Ashton Hughes has been a member of Collegiate Women in Business (CWIB) since September of 2016! She joined CWIB as a freshman because she had an older friend who went to Virginia Tech at the time who told her about it. Ashton decided to join the organization because she felt inspired by the CWIB founders and their professionalism. She has not left since. In the three years that she has been involved, Ashton has grown as a professional woman in business, and she now wants to apply her lessons to empower, prepare, and connect other CWIB women!
In her career, Ashton aims to be a financial planner for individuals, families, and small businesses. Her personal goal is to continuously help guide others through every financial milestone in their life. On her journey to achieve her career goals, she was able to obtain an internship with Canal Capital Management, an independent financial planning and investment firm, this summer! Ashton credits CWIB with teaching her the skills that are necessary to go after the career you desire and empowering her to self-advocate and gain opportunities.
As Ashton prepares to enter her senior year, she wants to help empower younger members in ways CWIB has helped and empowered her. “CWIB has been an integral part of my career journey,” Ashton said. “CWIB taught me how to make my first resume, the do’s and don’ts of interviewing, and how to build my personal brand. This organization has given me alumni mentors and a network that has been so generous to me. Most importantly, CWIB has empowered me to feel confident in the professional world.”
Ashton’s biggest motto in life is “I am my best advocate.” She found this motto when she realized that filling out an application with a resume and a transcript was not going to get her the best opportunities. She has learned about her strengths and her passions and now wants to teach others that succeeding professionally involves recognizing your weaknesses and capitalizing on your strengths. “School hasn’t always been a walk in the park for me,” Ashton said. “But I am intensely passionate about helping others succeed, and my strengths lie in communication. I learned that I had to make the extra effort to meet in-person with people, and have a genuine conversation.” Advocating for your strengths and knowing your weaknesses gives you the ability to present yourself in the best manner and succeed!
One piece of advice that Ashton would give to other CWIB members is to not wait around for opportunities but to instead go out and seize them yourself with confidence. She believes that if you want something to happen in your life, it is your place to make it happen. “If you see an internship or job with qualifications and you don’t meet every single one, apply anyway. Reach out to professionals for lunches, coffees, a phone call, and LEARN from them,” Ashton said. She believes that asking for advice from professionals can bring many opportunities, and that could all stem from just one email! Taking the step to put yourself out there is the only way for people to know and remember you.
Ashton has found CWIB to be a place of education, empowerment, and mentorship and she has many goals for the future of CWIB! As the incoming Co-CEO of CWIB, Ashton wants the organization to be a network of driven women who are rooting for each other’s success. “As CWIB gets older I hope we can really tap into a strong alumni base all over the country,” Ashton said. “The job for us now is to really cement a clear and unique identity not only here at Virginia Tech, but beyond it as well.” She has committed to seeing this organization reach its potential and provide strong value to its members. “The fact that we have such a devoted and talented leadership team, staff writers, and general membership is what makes Collegiate Women in Business at Virginia Tech so special.” Empowering women is rooted in CWIB’s culture and Ashton wants that to see that continue for years to come.
Ashton is a prime example of someone who has seen the value that Collegiate Women in Business can bring its members. Anyone can pay dues, but if you really want to set yourself apart to get your dream internship and job, get involved in the organization! Ashton, we are looking forward to seeing you continue to empower other women in CWIB as one of the Co-CEO’s next year. Our organization is very lucky to have such dedicated, successful, and inspiring leaders like you!
By: Lina Al Taii