Ashley Hunt

#2wentyGR8: Design of a Decade

Ashley Hunt
#2wentyGR8: Design of a Decade

Hey girl!

Let me tell you a story.

Five years ago when I met her, I was looking for a way out. At the time, I was 23 with a degree, my own car and the disillusion of freedom (but not the funds) to step into this great, big post-graduate world to become whomever I was supposed to be. I say disillusion because my introductory to what real adulthood looked like was blurred by one hasty decision after the next - until I landed my first 'full-time' gig raising three kids as a live-in nanny for the family of a divorcee. For months, I sold myself on the dream of one day living happily-ever-after in my own big waterfront property decorated in both rich decor and adolescent art deco. Until I realized that's what it wasn't. In the reality of that season, I had been draining my mind, body & soul to give whatever I thought I had in me...and it left me feeling both broke and broken. 

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So here I sat, donned in my best matching two-piece suit (pinstripe, of course), on that hot and sticky day in June. All I had in hand was a copy of the latest version of my three-page resumé - decorated with every honor, accolade and volunteerism awards I had earned from my undergrad experience and a few writing samples (better known as printouts of Facebook events) from my prior fashion internship. On the outside, I delivered a courteous and professional demeanor - just as I had rehearsed in my head. Inside, however, I was a nervous wreck riddled with insecurity and doubt. As I listened to her so eloquently speak about the work she's done and people she works with, I became awestruck. 'How is THIS your life!?', I remember thinking to myself. Little did I know that soon I would not only learn the answer to that question - but also become a part of it. 

 

The first year was a rough transition, but at the time, all I knew was it was about the HU$TLEI had something to prove not only to her for choosing me, but to myself as validation for being chosen. Every day, I endured the traffic-plagued commutes back and forth between Charlotte and Lake Norman to juggle fulfilling the duties I had as a new intern and fulltime caregiver: 

Wake up early to get the kids up and off to school. Ripping and running in the City to sit in on meetings, handle dropoffs, work events - whatever needed to be done. Back up the highway before rush hour to pick the twins up from daycare and get the oldest to her extracurricular activities. Homework, dinner, bath, bed - the works. Up until the wee hours of the morning completing research or assignments. Nap until alarms sound off. Repeat. 

Eventually, my heart began to weigh in on which way it wanted to lend its sacrifices. It seems easy for me to call it now (in retrospect) but making the decision to break this pattern was the first of many necessary, decided steps towards my purpose. 

 

That initial step led me to what I thought would've been my ultimate goal: getting hired at a 'big girl' salary position with a major pharmaceutical distribution company. It was still not what I had envisioned I would be doing with my Communications degree, but I felt like the few extra hundreds towards my savings accounts every month would assuage that unsettled itch in my life (which really was my Spirit reminding me not to get comfortable here). So I did my best to get acclimatized into the new norm of having a 9-to-5 career, while now getting some payments for projects as a Public Relations Specialist in my 5-to-9 just as I had done before as a nanny. Only this time, I felt more of a push towards my calling. I never realized until now that each of those subtle pushes nudged me to the edge of my next giant leap of faith. By the spring of 2016, I had to make a decision to quit my position to avoid being uprooted along with the company relocation. What felt like a giant step backward actually forced me to stop running in the rat race' to take a breath - and an honest assessment of what and who I wanted to be. They say that you find what you're searching for the moment you stop looking for it, and when I did, I was able to realize the opportunities that were in front of me all along. The one constant that has remained throughout the years was Bella Boca PR

Now at twenty-eight, and working full-time as a Creative Communications Manager for BB as well as an entrepreneur myself (::Womanity::), I'm grateful to experience the true joy of realizing that I've been able to literally manifest my dreams by using my gifts to serve others. I look back on our adventure thus far and I can truly say that I've been blessed to seemingly stumble upon the fortunate luck of landing my dream career with a boss turned best friend. Considering the fact that our work lives consume a great portion of our days spent on this earth, it's no wonder everyone keeps preaching the message of finding the work you love. I am just as awestruck with the portfolio and experience I've been able to develop learning under Denada (yes, like DE-NADA!) Jackson as the day I first met her in that lobby five years ago. Together we've built businesses and brands, pulled off unfathomable events through great odds and lived the highest of highs (& low lows) in entrepreneurship. Truth is, every begrudging step along the way has shifted to an intentional move towards gratitude for life placing me exactly where I am supposed to be. So that I can, in turn, become this type of B.O.S.$. for the queens coming up behind me (yes, another not-so-shameless plug). 

Moral of the story, kids: TRUST THE PROCESS. Decide today, better yet decide right now, to always show up and give people the very best version of YOU. Not only will you create space for greater things to unfold in your life, but you might even find ways to be a blessing to someone they never saw coming.

Love you Batman,

A bka Lil Denada aka Robs