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The fact you’re here means that you’re probably in the exact same place I was just a few years ago:
confused, exhausted, and uncertain of what you’re truly meant to be doing in your career . . .

And if you’re anything like I was six years ago, you’re unsure about HOW you’re supposed to get there.

Today, I’m a career coach, empowering 20somethings and 30somethings around the world to discover their authentic careers, land more job offers and launch their dream businesses – but back then I was winning awards for my work as a national security expert for the Pentagon.

Yes, THE Pentagon.

Needless to say, the leap from national security professional to career coach is not a natural transition… So you’re probably wondering how I got from there to here.

I’ll rewind for a moment.

Ashley at a cafeIn 2008, when I was living in France, I saw a man hit his wife across the face in broad daylight. No one around us flinched. I was in tears.

Watching this abuse got me thinking about the role government plays in protecting people, both on a human level and on a national level; this moment solidified my interest in pursuing a career in counterterrorism.

I set out to learn as much as I could: I read everything, mastered Arabic and French, and traveled to some of the darkest and most remote corners of the world, convinced that I would be the next Maya from Zero Dark Thirty. Before the ink dried on my undergraduate diploma, I was already preparing to start an international relations Master’s program in the Department of War Studies at King’s College London.

It certainly seemed like a good idea at college graduation: My friends struggled to formulate answers when their parents and professors asked, “What are you going to do in the real world?,” but I got to smile serenely and tell people I had a “plan.”

That confidence began to deteriorate when I got to grad school.

Sure, I was interested in the subject matter, but everyone around me seemed so passionate, so…certain. It was an alarming contrast: interest versus passion.

But I kept pushing forward,
ignoring those first warning signs that something wasn’t quite right.

After graduation, I returned home to LA and started searching for employment. It didn’t take long to figure out that I was a terrible job-hunter, so I took the first reasonable offer I received: A dead-end admin position.

Every day was spent ordering cupcakes for office parties and processing travel expenses for executives’ exciting business trips to locations I never thought I’d get to see.

My counterterrorism ambitions haunted me constantly, and I daydreamed about moving to D.C. to use my degree in a meaningful way…but I was stuck. As much as I wanted to serve my country, I had a steady job in LA at a time when everyone was panicking over the economy… Plus, I was scared. Who was I to think there was something better out there for little old me?

So I did what so many of my clients did before they started working with me:

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I let that cubicle drag me to the depths of despair
because I didn’t know how or if I could actually find something better.

Only when my misery finally outweighed my fear of the unknown did I get the courage to make a change.

I arrived in Washington, D.C. with zero job prospects and zero professional contacts. Using the same “I WILL make this work” attitude that propelled me through grad school, I threw myself into the job search.

I met inspiring DC women on my journey—all of whom were incredibly successful—and they’d confide in me that their “coach” helped them create their big careers.

“A coach? Like a sports coach?” I’d ask. They smiled, and helped me in my job hunt.

Ashley responding on her phoneI met with 200 people in six weeks, logged about a thousand miles on the metro, drank enough get-to-know-you coffee and job-fair Chardonnay to fill a swimming pool… And don’t even get me started on all the job applications I completed, only to have them die in cyberspace.

Trust me, in those early months in D.C., I got dealt enough rejection to last several lifetimes.

But it worked! I landed three job offers in six weeks —each one better than the last.

I’ll never forget landing my coveted job for the Pentagon at age 23, negotiating a 300% raise, feeling like I was on top of the world with my new six-figure salary and sparkling DC life.

I literally went from executive assistant to an executive– all in ONE six week job hunt. Think about that… SIX weeks and my life was THAT different.

Unfortunately, the feeling was short-lived.

I spoke at TEDxBerkeley years later about the process of admitting to myself that I didn’t have what it took to hold a gun and be the spy I thought I was destined to be.

I talked about it as a breakthrough, but at the time of the realization, it felt like more like a nervous breakdown

Realizing I was in the wrong profession wasn’t an easy or convenient pill to swallow so soon after completing an expensive Master’s degree, but veering off my well-planned career path didn’t seem like an option, so once again, I stuck it out.

It got to the point where every day in my job felt like a waste of time. I was burnt-out and scared that I would never find my purpose in the workforce. I worried that I would spend my entire life counting down to Fridays, never finding a career that energized and excited me. I was overwhelmed and upset by the idea of letting life happen to me, just taking jobs just because I “should take what I can get,” or because I didn’t really know what I wanted.

These thoughts really killed my confidence, which made the idea of going out and finding a new job even less appealing.

I started talking to friends about my job hunt, but we always inevitably ended up talking about their careers. Everyone, it seemed, was experiencing a crisis of their own, yet they wanted to know how I’d managed to triple my income, land so many interviews, and become so efficient at networking. Pretty soon, my friends were asking if they could bring their friends along to our coffee dates or weekend brunches, and instead of talking about bad dates or annoying roommates, we would map out how they were going to ask for a raise, pursue a promotion, or make a lateral jump to a new industry.

I’ll never forget the day I arrived at Starbucks to meet a friend and she was accompanied by eight girls, all of them crammed around a tiny table.

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“They heard you help people get results,”
she said, by way of explanation.

I taught them everything I knew about job hunting. It wasn’t until later that I learned to live my own purpose that I’d start to help these amazing women find theirs, too.

Finally, I moved home to L.A. The fear and uncertainty I’d been dodging for so long caught up with me, and I felt like a complete failure.

In those early months back in California, I gave a lot of thought to the feedback I’d gotten from all my friends in D.C. when I helped them land new jobs and improve their professional circumstances. All of them urged me to become a professional career coach, and although the idea intrigued me, I thought it sounded like a bizarre career path… And evvvven if I got the courage to wave my freak flag and fully own it, I wasn’t sure how or if I should try to make it happen.

I knew I needed to take massive action, so I borrowed money to hire a career coach who empowered me to move forward.

It was a life-changing decision: She helped me overcome the emotional hangover I felt from realizing that my dream job wasn’t so dreamy. More importantly, she helped me recover the confidence and clarity I’d lost along the way.

While working with my coach, I reflected on the weeks in DC I spent as a job hunting and job-hopping master. I realized that it was the thrill of the hunt – not the job itself – that lit me up and made me come alive. I truly loved job hunting and helping people find their purpose. I loved networking, I loved rebranding my resume, and I loved negotiating for my salaries. In fact, I secured a 20-50% salary increase with every single job hop.

ashley typing on her computer

I felt incredible fulfillment
when my tools translated into massive results for others.

Any confusion I had about my own purpose soon dissipated: I was already living it as a Career Coach.

There were absolutely no career or business coaches to millennials to be found online at the time that I launched, so I had to fully own it. It was my time. I paved my own path with no one else to follow.

At 29 years old, I’ve built a thriving business supporting Gen Y women in their careers, and I can honestly say that I’m living my purpose every day.

In three years time, I scaled the business to reach the 7- figure mark and built a team of top coaches and career experts.  And believe me when I tell you, I didn’t think I could possibly make a great living, love what I do, AND help people while I do it.

Today, my team and I coach our clients—both in private and group programs— on how to find their purpose, land more job offers and scale their business.  I started off helping 20somethings, and now we are supporting amazing men and women of all ages.

I am so inspired every time someone new finds us and says “yes” to investing in themselves for this powerful work. Whether I’m helping someone get clarity on the best career path for them or helping job hunters land offers, I am in my bliss.

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