Nana Grace Kwapong
Meet Ashli Washington, Social Media and Creative Content Specialist and all-round superstar!
Updated: Sep 23, 2020
I am deliberate and afraid of nothing. - Audre Lorde: black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet
Ashli Washington is an all-round creative genius. You'll see what I mean in a second. She is the Social Media and Creative Content Specialist at Spelman College who among other achievements, took their followership on Instagram from 4,400 to over 36,000 followers in 4 years and introduced different campaigns using video and other forms of content to facilitate this growth. She also created and runs the Black Girl Keto Instagram page with her best friend Keshia showcasing how they are finding success in improving their health through Keto and share recipes and ideas with their followers. Additionally, they run BlackAF, where they curate experiences for black people, by black people, and for the culture.
Ashli hosts a podcast called B4ninePodcast with her work husband Mashaun where they share their unapologetic perspectives about Blackness, popular culture, relationships, sex, and identity. She additionally designs and sews headwraps and face masks" from Wakanda and Atlanta" through her shop, Ashli James Collection.
Didn't I tell you she was a creative genius?! Before living the life of a modern-day polymath, she worked as Program Coordinator, Children Development Programs, and a Teacher & Program Assistant at The Frazer Center. Additionally, she owned and edited a blog called The Ashli James blog. Ashli was also a Design Assistant at Tian Justman Design Studio and a Marketing Intern at Atlanta Tribune: The Magazine.
Ashli graduated from Hampton University (The real HU, if you ask her) with a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Journalism and Leadership studies. She also has an associate's degree in Fashion/Apparel Design from Bauder University. One of Ashli's favorite quotes is "Haters gon hate, potatoes gon potate." The Audre Lorde quote above however is what is fueling how she lives and is manifesting her future. In her own words: "This quote is something I strive to accomplish at some point in my life—hopefully soon. Think about how powerful a life would be and the impact it would have (like Lorde’s) to be deliberate about everything and afraid of nothing. Whew!" I can imagine you guys are dying to read more about her journey, so here you go!
What does a typical day as a Social Media + Creative Content Specialist at a college look like?
It goes without saying that things have shifted dramatically in the last five months. Before the pandemic, a typical day might include meetings with campus partners who need advice on best practices for social media for their department accounts, capturing moments via photo and video around campus, posting, managing my student intern, and planning for the following week. Like many others, my day now consists of Zoom meetings with faculty, staff, and students. A big part of what I do now is brainstorming and trying to be as creative and innovative as possible with the fall semester being remote. My biggest challenge has been trying my best to maintain the same level of quality of content as before. I am working through it!
What are you passionate about? (In your work, personal life, or other)
I'm passionate about Black people! It's a HUGE part of the reason I decided to work at a Black (women's) college. I also love photography, sewing, and creative writing.
Author's note: Make sure you check out some of her ventures in the links above 😉
What do you find most challenging about being a Social Media + Creative Content Specialist?
I think the most challenging thing about this job is staying on top of new developments. The world of social media moves so fast and because it's still a relatively new medium, things are constantly changing. There's always a new app, feature, or something to learn. It can be dizzying.
What do you find most enriching about being a Social Media + Creative Content Specialist?
What I find most enriching about my job is being able to share the stories of the unique and extraordinary community I serve. It feels so good to elevate Black women!
How did you find yourself in your current career?
This position was a complete career change, but not unlike things I was doing in my personal life or what I went to college for (broadcast journalism - when I graduated my job wasn't a job). I was a blogger and had been managing my own account in a similar way to how an organization would manage their socials. I highlighted that and other transferrable skills in my interview and got the job!
Words of advice for anyone who wants to pursue this career?
If I had to lend advice to anyone wanting to pursue a career in social media management, I would tell them to ALWAYS be creative, innovative, and ready to learn new things. Make sure your grammar is on point and develop your photography/videography skills.
To learn more about Ashli's career journey and her philosophy on life, visit her LinkedIn page or her Instagram page.
Thanks for reading