Northwest Arkansas is home to some of the smartest and most inspiring entrepreneurs. We’re proud to feature a few of our female clients who are leading the way in business. We asked them to talk about the importance of being a woman in leadership in today’s climate. They each tell their stories of overcoming obstacles, hopes for the future and give advice for younger women coming up in the ranks.

Owner, Osage House

Being a business owner, and as a woman, I find that creating a “work culture” to support women is ever more important due to the roles of women today being so multi-faceted. Women’s roles have evolved in the last decade, and the mainstream work force has not necessarily evolved with them. In my business and for the women that work with me, I try my best to lift them up and allow them to be their whole selves, integrating life + work in order to fit the additional roles they take on. Being able to create a “work culture” that allows women to be who they are and thrive not only in the workplace, but as moms, wives, grandmothers, volunteers, etc., has been one of the most rewarding parts of leading this business.

Anyone starting their own business faces obstacles, and as a woman in my 30s with no business background, there were many obstacles; people who thought I couldn’t do it or do it well, the learning curve of getting into the industry, and learning how to build and run a business in general, to name a few. Having to prove my worth and that I could make it happen was my own obstacle and I think sometimes we are our own obstacle. Going with my gut and not defaulting to the input of others is one of the biggest things I’ve had to overcome. My hope for the future of women in business is that women would take more risks, set lofty goals and go after them, and do things that make change happen. I hope to share my experience in a way that supports other women and encourages them to take those risks and build a career that fits into the life they want, not a life that is dictated by a career. My advice for younger women in business is this. 1. Don’t compare to what others are doing or where they are in their own career. 2. Set goals and develop plans to achieve them. 3. Surround yourself with others who encourage you but also tell it like it is. 4. You don’t need anyone’s approval on what makes you feel fulfilled.

You can view Ashley’s segment in the Females in Leadership section of the 2022 3W Magazine here.