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Ashley Dodge is an artist turned techie who is the VP of Community for Copado. Ashley says she spends her workdays “working in a very nerdy sector of technology, DevOps,” where she leads a community that empowers individuals around the world to expand their technical toolkit and take control of software releases. Outside of work, she loves getting back to her artistic roots by whipping up watercolor sugar cookies, creating floral arrangements, or dusting off her easel to chip away at an acrylic painting. Tell us more, Ashley!
My Maven Superpower is … Empathy. I have a keen ability to put myself in another’s shoes and understand their perspective or challenges. This is critical in my work as a community and team leader.
A fun fact about me is … We honeymooned in Iceland in late October, making us the last mountain bike excursion of the year. Our guide thought we were crazy, but it all paid off when we got to see a phenomenal display of the Northern Lights on our second night.
Best book I’ve read lately is … I’m currently geeking out on “The Night Circus.” I have been obsessed with the concept of the circus (minus the animal cruelty) since childhood and love the way this book goes back to the roots and magic of the circus and how it brings artists together to create inspiring and dreamy experiences for ticket holders.
My first job was … selling sneakers in the mall at 15.
The skill I most want to learn is … how to take things less personally.
My favorite nonprofit to support is … Kenya Community Education and Action, they provide scholarships that help young Maasai girls in rural Kenya avoid child marriage by providing access to education, counseling, and the resources they need to succeed.
Self-care habit I swear by is … a morning workout and an evening walk. You’ll also find me taking a mid-day shower when I feel stuck. I call it my “brain wash” because it helps me think through blockers and find new ideas and solutions.
I feel most confident when … I am prepared. I’ve made it a habit to provide detailed meeting agendas and to carve out the time I need to prep before meetings. I often host large community events and put a lot of time in to prepping speakers and panelists, and recording dry runs to make sure the message flows smoothly.
I find community … through fitness groups. I love working out at a small local gym where I see the same faces every day, many of whom have become friends. I also belong to an online fitness group where we get a daily workout and encourage one another through daily check-ins.
The best career advice I can offer is … master these three words: “Is it negotiable?” So many people are afraid to negotiate for what they want the most. Learning to ask if an offer or opportunity is negotiable opens the conversation to talk about what is really important to you. More often than not, there is room for negotiation, and even if you don’t get what you hoped for you, you’ll have earned respect for advocating for yourself.
Favorite purchase lately is … I am 6 months pregnant and LIVING in the Free People Movement Good Karma 2-piece set! Beware: You won’t be able to buy just one color.
My favorite local restaurant dish is … Khao Soi from Thai District. I first had this dish when traveling in Thailand with friends a few years ago. It was unlike anything else I had ever had. A year later, right here in Brownsburg, a phenomenal Thai restaurant opened up and I was so excited to find it on their menu. This is my version of chicken noodle soup; it’s so comforting on a hard day!
The food I’ve been snacking on lately is … I mentioned I am pregnant, right? POPCORN. Popcorn of all flavors. Cheddar, caramel, or my favorite, a combination of the two called “Chicago Mix,” but even plain or the “Strawberries & Cream” version from Costco will also hit the spot just fine.
The thing I’ve achieved lately that I’d like to celebrate with the Maven community is … We recently raised $30,000 to purchase a new vehicle for the founder of Kenya Community Education and Action (KCEA) to use for transporting students and supplies. The 1999 Rav-4 needed to be replaced after the founder, John Ole Keshe, single-handedly delivered vital supplies and educational materials to each student in their village while the schools were closed for more than a year due to Covid-19. As a grassroots organization, this was by far our largest fundraiser, and it was done in a very short span of time!
What’s next for me is … This August I get to realize one of my biggest dreams, becoming a mother! After a 2-year battle with miscarriage and infertility, it is truly a dream come true. After my maternity leave, I will return to work as a community builder and continue to advocate for the democratization of educational resources so that generations to come don’t have to incur insurmountable debt to have a shot at success.
Stephanie Groves is the Executive Editor of Indy Maven.
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