I led with a question that had nothing to do with my professional development. Needless to say, we hit it off and kept in touch periodically over the next few years.
During that time, I became the new local chapter leader for LEVO Boston and was hosting events after work and creating opportunities for others to connect, just like Katie and I had. Fast forward to 2017 and HubSpot was looking to hire a Program Manager to run global programming for their women’s leadership initiative, Women@HubSpot. Was it fate? Possibly. Was it the right place, right time? Maybe.
Whatever the case, my journey has taught me to never discredit the connections you make with people, no matter how big or small, because your next big opportunity could be right around the corner.
Has it been a smooth road?
My journey has had its bumps and detours, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Each setback and failure has only helped me grow and prepare for the next big step in my life and my career. I constantly try to remind myself that everything happens for a reason, and even though it may be tough to work through the difficult times, it will only make you stronger in the long run.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with HubSpot – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
HubSpot’s main purpose is to help businesses grow better. I could get into the technical terms of INBOUND marketing, SaaS, our CRM etc, but I won’t. At the heart of what we do every day is the belief that business should be more empathetic, human and personable. We seek to create a remarkable experience for our customers so that they can achieve their goals, delight their customers, and we can all grow better together.
I have the privilege of being a part of our People Operations Team which is comprised of Recruiting, Learning & Development, Core HR, and Culture. I like to think of us as the eyes of the organization. We solve for the employee experience and look to make HubSpot a remarkable place to work for all of our candidates and employees globally. I sit on our Culture Team and run global programming for one of HubSpot’s four employee resource groups, Women@HubSpot.
Our mission is to build a program that empowers women by identifying opportunities, providing resources and encouraging support for one another at every stage of career growth. We aim to be a catalyst for the advancement of women in the workplace and lead by example. Our programming spans from celebrations of International Women’s Day to Master Classes taught by female leaders on topics to help grow and develop professionally.
What I feel is unique about our programming is that is inclusive to all of our employees. I feel it’s necessary to have the diverse perspectives of both men and women as we work towards equality and equity in the workplace. I’ve never worked for a company like HubSpot that gives me the autonomy to run with my ideas, fail, learn from that failure, celebrate my wins, and challenges me to take risks. We are a company that cares about our people because our people are what make our business grow better.
I am encouraged to take a vacation, prioritize my family, friends, and health, and truly bring my whole self to work. I know, it sounds too good to be true, but the truth is, going to work every day has never been more exciting.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
First off, our city is beautiful — what’s not to love? From the public gardens to the Boston harbor and Fenway Park, I believe we have one of the most picturesque cities in the US. I love that you could be walking down through the Navy Yard one minute and watching the Celtics or Bruins at TD Garden the next. I also love our food and think a lot of people underestimate the Boston restaurant scene. (And to be honest, I’m ok with that).
If too many people caught wind of Infused Kreyol in Malden, Lincoln’s brunch test kitchen, or Pier 6 and ReelHouse’s incredible views of the city, I’d never been able to get in! If I had to choose one thing about our city that is less than favorable, it would have to be the traffic. It seems to be a constant so planning ahead has always been crucial when trying to get somewhere on time.
I have felt so lucky to consider Boston my home for the last 6 years and I knew early on that I wanted to grow deep roots here. This is a place that I have grown so much personally and professionally, where I met the love of my life, bought our first home and have been surrounded by the best friends and family. I feel so deeply connected to this place and all of the wonderful experiences I’ve had here and I wouldn’t change a thing.
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Liz Mollica http://lizmollica.com/