A hurricane. That’s the weather term meteorologist Ashley Brown uses to describe the past year of her life. “It’s been pretty chaotic.”
But this whirlwind year has also showered her with blessings. She moved back to her hometown of Indianapolis. Got a top job in her field. Bought a big house. Decorated that house. Got engaged to her soulmate, and planned a dream wedding.
To recap: a move, a new job, a house, an engagement, a wedding. It’s enough to make anyone’s head spin.
Many of the milestones people reach over the course of their lifetime, Ashley achieved in just a few months. “It’s a time when you feel like it’s an overflow of blessings. Blessing, upon blessing, upon blessing. Blessed beyond belief,” she said, now that she’s had a moment to finally catch her breath.
“I think a bigger issue is making sure that everyone knows that I’m going to work as hard as everyone else, that nothing was given to me, that it was earned,”
In December 2018, Ashley Brown hit the airwaves as Indy’s first female African-American chief meteorologist, when she took the helm at WISH-TV. She recognizes the historical significance, but for Ashley, the impact runs even deeper. She’s proud to be an inspiration for young black girls who want to follow in her footsteps.
“So it lets them know that it’s possible,” she said. “For a little girl to see herself, is amazing.”
Ashley enjoys speaking to girls about STEM education. It’s her passion for science that led her to where she is today.
But there are challenges to being a groundbreaker, like earning respect. Ashley believes she was hired because she’s the best person for the job. “I think a bigger issue is making sure that everyone knows that I’m going to work as hard as everyone else, that nothing was given to me, that it was earned,” she said.
Ashley has worked in Indiana and across the country. Last year, she left her out-of-state TV job and moved back to Indy, without a job, to be closer to her large family. “I feel like that’s my foundation,” she said.
But she was stressed out.
Then, suddenly, everything started to fall into place. Was it too good to be true, getting everything she dreamed of all at once? Ashley said she decided to go for it. “God has blessed me thus far,” she said. “Why not have the fairytale?”
She admits her plan for her life was on a much smaller scale.
“God lets you know that there’s a bigger plan for your life then you have for yourself,” she says. “God said, no, I’m going to give you a big house, the chief meteorologist job, and a husband,” she said laughing. “So basically, he’s like, you’re not dreaming big enough,” she told me. “It shows you the value that you have in yourself, versus the value that God puts on your life.”
The wedding of Devin Elliott and Ashley Brown was a beautiful reflection of the happy couple. Ashley describes it as family-oriented, fabulous, and fun.
With the wedding now in the rearview mirror, I asked her how she’s feeling in this moment. She paused and smiled. “Honestly, glad it’s over. I’m not a girly girl. I’m not a wedding person.”
She’s a chief meteorologist, who’s learned to just chill out. “Relax. God‘s got it. There’s a plan for your life and the plan is in motion. Stop stressing about it,” she says.
Ericka Flye is an Emmy Award-winning journalist.