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SMCAA Operations Manager Named to Class of 2022 for Moody on the Market's Bold Women of Business

Moody on the Market - Bold Women of Business

Apr 18, 2022

First of its kind, the 2022 edition of Bold Women of Business recognizes female figures who are helping their organizations to grow, bring impact, and make a positive change.

Already honored earlier this year as one of Moody on the Market’s 40 Under 40 Young Professionals in Michigan’s Great Southwest and tabbed as a Rising Star by the Southwest Michigan Regional Chamber for 2022, Ashley Slack’s trophy case may need an addition if the pace continues. There’s no sign that there’s much slack in store for Ashley who can be found all across the region doing good by being great at what she does. As Operations Manager for the Southwest Michigan Community Action Agency, Ashley has played a pivotal role in making sure that residents of Benton Harbor gain access to clean water as the community works to emerge from the lead line water crisis that has impacted thousands. Read on for more of her outstanding work.

Name: Ashley Slack

Where do you live?: Watervliet, MI

Company or Organization: Southwest Michigan Community Action Agency

What is your job or role there?: Operations Manager

How do you think that Bold Women of Business demonstrate being bold?
Bold Women of Business are those women who have learned, through trial and error, to be confident and assertive of their own ideas, and outspoken about their values. Though such assertiveness may not come naturally to many women, these BOLD women recognize the need to be daring. They advocate for their passions and empower other women and future generations to acknowledge their talents as well.

Bold women are often defined by a number of descriptors. Please choose from the following descriptors to produce the top three that you would say most exemplify your personality?

Please provide an example of when you feel you were at your very best in taking action on the job or in your role.
Community Action has provided me a number of opportunities to take action in my role. However, the project I take the most pride in completing is the 2021 Community Needs Assessment. This project spanned the scope of 10 months and allowed me to take a deep dive into the needs of the vulnerable populations across Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren Counties. The project’s purpose was to identify the top five community needs and develop methods on how my Agency is and/or might provide an impact on improving the quality of life for low-income residents in Southwest Michigan. The final report has been shared with a number of community stakeholders, and is being used to develop or refocus programs and services to better help people and change lives.

What’s the funniest thing that ever happened on your road to success?
Not a “thing,” but the funniest realization for me is that I never know what to expect along my journey towards success. For example, I graduated college with a degree I never thought I would use. The degree required an internship as well, but I never considered what that internship could mean past another experience on my resume. Five years into my professional career in the event industry, and a contact from that internship reached out to inquire if I may be interested in a career shift. Fast forward, I am working for the Agency where I once interned and finding a sense of contentment in my career I never thought possible. Always trust the process!

Who most inspires your personal drive for success every day?
I find inspiration in a variety of people and things, but I would have to say that the person who most greatly inspires me professionally is my executive director. She has spent over 20 years with my agency, and her dedication to the Southwest Michigan community and SMCAA’s mission is tangible. Her passion for helping people motivates me every day, even during the hard and long days. She never complains about being tired or overworked; she simply smiles and keeps pushing forward. When I need that extra boost of inspiration in my own life, I seek out her opinion.

What is your best advice to women in Southwest Michigan looking to succeed, as you have, in business?
The best advice I can give to other women is to build your tribe. Network with others, both inside and outside your field, and form authentic connections with those who will push you to be your best self. I would not be where I am today without the gentle (and sometimes not-so-gentle) prodding of wiser, brighter, and stronger women who encouraged me to go outside my comfort-zone, picked me up when I fell, and kindly corrected me when I was wrong.

What does your selection to the first ever Bold Women of Business from Moody on the Market mean to you?
Our community is made up of some incredible women, and so many of them are making amazing impacts. It is an absolute honor to be recognized as one of those bold women. I appreciate Moody on the Market for developing its Bold Women of Business award, and look forward to nominating other women in the future who set good examples as to what it means to be a BOLD woman.

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