You guys. I'm so excited to share this week's Celebration Series interview and show off my dear friend Ashley and all the cool things she's doing in the world. Friends, meet Ashley Onusic. You'll be so glad that you met.
Ashley is on a beautiful mission to promote positive self-talk and confidence among women through BOTH her day job at Girls Inc. and her newest project/blog, The Lovely Initiative, through which she's interviewing women about what makes them lovely. Y'all, it's surprisingly uncomfortable to answer that question for yourself, but so life-giving and enriching at the same time. I know because I participated. :)
Really though, I highly recommend poking around The Lovely Initiative website. Ashley's work is so important and her positive voice is such a welcome addition to an internet world that can tend to be so negative and discouraging.
I've loved getting to know this sweet girl over the past two years in Portland. Her heart for women is so evident and it's been incredible to watch her live out her calling in such a selfless way. She's already changing her corner of the world for the better and I'm looking forward to seeing the impact she'll have in the years to come.
Let's get into the interview!
Give us a quick background on who you are and what you do for work.
Heyyo everyone! My name is Ashley- I am an Arizona native, but I currently love living in the Pacific Northwest where I get to go on epic explorations with my husband (who I rightfully argue is the coolest) and my fun loving dog. Give me chocolate and coffee and I'm one happy lady. Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of small talk, but I LOVE to get to know women as they are and I cherish the power of a transparent community. Seeing women thrive and building relationships with them is what fuels my passion!
I am so thankful to say that my passion pours our into my work on a daily basis. Working with Girls Inc. of the Pacific Northwest has given me countless opportunities to meet girls and women where they are at and go to a deeper level with them. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it’s had a radical impact on my life as well!
I am pumped to let all of you that I just started a project called “the lovely initiative”. My heart truly beats for this and it is something that I have been attempting to make a priority in my life, as it brings me so much fulfillment. I am also in the process of becoming a Wellness Coach- something I never expected to say, but also something I am proud and thrilled to share.
What about your work brings you the most joy and fulfillment?
I jumped ahead of myself a bit in the last answer, but what brings me joy and fulfillment in work and through “the lovely initiative" is witnessing women loving and caring for who they are! It sounds so cheesy as I type it, but there is nothing more beautiful than a woman who can confidently say she loves herself and others. That brings me so much joy and I truly believe that I am here on this Earth to shed light on this topic. I tell ya, it can be so insanely tough to be a woman, so I am so thankful for that passion planted within me.
I can’t forget to mention how much joy and fulfillment I receive going on adventures with my husband. I love to explore and experience new things and I have a pretty great person to do them with. I am fulfilled when I accomplish or try something new- it’s so exhilarating. This includes work and my personal life.
Oh, and eating chocolate. :) Not work related, but c’mon, oh so good.
Who or what is inspiring you right now?
There are some pretty incredible women just doing their thing and I find it to be the most inspiring. It’s hard for me to nail down a few, but I have encountered so many women lately who are taking pride in their gifts and sharing them with the world- despite any fear or insecurity they have. That is huge and leaves me in awe. Having an entrepreneurial spirit myself, I am definitely drawn to women walking through life at their own pace and to their own beat. I love it.
What has been difficult lately?
Hands down, finding time to just be. Life has been so hectic and it’s been difficult for me to just relax and take in any down time that I may have. It always feels like I need to be doing something, so I have had to be super intentional about slowing down and letting myself rest in the moment. Sometimes I rock this and other times I am left exhausted yet again. When I am in go mode, sometimes I forget to just let go and have fun too. I am learning to just be in the present and put some of the “daily routines and responsibilities” aside sometimes. Work in progress, but most definitely the biggest hurdle right now.
What makes you different from everyone else in the world and how does that uniqueness manifest itself in your work and life?
Goodness, I wouldn’t say it’s different than anyone else, but there are two things I can think of. I take finding beauty in yourself and others seriously. I’m not afraid to speak up when someone is unkind to themselves or someone else. It can be quite irritating for some, I’m sure, but I love that this is a part of me. It has caused me to question how I view myself and how I view community. It makes me want to change the injustices towards women in the world and in my neighbor’s home. If you couldn't tell already, it pours out of me.
I’m also goofy. To all my fellow goofy people out there- hey! I want to have fun, especially at work. I will give you funny faces (whether I mean to or not-sometimes my face has a mind of it’s own) or I will want to break out into dance mid workday to loosen things up. Some days are hard and I don’t want to work, so having a goofy side can bring some relief and help me refocus sometimes.
Tell us a joke:
This isn’t for any of you who get grossed out easily.
Q: Why is diarrhea considered hereditary?
A: Because it runs in your jeans.