A Teaser: Four Themes from my Conversation with Ashton Haider Brooks


First, thank you to everyone who listened to episode 2 of The Savvy Young Professional podcast! It has been a fun (and nerve-wracking) adventure to try something new, and I appreciate the feedback and words of encouragement so many of you have shared.

One suggestion I received from several people is to share a longer, written “teaser” of each podcast that shares a bit more with readers who might not have time right away to listen to the podcast or who do not typically listen to podcasts (though the teaser will hopefully convert you)! In response to your feedback, here are four takeaways from my conversation with Ashton Haider Brooks. The full podcast is available here or on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, or Spotify under “The Savvy Young Professional”.

Find a hobby and make it your career. Ashton grew up with a father who was in the business world and a mother who was creative, loved art, and made the world a more beautiful place. While Ashton had an interest in art and photography as a teenager and young adult from her mom’s influence, she used her dad’s influence and business savvy to find a way to translate what she enjoyed about photography into a career in advertising, drawing on the foundation of art and creativity in the ad world. She is still in marketing and loves the field.

Always offer to do more. During the recession in 2009, Ashton graduated and found herself in a slumping advertising market. Thanks to free rent with her mom, she found a job with a craft brewer in Chicago that paid her one case of beer a week. While she was only scoped to help with events, she offered to help start their blog, run market research, and anything else the team needed. She quickly moved from a salary of beer to a salary of money, and used this experience to land a job at one of the most prominent ad agencies in the world several months later.

Interview the company. During our conversation, I appreciated Ashton’s vulnerability and openness in sharing an unfortunate experience she had with a negative work environment, including but not limited to harassment and unsafe work conditions. When I asked her for advice on how others could avoid finding themselves in a similar situation, she talked about interviewing the company while you are interviewing, including asking tough questions of the people you meet with and taking tours to see the work environment. These actions would have helped her better understand the culture and pass on the opportunity.

Figure it out. Ashton’s dad emphasized to her early on to never pay someone to do something she could do herself, and she has lived by this advice. In the years I have known Ashton, I have seen her figure out everything from home repairs to targeted online sales and market research. She finds a way to teach herself what she doesn’t know rather than outsource it or shy away from the challenge.

If you haven’t had a chance to listen to our full conversation, I hope this piques your interest! Thanks again for reading (and listening) along.

Posted on February 6, 2019 and filed under Career Insights.