As someone who relishes established routine, making the decision to move on to a new role or a new workplace has never been easy for me. In exploring new positions throughout my career, I have sought out organizations that not only offer the best career path, but also support a team whose values reflect my own. I look for people I can respect and from whom I can learn, and who have created a positive work environment. While this may sound like a mythical workplace, I have been fortunate to find this ideal mix at organizations throughout my career.

Finding such ideal workplaces has made each decision to accept a new role more difficult, because it has meant leaving a team that feels like family. But each time I have struggled with that dilemma, I recall a piece of advice that I received from the chief operating officer of one of my first employers. He told me that the most effective way to climb the corporate ladder is to avoid getting comfortable on one ladder; changing ladders, he said, allows you to show your skills in different settings, and potentially prove your ability to skip some rungs on the way up. Over the years, I have recalled that conversation as one of the most valuable in my career.

When I am most comfortable in a professional role is when I know it is time to switch ladders. The most surprising thing I have discovered when embracing new roles is that, while I am drawn to the comfort of the known, venturing into the unknown has ignited personal and professional growth, stimulated learning, promoted self-confidence, and helped me achieve the success I enjoy today.

On Finding Success and Staying Competitive
To succeed and stay competitive in the workplace today requires a somewhat stubborn and outspoken self-confidence. Oftentimes you will need to be your own inner cheerleader. No one will do that for you, so remembering and reminding yourself of your own capacity, talent, and potential will bring you to the next level.

On Facing Challenges
Every day holds challenges—big and small—that will impact your career. From industry challenges that change the landscape in which you operate, to balancing the demands of work and family, we all face obstacles. Learning to anticipate, adjust, be flexible, and maintain a sense of humor as we approach those hurdles is what makes us successful.

Ashley’s Advice to Young Women Starting Careers
Set stretch goals. You are undoubtedly capable of more than you think you are, and challenging yourself to realize that potential is essential.