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School of Journalism and New Media
University of Mississippi

University of Mississippi journalism alumna fights for women in the workforce

Posted on: April 21st, 2021 by ldrucker

Ole Miss graduate Ashley Miles has come a long way from selling advertising for The Daily Mississippian. The founder and CEO of Franklyn West, a business consulting firm, is now on a mission to help women succeed in the workforce.

Miles, who earned her journalism degree in 2005, is also the current president of New York Women in Communications (NYWICI). One of her first initiatives was launching a project called “Women Heard” to address pandemic job loss among women.

“I see an enormous opportunity across the country and the industry to help propel women forward,” Miles said. “Currently, in a post-pandemic world, women will not recover for two years from this job loss. That’s four times slower than men.”

Ashey Miles

Ashey Miles

According to a National Women’s Law Center statistic on the NYWICI website, as a result of pandemic-related job loss, “more than 2.3 million women have left work entirely, putting women’s participation rate in the labor force at 57%, the lowest it’s been since 1988.”

The “Women Heard” initiative includes a national study in partnership with Meredith Corp, Bloomberg and FCB, to determine why the pandemic led to disproportionate job loss for women specifically and how women can be better supported going forward.

“I would feel accomplished if we built mass awareness around the issue and brought women back to a reimagined workplace, by deeply understanding her pain points,” Miles said.

As a mother and a prominent businesswoman in the communications industry, Miles is passionate about the success of women, but she said she hasn’t let her gender define her career. When asked if being a woman has had an impact on her success, Miles said, “Yes and no. The facts are that there are challenges to being a female business leader, but I never let that stop me from pursing my dreams of helping businesses and leaders reach their full potential.  I embrace my unique qualities and focus on driving results.”

Miles encourages women to “try not to focus on what’s not working in our favor, block out the noise, dream without bounds and take action.”

Miles spoke recently to students in the School of Journalism and New Media’s integrated marketing communications program about some of the things that have helped her succeed. She said she gives “so much credit to both my experience in the journalism school at Ole Miss and my advertising sales and marketing experience with The Daily Mississippian.”

Many of the students in the audience will graduate in May, and Miles left them with some encouraging advice, “From a mindset perspective, anything is possible. This is an amazing time to invent yourself in corporate America.”

This story was written by Leah MacFarland.

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