Grab a cup of tea, read on, and learn from this wise, inspiring woman.
Ashley Russo is a three-time Emmy® award-winning executive producer, president of ASR Media Productions and host of The PEAK TV and St. Luke’s HealthNow. Television productions include The PEAK TV, which airs weekly in Pennsylvania and New Jersey on WFMZ-Ch. 69 and nationally on DrTV channel; St. Luke's HealthNow, a quarterly program airing on WFMZ; as well as Roey's Paintbox, Fireflies Musical Yoga for Kids, Science Time, and It’s Delicious, all co-productions with PBS39. Russo is deeply committed to her community serves on the boards of United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley, Wildlands Conservancy, The Auxiliary of St. Luke's Hospital, and Donate.Local.Simple. Russo most recently chaired the Girl Scouts of Eastern PA’s record-breaking 2017 Take the Lead event, as well as Equi-Librium Derby Day and March of Dimes Chef Event. An active committee member, Russo supports the Lehigh Valley Food and Wine Festival, Northampton County Medical Society Alliance, and Lehigh Valley Polo for Equi-librium; she is also a member of the American Heart Association’s Circle of Red. A lifetime horse lover, Russo is a multi-time American Saddlebred world and national titled equestrian, a member of the United Professional Horsemen's Association, American Saddle Horse Association, Pennsylvania Saddle Horse Association, and a supporter of the American Saddlebred Museum. For more information, visit http://www.asrmediaproductions.com/
What does the word empower mean to you?
Empower means to lift others up and support their hopes and dreams. It also means to surround yourself with people who believe in you and want to see you succeed.
In what way(s) do you empower yourself? Others?
I am empowered by being in a creative work environment with an amazing team, supportive clients, and friends who cheer me on every step of the way. I am also empowered by giving back to the community and seeing the inspiring work of others in action. Lastly, I am empowered by my family…watching my children grow and learning from them everyday truly empowers me.
What is your favorite way to be mindful?
Mindfulness is a challenge for me. I try to take time out each morning to sip a cup of coffee while reading a brief article on positivity and then I make a list to prioritize my time. When I take the time to do this it puts me in a positive frame of mind to approach my family and my work day.
What’s your go-to phrase/mantra for empowering yourself?
“All ships rise in a rising tide” - this reminds me that collaboration and support of others is always more empowering than competition and negativity.
Who are your role models?
My Mom is my number one role model. She is a wonderful balance of grace and power. She is a CEO who is smart, diligent, patient and kind. I strive to be as level headed as her everyday.
Share a day in the life.
I don’t have a typical day and that’s what I love most about what I do! Every single day is unique and different. Most days with letting the dogs out, a work out, coffee, positive read/list making, kids to school or bus and off to work…all generally by 730am! Some days I start with a board meeting or community event, others on location for filming a story or video, and others at my office writing scripts or reviewing production plans with my team. From there my days are filled with filming, client meetings, community events, and team meetings. Most evenings I am picking up one or both of my children from activities and then head home to make dinner, help with homework and maybe get a load of laundry done. I try and take time for myself and my family to watch a movie, go to dinner, or play a game at least 2-3 nights a week. I generally jump back on email around 8-9pm and cleanup whatever was left from the day and mentally prepare for the next. It’s an exhausting and fulfilling life!
What’s your superpower?
One of my strengths is to be able to see the bigger picture and create systems and solutions to help things flow and work smoothly and efficiently. This is a great character trait for a producer! I also think I am pretty good at lifting people up and inspiring them to be the best version of themselves. It brings me great joy to mentor others, especially young women, and see them find themselves and something they are passionate about.
What advice would you give to your younger self/someone just starting out?
My advice to my younger self and people starting out in this business, or really any business, is to slow down. You do not need to accomplish your life’s work by 30. Have incredible dedication and work ethic as well as a positive attitude but take it easy on yourself. Enjoy life, find balance, and do something that truly gives you joy.
How do you deal with fear?
Fear can be a powerful emotion if you allow it to consume you, or worse, paralyze you. When I am fearful, I stop, step back, analyze, review with my team or trusted friends and advisors, get a good night’s sleep and make a plan! Being rested and having a plan always puts my mind at ease.
How do you balance it all?
HA! I don’t balance it all. I have an awesome family and tremendous team. I surround myself with people who cover my blind spots and lift me up. I am also getting better at prioritizing my time, saying no, and making time for myself. It’s a work in progress!
What would your favorite day look like?
My favorite day would start with a quiet 90 minutes to myself to workout and sip coffee while reading something inspirational. Next, I would enjoy breakfast with my family, horseback riding with my daughter, lunch with my friends, a siesta at home with the dogs, a coffee with my team, a massage with my Mom, and a quiet steak dinner and wine with my husband. Writing this makes me realize I need to make this day happen soon!
What lessons have you learned from motherhood?
Motherhood has taught me to appreciate the moment and try not to be clouded by plans for the future. I have certainly not perfected this, but the older my children get the more I realize that time is fleeting and the little moments really matter and need to be savored. If they want to snuggle or talk, I drop everything.
What does your future self want you to remember/know?
Don’t allow expectations to dictate your life. It’s important to have goals for your life, but not so much so that you are unable to see the goodness as it happens.
I want to remember that giving back to yourself, your family and your community is the greatest gift you can give yourself and those around you. There is no substitute for the gift of time.
Thank you, Ashley, for taking the time to share your wisdom with us!
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One Mindful Tribe: Empowered Women’s Leadership for Business and Home
Through my mindfulness work with women — moms in the trenches with little ones, leaders in the business world, artists honing their crafts — I have come to appreciate that we all share similar struggles regardless of life phase or occupation. We all profit from mindful awareness, learning to be authentic, empowering ourselves and our voices, and uncovering the power to lead. Whether managing a corporation or a household, mindful leadership teaches us how to be the best possible version of ourselves — benefitting our families, our businesses, and the world.