NYWICI President Ashley Miles on the #WomenHeard Initiative

By MaryLee Montalvo

Our podcast is back! We have a new name (WomenHeard), but we’re still featuring the same thoughtful conversations with inspiring women in the communications industry.

In the premiere episode of our relaunched podcast, NYWICI President Ashley Miles catches us up on the relaunch of the #WomenHeard campaign, which is seeking to address the dramatic departure of women from the workforce during the Covid-19 pandemic. She also talks with host Julie Hochheiser Ilkovich about networking, self-care, and launching her own consultancy, Franklyn West. Here are some key takeaways from the discussion.

Don’t Limit Yourself

It was clear Miles had business and entrepreneurial skills when, even as a child, she set up a very successful lemonade stand in second grade. So it’s no surprise she began her professional career on the sales side of the industry. But she’s always stayed in touch with the creative and editorial teams. Above all, she’s pushed her teams to be more productive and to not accept the status quo. And that hard work has paid off. Prior to founding Franklyn West last year, Miles helped some game-changing companies reach their full potential, including Thrive Global, where she worked as Global Chief Business Officer under founder and CEO Arianna Huffington.

Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway

In the middle of the pandemic, Miles decided she wanted to have a bigger impact on the business community. So, she launched Franklyn West, the “Swiss Army Knife of consulting,” as one of their clients calls them. Many people would be afraid of veering from the corporate path, especially during such an unstable time. But Miles was excited to try something new and had faith that she would succeed.

“The thrilling part was there was so much unknown,” Miles says. “When you look at your career trajectory and you see that you have proof that your methodology is working to help businesses and business leaders reach their full potential, all you’re really doing is expanding that formula to more businesses. I had great confidence in my ability.”

Lift Each Other Up

As part of the #WomenHeard initiative, NYWICI looked critically at diversity in the workplace and in society. “The more diverse your teams are within the workplace—ethnically, race, gender, skill set, location, and experiences—the more diverse your performance,” she says. That’s why she believes it’s important to lift each other up and offer help and transparency to others whenever possible. (The alliances at NYWICI are also a big help, she notes.)

Ask Questions

Miles likes to ask Franklyn West clients the same questions she asks herself: What’s that bold picture of what you want in your personal and professional life? What are your action items? How are you measuring success? Who are you recruiting into your network and in your life to help you realize that personal and professional vision?

Once you’ve done some deep thinking and figured out what’s important to you, you’ve got to form consistent habits and prioritize those things, Miles says. And make sure your team is on board too: “You are who you surround yourself with,” she adds.

Thanks to Ashley Miles for being a part of the podcast. You can listen to all the episodes of our podcast here.


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