Interview with Dr. Ashley Cross, Executive Director of the Hub585
What is your passion?
I am passionate about working in the community to build and sustain hope in vulnerable children, families, and people passionate about improving their communities. I am also very passionate about Jesus!
Why is it important for young girls to develop leadership skills?
Young girls need to develop leadership skills, and I truly believe the younger, the better. Leadership is about knowing yourself and knowing your worth. It is about knowing what you bring to the table and being willing to invest in the lives of others. I believe young girls have the potential to be some of the world’s greatest leaders, but it takes intentionally developing them and investing in them. Leadership is required in everything. Whether you want to be a businesswoman, a medical professional, a pastor, a stay-at-home mom, a teacher, or a lawyer, it will take strong leadership. There is no place you can go to hide from leadership. So, we should teach young girls to see themselves as leaders and to carry themselves as such everywhere they go.
What 3 women do you admire most personally and professionally?
- My grandmother. I am because she is. My grandmother set the stage for my life. She started the first black-owned child placement agency in Denver, Colorado, and taught our family what it looked like to care for others selflessly. She is still alive today, and I am dedicated to spending my life making her proud. We have the same heart for people and vision for vulnerable children and families. I am proud to come from her legacy.
- Dana Thompson, the boss that left her footprint on my life. When I first went to work for Dana at a youth-serving nonprofit, she told me, “You have 3 years to start your girls home before I fire you.” I have never had a boss tell me I better go after my dreams, or she is firing me. She meant it because she believed in me. I will forever be grateful for Dana’s love, mentorship, wisdom, and sacrifice.
- Dr. Sherri Tapp. This was my advisor for my Doctoral Program and my mentor. She taught me the real meaning of trusting God. She was a woman of great faith and a personality that always put people first. When I found out I was pregnant in the middle of working on my degree, she was the first person I texted. I was afraid of failing, and like always, she reminded me of my worth, my value, and my ability. Dr. Tapp passed away last year, but she is forever living in my heart.
Why do you believe this year’s Women’s History Month theme: “Providing Healing, Promoting Hope,” is important?
I believe everything begins with hope. This is simply the belief that your future can be better than your past and that you have the power to make it so (Hellman). Hope gives life meaning, and healing brings joy and fulfillment to our lives. Life can get hard. Actually, it never gets easy. We just get stronger. When we provide healing and promote hope, we are developing a safe space for women to be human and to be seen and cared for. When we do this, we get better, and we get stronger. Furthermore, when women who lead understand the power of healing and hope, they cultivate spaces for those who follow them to be recipients of the power of hope and healing.
Throughout March, GSWNY will be highlighting more local women making HERstory in the community. Celebrate Women’s History Month with us by sharing the stories of these incredible women who help make the world a better place!