International Women's Day

International Women’s Day: Stories from female leaders at The Social Element (4)

This week, as part of our series celebrating International Women’s Day, we hear from our managing director of North America, Ashley Cooksley.

Ashley talks about her inspiration, what she’d tell her younger self, and the best career advice she has ever received.  

Ask what you can do to help other women

Inspiration comes from the women all around you. Ashley considers herself really lucky to work with inspirational female mentors, leaders and colleagues throughout her career, starting with a college professor who gave her her first break – the opportunity to take part in a paid internship that gave her a fantastic start to her career. 

Creativity thrives on fun

If Ashley could tell her younger self (and women who are early on in their careers) one thing, it would be to continue to work hard, but have fun along the way, and not to sweat the small stuff. It’s easy to get bogged down in unimportant issues and worry too much, but everything works out in the end.

“Find a creative outlet. Find a hobby. Find the things that make you happy outside of work so that you can have that really good work-life balance,” Ashley says. 

No matter how busy you are at work and at home, it’s important to make time for something that brings you joy. Something you do just for you and that acts as a form of escapism. It’s a great way to switch your brain over from “work mode” and can help you be more effective and inspired.

Women have an exciting future in marketing

Ashley’s been in marketing for 25 years and has seen so many changes! As well as seeing more women in leadership roles now, she’s also thrilled to see so many talented women who are still early in their careers. 

“I’m really excited about the future for women in this industry,” she says. 

Remember to be your greatest advocate

“You are in charge of your own happiness. You can’t wait for others to make that change for you,” Ashley says.  

Ultimately, you’re the only one who knows what you really want out of life – and how work can contribute to that. While it’s important to help and advocate for other inspirational women, we need to remember to do the same for ourselves.

Part of this is remembering to take advantage of any downtime that you have to do things like take a longer lunch and treat yourself to some ‘me’ time because, as many of us who work in marketing know, things will get frantically busy again really fast.

Overall, Ashley wants us to remember that advocating for (and inspiring) women is just as much about looking after ourselves and doing what’s in our best interests as it is taking care of others. It’s when we’re the best version of ourselves that we can help others shine.

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