January’s Contractor of the month: Ashley Powdar
Congratulations to Ashley Powdar, our January Contractor of the Month! Learn more about Ashley (she designs textiles in her “spare time”!) and what she likes about working for TorchLight Hire.
Where did you grow up and where did you go to college? What did you study?
My family and I moved several times for my dad’s job so I grew up between Florida, Illinois, Connecticut, and New York. I studied abroad twice, my first year abroad was as a junior in high school with Rotary International. I was assigned to Valladolid, Spain. My second year abroad was a junior in college in Shanghai, China. I went to Pace University and studied Political Science and Modern Languages and Cultures. My parents hoped I’d be a translator or an ambassador because of how quickly I pick up languages, but I like using languages and travel in a creative art form rather than political expression!
What did (or do!) you want to be when you grow up? How did you get into marketing and communications?
My aspirations changed with each phase of life, at first I wanted to be an Olympian because I was a competitive gymnast for 9 years but I retired at 12 (seriously!) Then I wanted to be a seamstress because I liked making clothes. Then I wanted to be a translator because I liked to write, became obsessed with history, and learned languages quickly. In middle school, we just moved to Connecticut and I didn’t test into taking a foreign language so I was kept in reading until 10th grade, but I knew my test scores were much higher than standard reading. I found the opportunity to study abroad with Rotary International. While studying abroad I learned I was good at non-verbal communication especially since I didn’t speak any Spanish yet lived with a host family and attended a local high school. During the first 6 months of silence, I became an avid reader and writer. At month 7 the floodgates opened and I was dreaming in Spanish and finally able to communicate with others after 1 year. I never stopped reading and learning languages – in college my favorite classes were debate, languages, literature, and history. I guess my study abroad experiences were my official induction into communications! Also, my mom is an avid reader and writer and she taught me to read before kindergarten so I have to give her some credit 🙂
What do you like to do for fun? (Pre-COVID or currently or both 😊)
I love to travel, sew and design textile prints
Favorite food? Drink?
I’m not a picky eater, I love all cuisine.
One bucket list destination…
Machu Picchu and the Nazca Lines in Peru
What’s the best advice a manager has ever given you?
To find my voice and to use it
What advice would you give to someone just starting out in their career?
Observe the room, step outside of yourself, and insecurities to actively listen to what someone is saying. We only communicate a small amount verbally, the rest is non-verbal communication and body language.
What work accomplishment are you most proud of?
Having the confidence to express myself creatively and offer a different perspective in the room. Understanding it’s a strength to have a different background, not a deterrent.
What has been the biggest plus about working from home during the pandemic? Challenge?
I’ve gotten a lot of home projects completed and spent time making my space a warm and cozy home. One challenge has been missing the daily interactions and lunches with my coworkers! Sometimes its hard to feel connected over Zoom.
What do you like about being a TorchLight contractor?
The comradery and friendships made with other Torchlight contractors as well as the frequent communication and support from the Torchlight team!