Voila, la fleuredeflorida.
My name is Ashley Brooks Parker. I grew up in Bradenton, Florida; a relatively small town in the Tampa Bay area. You’re probably more familiar with our closest neighbor, the city of Sarasota. Think: beaches, elderly snowbirds, palm trees, and manatees. I’m the fiercely proud product of a blue collar, Southern family. Drink Tropicana orange juice? Well then hey y’all, thank my Daddy. He’s been with the juice maker for over 30 years. His experiences there and as a member of the Teamsters have forever shaped my beliefs about work. My mother is a creative genius and I’m only so lucky to have inherited a little bit of that creativity. The rest of me came together like this:
I graduated from Hollins University, a liberal arts women’s college in Southwestern Virginia, in May 2008 with a B.A. in Business and French, and my “concentration” or specialization was in business communications.
Through a series of internships I discovered my passion was sharing information with people: communicating! I left college determined to start my career as a successful public relations professional. I got a little derailed a long the way, but quickly found my way to where I wanted to be.
I moved to Washington, DC in 2008 and after a brief, miserable stint as a temp at a major defense firm, I found a position with a non-profit that provided support and services to children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities. I started as the communications coordinator and left that organization as the communications and development manager. That first job really helped me get my “sea legs” into the notion that I wanted to dedicate my professional and most of my personal existence towards empowering social change via effective communication strategies. Now I’m the media relations manager for one of the largest national education associations in the country. I love my job, and that’s an understatement.
Outside of my thrilling professional life details, I am a wannabe foodie/budding cook, a crafty/artist/creative soul who loves to art journal, visit galleries, make craft projects, knit, etc. I’m a vintage lover and Cotes-du-Rhones junkie and a bonafide cat person who is “owned” by one temperamental but loveable tortishell kitty, Mattie (Matisse). I speak French. I miss Paris and France on a weekly, daily, hourly basis. I am in love with what I do and how I can learn to be better so I can help others in turn, be better. Also, I’m fairly spiritual and a regular church-goer (surprised? Most people my age are not in this boat, I’ve found..). I may identify as a Christian and practice a Christian faith but don’t worry- the Christ I follow did not condone (fun fact: he actually FORBID) exclusion of marginal types for the comfort & self-righteousness of others. In other words, I’m not ramming anything down anyone’s throat and I don’t expect everyone to share my beliefs.
Thanks for stopping by and checking out my thoughts. I welcome feedback, thoughts, questions, guest posts and anything else you want to share.