Karen Clay, SwimWest owner, said that the need for the role has been growing for quite some time. “Ashley was a natural choice,” she said. “She has been posting and managing our Facebook and Instagram accounts for quite a while now, so it’s fantastic that we can make it official.”
Ashley has been with SwimWest for over 13 years, and it was inevitable that she would continue to take a larger and larger role. A native of Wisconsin and a passionate advocate for swim safety, she takes a lot of joy in communicating the SwimWest mantra of “Swim Safe, SwimWest.”
Most SwimWest families know Ashley from her smiling face and pleasant demeanor at the front desk. After hearing of her promotion though, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to get to know a little bit more about her and her new role as marketing assistant:
Tell us about your new role. How would you describe it to someone who has no idea what you’re doing and how it affects the SwimWest families/team?
I will be working on SwimWest’s public events, managing donations for our community, connecting with fellow community businesses and, of course, posting important info on Instagram and Facebook for SwimWest and in the interest of the local swimming community.
Take us through a day in your life. What does an average day look like for you, both professionally and personally?
A typical day for me starts with waking up bright and early with my two kiddos who also happen to be early birds. My husband is a nurse at UW and typically out the door at 6 am and works a long 12 hour day. Then it’s bus stop drop off for my eldest son Roman, followed by daycare drop off for my youngest son Wes.
I live very close to SwimWest and love my morning drive into work which gets me energized for a day full of smiles, sharing fun stories with swimmers and parents, giving hand stamps, sharing important swim safety messages and stories on Facebook and Instagram, the list goes on and on!
My day at SwimWest goes by very fast with something fun always to be done or created! After reuniting with my two boys, we usually have an active afternoon running around the yard playing.
Once everyone is all worn out, we like to read books or watch family videos from our visit to Disney. Finally, the night comes to an end when they happily go to bed, with me following only minutes after.
Your new position has so many different aspects to it. What would you say is the best way to maintain a balance between the varying roles you are performing at SwimWest and maintain a life/work balance?
Because I practically grew up at SwimWest, I’m really familiar with the routine, the staff and the values we share. From doing expos on the weekends to working with the huge variety of families and coworkers that are here regularly, I’ve learned to take it all in stride. It’s an easy choice to work here because SwimWest has a fantastic family atmosphere! I am around/working with everyone from SwimWest as much as I see my own family at home! They are like family to me. It’s so nice that my kids are also able to be a part of my work environment by taking lessons and getting to know who I work with too!
Can you tell me about some of the strengths that have gotten you into marketing and how you would like to improve your skills as you settle into the position?
Being a millennial, I know a few things about social media and trends (although I feel I have much room for growth in this). I continue to try and find free time at work to learn more.
As SwimWest social media guru – Where would you like to see SwimWest go with social media?
I want to continue and further push the word of drowning prevention. Just yesterday, my nephew had an incident at daycare, and I spent the evening with my sister at the doctor’s office, making sure he was okay. At the end of the day, it shows that drowning can happen to anyone.
Tell us about your proudest moment since working at SwimWest.
I am creating connections with the families in general. I love making relationships with all of the families and the swimmers. Being a parent myself now, I feel as though I can connect and create connections from a different perspective, especially on the importance of water safety in Wisconsin.
What has been your most challenging moment? And why?
Anytime I have had to jump in the pool. I play many roles at SwimWest! I am certified to teach, lifeguard, manage the deck and work as a customer service representative.
What is the best thing that has happened to you lately?
I wake up to my wonderful family every day and go to a job that is doing more than just teaching people how to swim – it’s changing lives by making those it touches aware of the importance of safety around water!
Do you have any pets?
We have 3! Two cats and a dog. Their names are Wrangler (dog), Bentley (black cat), Sox (“brown kitty”). Wrangler is a young but BIG dog that was a rescue from down in Texas. Sox is a girl and very shy, Bentley is a boy and loves to play/stand up to our dog Wrangler.
Anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself or new position?
I love what I do. I love SwimWest and all of our staff, the message Karen stands for and our swimming community.