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My Journey to Young Professional

My name is Ashley Abbey and for the past two years, I have had the opportunity to work at the Allan P. Kirby Center For Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship. This opportunity has changed my life, personally and professionally.

Professionally I began to understand what it was like to interact and collaborate with co-workers, work on real-life projects, and begin to build my professional network. The staff made me feel as though I had autonomy but was safe enough to make mistakes. My biggest professional take away is the ability to network. Jerry has easily taught me most everything I know about networking and has personally introduced me to professionals in the area.

Chuck Pierce truly is the Father of the scholars. Chuck helped me settle into my position at the center. He took time to understand who I was and what I wanted and needed out of this experience, he guided me to Michelle, who he knew would be able to relate to me and help me grow. I idealized Michelle and when the opportunity to share an office with her opened I jumped at it.

Sharing an office with Michelle and Katie did more for me than I hoped. In that office, I found some of my best friends. I felt inspiration and creativity like I had never felt before. It was magic. I became a new person, surrounded by like-minded people who cared about me. Michelle, Katie, and I, the team MAK, have fostered a relationship that will last a lifetime. Words can not describe the way MAK has changed my life for the better.

One of the biggest lessons from my entire college experience was to dream big. Dr. Rodney Ridley taught me that there are two types of people, visionaries, who dream big and see the big picture, and executors, who accomplish the dream task by task. I, like most scholars, am an executor, but sometimes struggle to dream big. Dr. Ridley taught me that I need to be both the visionary and executor of my own life.

I have learned so much from collaborating with the staff and scholars at the APKCFEE. And I am beyond thankful for this opportunity.

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