Alumna Ashley Nelson received the 2019 Outstanding Alumni Award from the James M. Hull College of Business. Ashley is from Thomson, Georgia, where she attended Thomson High School and graduated in the top five percent of her class, with honors and a college prep diploma. Shortly after graduating high school, Ashley attended former Augusta State University. She graduated in 2008 with a Bachelors of Business Administration and in 2011 with a Masters of Business Administration.
At the time Ashley started her bachelor’s degree, she was unsure of what she wanted to be and/or what to pursue. Ashley received a scholarship to Augusta University to pursue a degree in Vocal Education. This was something she enjoyed but was not something she felt could be a long-term career. In her junior year, Ashley decided to explore new options with the help of Dr. Melissa Furman. After some testing and job shadowing, Ashley found her first job with her current employer ADP, LLC and began to pursue a business degree from the Hull College of Business. When asked about her experience at the Hull College, Ashley said, “The Hull College was such a great choice for me, as it kept me close to home, provided for all my educational needs, and allowed me a unique college experience.” When asked if she could do it all over again, Ashley stated that she wouldn’t rush to the finish line, in school or in her professional career. “I stepped out of high school and immediately into college, looking to finish quickly and move up the corporate ladder. While I was able to do both, with much support and prayer from family and friends, I didn’t take time to smell the roses and enjoy the journey.”
Ashley’s advice to students is to not have all the answers at the onset of their journey. Students should learn some along the way, because they will change their minds as they gain additional perspective, and maybe even change their minds again. Ashley encouraged students to take the time to enjoy their journey, ‘smell the roses’ and be curious. “Ask lots of questions and don’t be so serious all the time.” Learn to laugh at yourself and be a good team player. Ashley ended, saying students should also network. Every day is an interview and students never know who they are going to meet. Ashley encouraged students to always have a professional demeanor and dress for the job they want, not for the job they have.
In 2008, Ashley began her career with ADP. Ashley began as an individual contributor yet was quickly promoted to front-line leadership within five years and senior leadership within eight years. In her leadership role at ADP, Ashley is able to hire new graduates from the Hull College and has found them to be a great pipeline for her current employer. During her interviews, Ashley seeks certain qualities to help select the right candidate: an unparalleled drive to succeed, an ambition to make things better, not just looking for promotion or a title, and a personality and ability to carry on a conversation at a personal and professional level, as well as the skills for the job and team. Ashley currently has four Augusta University alumni on her team in Georgia.
Ashley is currently living in El Paso, Texas. She was transferred to support the local ADP Office. Ashley has been married to husband, Trenton L. Nelson, for almost three years and they have a beautiful 11-month-old, Jackson B. Nelson. She also has the pleasure of being a “bonus mom” to Katelyn J. Nelson, and William T. Nelson. The Nelson Family attends Harvest Community Church in El Paso, Texas where she and her husband serve as part of the leadership team for the Here and Now Youth. Unfortunately, Ashley was unable to attend the 2019 Alumni Banquet but stated, “I am very humbled. I wish I could take some credit for where I am in life. Receiving this award means I have made an impact in my community and now I get to share my journey and what I have learned.” Ashley is a great example of how the Hull College is advancing the future of business and its workforce through high-quality business education, distinctive academic programs, and experiential learning opportunities. The faculty and staff are proud to have Ashley Nelson represent the Hull College as its Outstanding Young Alumna for 2019.