I am a 35 year old multitasking woman. My first and foremost essential role is being a mother. My other role is co-running the only locally owned and operating car dealerships in the Tri-Cities that does not have share-holders. In my spare time, I love to volunteer and give back to my community.
How much importance do you place on volunteerism and giving back to your community? I take philanthropy very seriously. As a young girl, I started a volunteer program at the Asbury Center in Kingsport. Unfortunately, I lost both sets of my grandparents at a very young age. My father was employed at the facility and encouraged me to volunteer during the summer to help the activities director. In just a short time, I learned how lonely, depressed, and unwanted some of the residents felt. I realized in that moment that I could make a difference in someone’s life. It immediately gave me a passion to make them feel special. I would put together social parties, painting parties, bring in singers, read to them, paint the ladies nails, and, my favorite moment of all, was to hear their stories. I realized that many never saw their families but once a year and it truly broke my heart. I then recruited more young people to come in to volunteer and the program took off. At 12 years old, my passion to help others helped shape the person I am today.
What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you? I think the biggest challenge for women in the future is to understand that women cannot work like a man, just like a man can not work like a woman. Life is a balance, for me personally, it is a challenge every day to balance all the hats I wear. I realize that women think they have to choose between a career or motherhood. The working woman today is far different than the working woman and mother 30 years ago. Technology has advanced everything in our daily life, which makes the balancing act of motherhood and business a little easier to manage.
What advice would you give to young women who want to succeed in the workplace? I have been blessed to work with young women over the years; encouraging them to be their authentic self. We live in such a critical society that young women feel they have to change who they are to fit in the workplace or sacrifice their principles just to have a job. Be the smart woman you are, show your boss the skills you’ve developed, it’s ok to talk about your accomplishments in an interview and always speak up no matter the situation. There is no one looking out for your best interest other than yourself – read more, learn more, cross train within your department.
What’s a typical day like for you? For me, everyday is a little different, but my typical schedule consists of lots of time in my car – my mobile office. I take my twins to school every day, work out for an hour, and go home to change clothes. Sometimes you may find me wearing work out clothes if I have no time to change. I get lots of texts from my husband asking me about advertising, reminding me to call or go by one of the stores, letting me know that a customer needs my attention, all while checking off my own to-do list. My office is in Elizabethton so I am back and forth from that property to our other dealership in Johnson City. I love to meet and spend time with our customers. I may have a long to do list but the most important aspect of my work is to know our customers. My husband and I are always there for them. We truly appreciate their business and continued support.
What three words best describe you? Compassionate, Driven, Trustworthy.
How do you achieve work-life balance? I am still learning balance. I have a hard time saying “no.” I am a giving person in many ways, but most importantly, my time. When it comes to helping, I am always first to say, “What can I do?” Whether it is with a friend, customer, co-worker, or charity, I always try my best to make a difference.
What are the most important decisions you make as a leader of your organization? Decision-making in our business is challenging a lot of critical decisions are made daily, but the one thing that always stays in the back of our minds is “how will it affect our employees or our customers.”
Who has been the kindest to you in your life? Sherrie Bacon, by far, has been the kindest person in my life. She has the biggest heart that is over flowing with love, support, and compassion. I look up to her in so many ways. She has been a small business owner for many years and has taught me to be loving even when others may have been unkind to me. Although I have grown to have thicker skin, it still hurts when others make false judgments about me. Her Godly words, constant prayers, and friendship is one that I treasure. Everyone needs Sherrie Bacon in their life! Her laugh is infectious and she is the Best Lash Lady in the TriCities! I love My MommaSher!!
What are your success habits? The success our business has achieved is because of our family of employees. My husband and I make ourselves very available at all times, but the continued hard work and dedication from our kind, trusting, and dedicated employees is why customers come back to buy or service their vehicles. I can’t thank our Grindstaff Family enough for all their years with us.
What is your spirit animal? My spirit animal would be a chameleon. I wear so many different hats that I can blend in to any environment whether its a business function, being a school mother, being a philanthropist, being a female in business, and just being down to earth Ashley.