Celebrating Ashley Brown: The HR Recruiter Championing Women's Success through Volunteering
At Her Allies, volunteers are the backbone of our organization. They selflessly give their time and energy to support women in achieving their full potential. Ashley Brown is one of our exceptional volunteers whose passion for HR recruitment has significantly impacted the lives of many women.
Ashley's journey with Her Allies started serendipitously when she stumbled upon a LinkedIn post about the organization. She was seeking a volunteer experience that would fulfill her and enable her to contribute to a noble cause. As fate would have it, Her Allies presented the perfect opportunity as the mission of empowering women following a career break particularly resonated with her. Ashley herself has experienced two layoffs during her career. Ashley started as a mock interviewer and, after two successful sessions, approached Vicki Yang, the co-founder, to request additional opportunities to help. She participated in a panel discussion, and the experience was transformative.
According to Ashley, her decade-long career in HR recruitment has been a source of motivation to volunteer with Her Allies. She yearns to lend her expertise and support women in achieving their career aspirations.
"One of my favorite parts about recruiting is marrying the needs of hiring managers with candidates and their goals and hopefully uplifting some voices and stories that may be overlooked during the recruiting process. So, I love having a direct impact on candidates at Her Allies and saying all the things I don't get to say as a recruiter in interviews. So when these women go to their interview, they know how to show that 'marriage,' so to speak, can work."
Ashley's contribution to Her Allies has been immense, especially in conducting mock interviews. Through these interviews, she has observed that most interviewees struggle with being concise and making sure they address the "why" in their responses.
"Keep the why in mind – why is this important, why should the other person care, and why is that relevant to the role or organization," Ashley advises.
Empowering tips to overcome anxiety
In addition, Ashley shared some personal techniques she employs to overcome anxiety during interviews.
"I have a lot of anxiety, and I need to remind myself to keep the key points in mind. Earlier in my career it was beneficial to hold a bracelet to act as a tangible distraction, allowing me to stay mentally focused in the interview. (I would hold onto it in a non-visible way so as not to be a distraction to the interview panel)."
To help her remember these throughout her career, Ashley tracks big projects, unique approaches, and other key metrics on a document so she has these to use as stories in future interviews. Ashley then uses this library of stories that she draws upon during interviews, which helps her remember the twists and turns of her experiences.
Ashley also shared how her mentor advised her to physically stand up during phone screens as it promotes a sense of focus and professionalism. She's found this helps a lot of people perform better in virtual interviews than sitting.
Ashley's passion for uplifting women is evident in her reflections on women's challenges in job interviews. She notes that women tend to talk in "we" terms, and it's essential to learn to talk about their successes and assert themselves more.
"As a candidate, oftentimes you have the extremes, either too confident or you aren't giving yourself as much credit, especially as women. Now I'm at a non-profit, and as non-profits and as women, we talk in "we" terms instead of "I". We don't often say I led the project we say - "we." Even if we were the lead. Women need to learn to talk about their impact and leadership to flaunt it. Many people need to own their story more."
She encourages candidates to assert themselves more and talk about their accomplishments.
Ashley's expertise in recruiting and HR has helped her recognize that diversity, equity, and inclusion are crucial elements in recruitment. She notes that there are still some barriers in the recruitment process, which may affect candidates' chances of success.
Growth through volunteering
Ashley was a panelist for Her Allies in the fall of 2022 and found it to be a meaningful experience. "It was helpful that I wasn't the only presenter in the panel. Since I wasn't in a single spotlight, it helped me to cross-collaborate and not feel as much anxiety and discuss ideas with other recruiters," says Ashley.
One of the highlights of the panel discussion was the engagement from the candidates.
"It was really exciting and meaningful to me that candidates were asking lots of questions about format and size and basic questions, and you could see their heads turning. I could see why they weren't doing well in interviews, and they had concrete steps to improve their chances," says Ashley.
She encourages women to seek help, especially during the recruitment process, as it is easy to lose objectivity over time. She believes that some individuals find it challenging to accept that they may need external support.
"It's important at all stages of life, no matter your experience, to ask for help. Asking for help is okay. It doesn't negate your experience or skills."
Ashley believes in amplifying Her Allies' mission and impact. She would like to take more of a leadership role in the future and expand her volunteering work.
With her extensive experience, Ashley is a valuable asset to the Her Allies team, and her leadership and dedication will continue to inspire volunteers and candidates.
Her final piece of advice is "If you read a job description and are excited about it, just apply. There is no harm in applying. What's the worse that will happen? You are where you started. That's not so bad. And the best is an opportunity!"
Want to join an empowering community of volunteers like Ashley at Her Allies?