BA 2010, Brian Lamb School of Communication
Operations Manager, MatchBOX Coworking Studio LLC, Lafayette, IN
Ashley Scott is a natural at fostering connections: between businesses and communities, between young professionals, and between individuals and their goals. As operations manager and community curator at MatchBOX Coworking Studio, she oversees a shared work and creative space for entrepreneurs and office nomads. Her skills at bringing people and ideas together were evident at Purdue, where she worked to form the Black Thought Collective. After graduation, she worked in Purdue’s Office of Admissions and later encouraged urban entrepreneurs in her position at digitalundivided. She also started and maintains Ashley G. Scott Consulting and the meetup group Black Professionals of Greater Lafayette. It’s no surprise that she was selected as the Purdue Alumni Association’s 2011 Outstanding Young Alumna, one of Tippy Connect’s Top 10 Under 40 from Greater Lafayette Commerce, and one of Northeast Indiana’s 101 Connectors.
At MatchBOX she has continued to build her skills. “In September of 2013, I was 25 years old and starting my new job at MatchBOX Coworking Studio” recalls Scott. “I’m the first full-time employee of MatchBOX, so not only did they trust me to introduce the concept of a shared work environment to the Greater Lafayette community, but also they felt I represented the type of talent a space like MatchBOX was designed to attract and retain in central Indiana.”
“Shortly after I was hired, the organization decided to hold a press conference announcing my arrival. The mayor of Lafayette, the community’s director of economic development, and one of MatchBOX’s other co-founders gave humbling remarks about my addition to the team—I felt honored to stand in their presence. I’ll never forget the warm welcome I received and the flurry of media attention it generated.
As a communication major at Purdue, I found that everyone seemed to dread associate professor Josh Boyd’s Critical Perspectives on Communication course. They said it was tough, and I remember taking that class very seriously. In the end I got an A, and I feel as though the rhetorical principles and critical thinking skills I mastered continue to help me progress in my career today.
I was also a first generation college student, so the women of color I met on the faculty and staff throughout Purdue helped me to visualize what life would be like for me after college. They encouraged me to finish on time and maintain good grades. With the support of my family and campus administrators, I was inducted into Mortar Board National Senior Honors Society and Lambda Pi Eta Communications Honor Society.
One of my proudest accomplishments has been the conception, creation, and implementation of the Black Thought Collective, an intellectual ensemble adopted and funded by the Purdue University Black Cultural Center (BCC) in 2008. This was the first time I identified an opportunity for growth in the structure of a major institution’s framework and proposed an applicable and viable solution that would directly affect the quality of life for an entire community. Most importantly, I acted on behalf of my fellow students, stood up for what I believed in, and fulfilled a need that at the time wasn’t being met. Along with an academic ensemble, the formation of the Black Thought Collective created two part-time jobs and an opportunity for the BCC to expand its connection with the University as a whole. It also provided a means for national exposure; the Black Thought Collective presented a roundtable at the 2008 National Council of Black Studies annual conference. In 2009, the intellectual ensemble was welcomed as a permanent fixture at Purdue.
Today I cherish the relationships I formed on campus—everyone from my best friend and college roommate to the vast network I’m connected to through the Purdue Alumni Association. When I meet people affiliated with Purdue, I want to know them, because they’re likely passionate about their work, experts in their industry, and driven to reach their highest goals, just like me. Those are the types of people I want to continue to be surrounded by, and I’m thankful my Purdue network makes that easy.
My greatest achievement is the fact that every day I push myself to live my dreams. I wait for permission from no one, and I was able to test the waters of entrepreneurship on Purdue’s campus when I started my first business as a junior in the neighboring city of Lafayette. My efforts were met with nothing but support and encouragement. That left a big impression on me, and since then I’ve celebrated my entrepreneurial spirit and let it work for me rather than against me as I continue to advance in my career and entrepreneurial endeavors.
Person I Admire
My parents are my biggest supporters and favorite role models. I can count on them to have my back and I admire and appreciate their unconditional love. I thank them for not stifling my growth and respecting my need for freedom and self-expression. My mother’s love of beautiful design and my father’s love of technology truly influenced the skill set I use every day.
Idea of Perfect Happiness
My idea of perfect happiness is pure love and positivity. I don’t believe in belittling others, cynicism, or self-doubt. I want to see everyone thrive and if I can make a connection to another individual, organization, event, or piece of information that will help you grow, I will—and I expect others to do the same for me. There’s enough to go around. I exist in a constant state of abundance; I’m not distracted by fear, competition, or the false threat of scarcity. Truth to me feels like pure love.
What I’m Reading
Startup Communities: Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your City, by Brad Feld, and #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso.
Profession I’d Like to Try
I want to run my own tech-enabled company and I also want to help young women uncover ways they can tap their full potential. I’ve been blessed to organize www.bloom4girls.org, where Natasha Watkins, a clinical assistant professor of human development and family studies at Purdue, and I host workshops teaching teenage girls how to set and reach their goals.
Recently, I decided to launch two new startups—one called www.curlyincollege.com, an online magazine for black men and women rocking natural hair on campus, and the other called Bloomberry Designs. It’s a lifestyle brand I’ve just started building where I’ll showcase inspiring home decor fixtures for young professionals. I’m still learning a lot about the interior design and textile industries and could use a mentor, but I’m passionate about the first product I want to sell! Stay tuned.