Today we’d like to introduce you to Ashley Graham.
Hi Ashley, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
As for my formal introduction, I am a publicist & people-relations coach that works with conscious thought leaders in elevating their voices through storytelling, PR & conscious communications. I am passionate about bringing awareness to the aspects of the media that might be missed. My goal with my story and message is to consciously bring together communities for impact and improvement, to become better leaders and communicators within their spaces. Both myself and my brand’s influence reaches a loyal audience who are craving the right conversations. As a publicist and thought leader in the PR space, I have landed clients in a variety of media outlets such as Forbes, Refinery29, Entrepreneur, and BuzzFeed. As a thought leader myself, I have been recognized in the media on BossBabe, Thought Catalog, Business2Community, Authority Magazine, Thrive Global, PRNews, and was recently announced as a potential candidate for the Forbes Next 1000 List.
My thought leadership journey, especially through my business, has evolved beautifully over the years. To bring you along on my journey with me, I have always been attracted to understanding the roles people play in their lives, how they connect with others through their stories, and what inspires them to discover their purpose and calling in life. I have always been a firm believer that every person has a story or voice within them that is seeking to be heard, understood, and admired. When we think of thought leadership, the beauty of being a thought leader is moving through life through purpose, value, and impact.
Impact is and always will be in the eye of the beholder. When I think about impact, it is not only something I see around me through the connections I make, but more so what I feel within the impact I want to make in the world. Because after all, making an impact comes down to expression. When it comes to expression, we express what we feel, especially when it comes to emotion, and the same goes for where we show up, how we show up, & who we show up for.
When we feel impactful to the lives of others, we express & experience our lives differently. We are able to observe what is around us with a level of awareness that is a gift in itself. As I mentioned in a recent article on Thought Catalog, leading others through positive expression is an inside job, & the same goes for innovation and impact. When we feel innovative and lead through impact, whether within ourselves or the feeling we get being involved in our communities, we move through life differently. We are proactive in our experiences in which we take action in areas where we may feel dissatisfied, stuck, or unmotivated.
When we move through impact, we have an innate ability to connect with others differently. When we shift the way we connect, we open space for experiences with others where we evolve through the depth that comes with stepping into new territory or identities, especially through the stories they share. As for my story and where I am today, I guide thought leaders on finding the beauty and innovation in their voices to express their perspectives and expertise. Our communities & experiences around us need powerful voices who may have been unrepresented to lead others around them through empathy and connection.
During the last year, a big goal of mine for my voice and influence has been to shift the narrative in the media we consume, especially when it comes to thought leadership pertaining to opinions, perspectives, and emotions. The impact our work has on the community is influencing better PR but we take this a step further. PR is not only about Public Relations but about the “people” the media influences around it… We take “People-Relations” very seriously where it’s not only about building better relationships with clients but shifting the consciousness in the people who connect with the stories we distribute.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
When it comes to any type of leadership role, there will always be pivots and/or transitions that come with growing pains. Growing pains, in my opinion, is a much more aligned way to describe any experience that may be troubling or presents a feeling of ‘struggle’. Reflecting back on the last 18+ months, I would have never imagined being in a leadership role where I had to navigate my well-being, my business, and my mental health through a global pandemic, and then some. But, the important thing to remember, which I remind myself often, is that challenges and obstacles present themselves to show you where you can transform and evolve as a person. Over the last year or so, I have become more patient, compassionate, understanding, and more expressive than I’ve ever been before. When we are open and expressive, it allows us to connect with the people who meet us in the middle which is always a beautiful thing.
We’ve been impressed with Your Brandista, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Our Done-For-You PR, PR Coaching, and Media Training services are to bring thought leaders on the journey to have their voices and perspectives recognized through the right media verticals. We are also launching a number of education and thought leadership coaching programs that are designed to guide our clients on working through the internal challenges they face in the confidence of expression, limiting beliefs and poor inner narratives around their self-worth. Working with our clients on the inner work through these programs will then lead them to the next stage in discovering their unique, conscious voice as thought leaders and what they can speak on publicly to inspire and influence their communities around them.
One of the most current & ever-evolving trends that are taking space in the media is Thought Leadership. A Thought Leader is a person who, based on their expertise & perspective on the “pulse” of a trending topic… offers unique guidance, inspires innovation, & influences others to elevate their thoughts or actions. In our opinion, good PR in thought leadership is driven by the passion to share stories through a conscious voice that makes a difference with others. Our goal is to be an influence in guiding and educating the next wave of thought leaders to shift their confidence to take up space in the media.
We love surprises, fun facts and unexpected stories. Is there something you can share that might surprise us?
I believe something surprising that some might miss is that we all have a unique voice within. Whether we use that voice for connection, change, or simply to express, our voices are powerful tools. When it comes to PR, a good story highlights a thought leader’s voice that inspires inspiration and action in others. But, where do you discover your unique conscious voice as a thought leader to share and express with others?
I believe thought leaders can discover their conscious voice within their mind, their body, and within their purpose.
Our minds are a place for opinion, perspective, and thought. Thought leaders are perspective-driven individuals who offer guidance, direction, and innovation while influencing others through their opinions, thoughts, and expertise. A thought leader must first live within the mind in order to move their thoughts through the cycle of influence & authority.
A great place to start on where to discover your conscious voice as a thought leader is to take out a piece of paper or journal & write down the thoughts, opinions, & perspectives you believe hold value.
Our bodies are the vessel for emotions, sensations, & perceptions. Thought leaders are called to express through their senses, where creation occurs. To come to this place of discovery, take a few deep breaths & enjoy a moment in silence. Allow the body to reflect on the thoughts, opinions, & perspectives you believe hold value in the mind.
What sensations do you feel & where? Did you feel a sense of excitement, or did you feel a sense of nervousness? The body is an inner compass as to where a thought leader can grow to become more connected to their story & message, which in turn impacts those around them.
A thought leader’s identity is centered around purpose, impact, & speaking on influential topics that inspire the needs & emotions of their peers. What we’ve discovered through the process of discovering a conscious voice as a thought leader is that purpose should be at the forefront of your voice.
What shifts can you make in the lives of others through your path of purpose? If you find yourself feeling disconnected from your purpose or need a simple reminder, ask yourself the following question & journal/write out your response:
How can I use my unique talents to better serve the world?
This is a post that I wrote for our blog that I believe holds so much value. If you want to learn more about my perspective around your conscious voice and how to use that in thought leadership, you can follow along here: https://yourbrandista.com/blog/.
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