Next up in the Women Inspire Women series – Meet Ashley! We’re getting off the ‘J’ train for this one. 😉 Ashley is a part of the fabulous five group of gals I mentioned in the last post. We, too, met via the social media world when we were all heavily involved in the digital media space both in our work and personal lives. I later had the opportunity to help Ashley plan and coordinate her beautiful wedding day! Our group attempted real life books clubs a time or two, but despite a love of reading, our get-togethers never consisted of book talk (as book clubs go). Something that I feel has made me feel so connected to Ashley is her love for writing. She studied journalism, and she is so eloquent in the things that she shares. Although originally from the St. Louis Area, Ashley and her husband, Andy, took on a big adventure and made a cross-country move to the Southwest last year (I envy the fact that she is now so much closer to the west coast!). Ashley is an encourager and a truth-teller, and I truly value the insight that she provides. While hustling hard in all the things she does, she has taken her business from side gig to full-time gig back to side gig again. She has taken the time to branch out on her own yet also realizes the value of the things that she continues to learn and the ways through which she can continue to grow within the agency she’s with full-time too. She is stellar. Also, she loves dogs! Read more about Ashley and her side hustle, Short Dog Social, below!
Name: Ashley Parks
Company: Short Dog Social/Santy
Title: Owner/Social Media Strategist
Currently Located: Mesa, Arizona
Photos by Monique Seleen, Seleen Snapshots Photography
Describe yourself in 3 words:
Decisive, stubborn, restless
Describe your business and what you do:
Short Dog Social specializes in social media strategy, content development and community engagement. We have over seven years’ experience managing and developing social media marketing campaigns, digital advertising, content and engagement strategies for consumer brands.
What has been a dream job that you have had since you were a little girl?
I’ve loved writing since I can remember. When I was little, I would mockup stories of Super Bunny – my mom still has them! As I got older, this merged into journalistic writing, and my dream evolved from being a published author to becoming a sports or magazine journalist. Maybe one day I can focus on my blog again and make that dream come true!
How did you start in this field?
From 8th grade on, I knew I wanted a degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri. I didn’t even apply to another college! As I got closer to my freshman year, I realized that Strategic Communication was a good focus area for me – I’ve always wanted to have a family, and the hours of a journalist were a bit too demanding. I took a few courses in account management, PR and media planning (social media was still just for friends & family at the time!), and took a job at an ad agency after graduation. The first role I had was a terrible fit for me – I was managing media buying budgets for agriculture brands – but my next role was heavily focused on social media, and I loved it. I began growing my client roster with larger and larger brands, so when I moved to Arizona, I felt confident enough to start recruiting clients on my own.
In what ways do you see yourself inspiring other women?
Not every success story looks the same. I first purchased the domain for Short Dog Social in 2013. It took 5 years for me to gain the courage to do something with it, and after six months, I found myself yearning to get back into the agency side of things. At the end of the day, I’m so proud that I took the step to start my own company. And I’m proud that I was able to recognize the need to be surrounded by other smart-minded people. I’m a firm believer that what is meant to be will be, and someday, I’m confident that Short Dog Social will move back into my prime focus.
Who has been the biggest inspiration to you?
Gosh – our girl group has been the best. Jessica (who you’ve featured previously), Libby, Chelsea and yourself have been such an incredible resource to bounce ideas off of, chat through struggles in starting (and continuing!), and providing the much needed boost of confidence to move forward. Everyone needs to have a group like ours!
If you could have coffee/tea/lunch/happy hour with one of your life role models, who would it be and where?
My long-term goal would be to meet Reese Witherspoon – I’ve loved her since Legally Blonde, and she’s become such an inspiration as I’ve gotten older. From her production company to her clothing line, I’d love to pick her brain over a glass of southern sweet tea! I also have been watching Josh Gates on Expedition Unknown for a few years now, and I’m dying to buy him a beer and hear about his travels.
What are 3 of your current favorite things (books, podcasts, music, beauty products, etc.)?
Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness – my favorites so far have been with Mirai Nagasu (the Olympic skater), Antoni Porowski (fellow Queer Eye host) and Ryan Huber (ethicist).
You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero – this book is everything I could ever want as an entrepreneur – it gives you the confidence to move forward with your ideas, no matter how crazy!
Here are all of the platforms where you can find Ashley and see more of the work she’s doing and a glimpse into her daily life (and her pups!):
I hope you had fun getting to know Ashley! Searching for someone to help you with your social media strategy or community engagement? Shoot her a message and see how she can help!
I can’t wait to continue to introduce you to more fabulous, inspiring, empowering women in the weeks to come! Back soon!
PS – Know someone who would be great to feature as an empowering women? Contact me HERE, and let me know! I’d love to contact her and learn more!