We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashley Gowens and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Ashley, why did you pursue a creative career?
Writing is a talent that I don’t take for granted. It allows you to paint a picture in a person’s mind that may inspire them to become more engaged, answer a call to action, or even convince the most empathic voters to support an issue or a cause.

At a young age, I learned the importance of communication and words; how delivery can persuade someone’s opinion or evoke emotions that a person never knew existed. Schools now describe me as a “transient” student, so I was often the new kid in school. I developed interpersonal communication skills early to quickly adjust to the new schools and meet people. Little did I know, those skills would also prepare me for my future role as a communications specialist.

As an adult, I successfully cultivated the art of storytelling and used my voice to make an equal impact behind the scenes of the areas leading nonprofit organizations, bodies of government, and educational beacons for over a decade.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I have helped private, public, and nonprofit entities achieve immediate and long-term organizational success by communicating strategic initiatives and implementing public policy for more than fourteen years.

Although my career journey has been relatively linear, it has also required me to pivot at times. I began my communications career in 2007 at a strategic communications firm in Northeast Ohio, then served in the Mayor’s cabinet before joining the administration at a library system – both outside of Cleveland.

I helped make history in Cuyahoga County through efforts to change the structure of the governing body, launched new services to enhance residents’ quality of life in the City, and established new programming to support lifelong learners, like ACT/SAT prep for students. I pride myself on finding solutions for today’s public service challenges.

As a senior-level communications specialist, I execute integrated marketing communication strategies for nonprofit organizations by effectively engaging with others and employing interpersonal communication strategies. My work includes nonprofit strategic planning and management, political campaign execution, crisis-communication message training, and regional asset-based community development.

More importantly, I am passionate about building thriving communities and creating opportunities for future leaders. Northeast Ohio is a beautiful community with a rich tradition of activism and public service. If I can plant a seed or support a future leader at reaching their highest potential, I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Almost two years ago, I had the opportunity to host my best friend from elementary school and her family in Cleveland for an extended stay. It was a lot of fun being a tourist with them during their trip. We visited some of the best destinations in Cleveland, including the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, A Christmas Story House, and Lakeview Cemetary, where you can find President James A. Garfield, John D. Rockefeller, and American inventor, businessman Garrett Morgan.

We visited University Circle, Coventry Road in Cleveland Heights, enjoyed Tommy’s burgers and shakes, and visited Progressive Field, the Q, and First Energy Stadium, home of the Cleveland Browns. If time had allowed, I would have toured them around The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland Botanical Garden, the Flats, and Warehouse District and treated them to a tailgate at the Municipal Lot the weekend of the Browns home opener.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Many influential people played a role in my success – my parents, family, friends, teachers, mentors, professional colleagues, and those I served in my various capacities. I had the opportunity to meet some amazing folk who provided me with the guidance I needed at every crossroad. And I am forever indebted for their love and encouragement.

I have so many takeaways thus far, but my most powerful lesson was learned in the pages of The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. I learned to do my best, whatever that may look like in that particular season, and it’s a key to success I quickly share with young professionals and students.

Moreover, it is so important to keep God at the center of everything you do. My faith has always been at the center of my success, and I believe each day we wake, we are given another opportunity to fulfill our purpose.

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ashleygowens

Image Credits
Picture 1: The News-Herald Jean Bonchak Picture 3: Cleveland.com Cuyahoga County prosecutor Bill Mason, right, and Ashley Gowens, political consultant, left, read election results on Issue Six Tuesday, November 3, 2009. (Gus Chan/The Plain Dealer)

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutAtlanta is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.