Ashleigh Armstrong: One certainty in life, and that is change

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Ashleigh Armstrong

Ashleigh Armstrong

On behalf of GBNews, I had the opportunity and pleasure to interview one of our collaborators, Ashleigh Armstrong. Every day, she brings colour into our office with her signature yellow accessories, but also a liveliness thanks to her big personality. Our conversation offers an engaging sneak peek at who she is, her professional experience and her future plans.

Ashleigh’s background is in community building. For two years, she managed a community of some 250 individuals, start-ups and established companies on their journeys in social entrepreneurship. She developed social platforms resulting in everyone being able to exchange knowledge, skills, and services. As a Community Manager, she enjoys understanding how groups thrive, and supporting brands and organisations in building their social media presence.  Her goal is to turn customers into fans and fans into ambassadors. How? By staying on top of her game, constantly seeking out the next opportunity to start or join a new online trend, creating quality content for the right audience and allowing data to guide her understanding of every audience.

Where did you grow up?

I was born in a suburb called Rockland County and I spent a good portion of my life in Harlem. It’s really cool growing up in Harlem. It’s interesting to me because the experience was still one of growing up even though I was technically an adult by that time. City life offers such diversity and so much of the unknown that it piques a person’s curiosity. I have always been a person who tries to follow my curiosity. That really just led me down a path of literal learnings every single day: learning how to cope with childhood struggles and challenges; learning how to be in relationships; learning how to be out of relationships; about friendships and more than anything, learning about me and my resilience. New York City life is difficult and it forces you to adapt.

Is there something that influenced you a lot in your life?

The biggest thing that ever happened in my entire life was moving here to be with my Swiss husband and that relationship failing. It changed the entire course of my life. It failed in a really huge way. I had been living in Geneva for less than 2 years and I didn’t have a comfortable life anymore. I gave up my entire established life in the States, and I came here to make my new life with pure intentions. So it was really important to me that I could stick it out here. Because how could a girl from New York let a city like Geneva turn me away?

I’ve found gratitude for my challenges and the resulting personal growth and that’s why I’m so happy.

I find it so interesting that every day I get comments from people regarding my level of happiness. I think everybody has their own experience of difficulty. It’s really just about going inward and acknowledging what we’ve all been through. I think that this period of confinement is contributing to this in a lot of ways because human consciousness (as a collective) is being forced to call into question so many of the ideas and systems that we have been operating in, for years and years. It’s not only about human interactions, but also various interactions between humans and the environment, humans, and animals, etc.

Did you have any special training to do what you do now?

A series of life experiences led me to work in Social Media.  I also interned to learn first-hand how professionals in the industry are making their decisions, planning and executing their strategies and sharpening their skills.  I did a lot of research when I was writing my own blog and taught myself a lot and attended as many courses as I could.  I also really try to remain connected to communities of industry professionals to follow and participate in conversations.

Is there anybody who influenced you in your career?

My first steps towards doing online Community Management were catalyzed by my friend Dario. I was a volunteer at Impact Hub. And he was the community manager at that time. I was super fascinated by the work that he did because it was his role to bring people together around a common goal, a common theme, common interests, and common challenges. That was his mission: diversify the community and bring people together. I found that to be really cool because I’ve naturally been doing that my whole life. I’ve always been the girl who’s ‘the more the merrier’ kind. It opened my eyes to the fact that I could do something that I already enjoy and doing it in a professional capacity.

Later on, I became a community builder at Impact Hub. While I was there I learned how to build communities and how to help people connect around a common subject.

What came easiest to you as a community builder?

Being there for individuals who were sometimes going through difficult moments building their businesses. Part of my job as a community builder was to make the human connections that could bring solutions to life.  It has always been easy for me to make connections between people to solve a problem.

What are you working on for the GBN communications team?

I am leading the team in implementing processes and strategies to improve our online presence, specifically on Instagram and Facebook.  I also write articles as a part of the editorial team, which satisfies another part of my work that I enjoy: writing!

What do you think is the most interesting app in the field of social media?

For me, Instagram is the real game-changer mainly because suddenly everything became very visual. The app was able to take this cool idea of just sharing pictures and evolved into an entire world-within-a-platform of sharing in real-time with visuals. The way that people are using Instagram now is night and day compared to what Instagram was when it first came out. Marketing opportunities are abundant on Instagram and it allows creativity that most other platforms are just not equipped for right now.

What are you doing in order to learn more about social media?

I’m constantly doing things like following Hootsuite, Sproutsocial and Later. I also participate in some interesting webinars. It’s also important to learn from someone who’s doing this type of work. I remain connected to other social media professionals so that I can stay on top of what’s new, fresh and trending in our field.  I’m using this quarantine time to brush up on my design skills and learn new editing apps.

What are your career plans in the next five years?

In the next five years, I would really love to have found enough confidence in myself and build my own brand. Because sharing stories and hosting space where people from around the world can connect on subjects that I am also passionate about can be exciting, fun and healing (among other things).

Do you have any advice to people who want to work in this field?

Always continue learning and being curious. I think that curiosity keeps these platforms exciting when you have to look at them on a daily basis. The learning aspect is super important because this field is constantly evolving. If there is one guarantee about social media, it’s that it will change every day. There’s always going to be that cool new sticker or that really awesome augmented reality technology that you were able to use; that new functionality released on a platform. So just stay on top of learning by following trends and being actively engaged.

What is your favourite movie?

My favourite movie of all time is “The Sound of Music”. A lot of people don’t know that about me and they don’t expect it either. But I absolutely adore Julie Andrews. She’s an international treasure that we don’t even deserve. She has the voice of a literal angel and she seems like the type of person who I would want to be my grandma.

What are you reading lately?

Right now I’m reading “Becoming” by Michelle Obama. I’m a little bit biased because Michelle Obama could have written the alphabet and left every other page blank and I would have thought: “Oh my god, Pulitzer Prize winner!” I think she is the epitome of class and beauty. She’s outspoken, strong and clearly resilient if she was able to spend eight years in the White House with people being blatantly racist and horrible to her and her children, not even just her husband. So yeah, I just want to be a part of anything that she’s doing because she is everything that I could dream of being.

What’s your favourite weekend activity?

I love to dance to almost anything. For me, dancing is such a stress reliever. I often tell my friends that I have some stress that I need to leave on a dance floor. People seem to really understand that and it often resonates with them.

We would like to thank Ashleigh for her time to talk to GBN. Thanks to Ashleigh, I also learned new things: to use Zoom for our interview and have the conversation recorded within the application!

As Ashleigh says: “If there is one guarantee about social media, it’s that it will change every day.” This also applies to our lives, where changes happen all the time. We need to keep on learning and adapting so that we are prepared for the challenges to come. Ashleigh’s work and life experience is definitely an inspiration.

Further reading:

Instagram Best Practices You Should Be Following in 2020 by

Business Instagram

Huizhu Irrthum Huizhu Irrthum

From making translations and interpreting in meetings to creating, selecting and managing content on social media, what motivates me as a Communications specialist is using my English, French and Chinese language skills to facilitate relationships among businesses and individuals.

I have done this internationally in corporate communications, retail marketing and digital strategy for the lifestyle and luxury industries...and I am more than interested by the possibility of using my market research and customer service skills to help build Swiss-Chinese business relations.

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