Growing up, Ashley wanted to be an architect like her dad. She loved sitting together at the drafting table in their garage sketching ideas and building things. In other words, prototyping. She later learned in her coursework at Duke and studying abroad in Copenhagen, that she much prefers prototyping business ideas to actual buildings. Shortly after graduating, she kickstarted a consulting career at Bain.
After several years at Bain, Ashley had a hankering to do more operational work and wanted to explore the world of Silicon Valley. So, she subsequently joined Thumbtack’s product team as a Category Manager, responsible for customer experience and growth within the Events & Weddings categories. From running simulations with clients during her tenure at Bain to wire-framing product ideas at Thumbtack, Ashley has consistently used prototyping as a tool to gather feedback and rapidly iterate on ideas and product improvements throughout her career. She believes “prototyping is a key tool in the entrepreneur’s toolkit, as it enables you to ‘fail fast and iterate faster.’”
Ashley was first exposed to venture capital while working on a fundraising pitch deck at Thumbtack. The industry piqued her interest because of its ability to “see into the future and its proven track record of identifying and supporting trends before they become established.” Ashley eventually left Thumbtack to study at Stanford GSB, while simultaneously exploring starting her own company and doing consulting projects for startups to financially support herself. Said projects helped her realize that she prefers to deep-dive into several different industries at once, and that she’s energized by partnering with entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into reality. Enter Lightspeed.
A member of Lightspeed’s consumer investing team, Ashley works closely with early-stage companies to crack their growth strategy. And she’s maintained her keen eye for craftsmanship along the way. According to Ashley, “craftsmanship is a spirit; it’s a way of building and creating that compels the creator to care deeply for the people they are creating for. It gives the creator the patience to understand their specific needs and translate that understanding into solutions to make their lives easier, healthier, and more inspired.”