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Ashley Watson was raised by her mother and grandmother. In St. Petersburg, Florida, she faced her first bout with adversity in becoming a teenage mother to support her family, she opted to work in the medical field and obtained her Nursing Assistant certification. It was there, that she leaned on her medical industry skills in her quest for more significant development and expansion. Working at the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations in Tallahassee, allowed her to shift into the government sector. As a result of her professional change and increased financial acumen, Ashley was able to relocate to Columbia, Maryland, to continue raising her family.
In a fresh start, Ashley chose to conquer the transportation and logistics sector after moving and refining her business acumen in the medical field and working for the government. Being unafraid by new challenges, she decided to enter the male-dominated transportation industry in order to bring her caring touch from nursing and the structure of her government experience to the world of logistics. With that goal in mind, Ashley decided to hang up her heels and pursue a career as a professional driver with a Class A CDL.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) hosted the Biden-Harris administration’s Truck Action Plan Roundtable Discussion, in which Ashley was involved in. Participants in this discussion included representatives from the Biden-Harris Administration, the FMCSA, logistics organizations, transportation providers, and port drivers to talk about attracting and maintaining diverse drivers in the trucking industry.
As a result, NMWAIT, Inc. was graciously invited to the White House on April 4, 2022, to attend the Biden Trucking Action Plan event. Additionally, she has had meetings with several state lawmakers, including the senate offices Tammy Duckworth, Melony Griffith, and Gary Peters. Her goal is to increase the visibility, capacity, and profitability of professional minority women and men in the transportation industry.
Ashley prides herself in being an innovative, team-centric leader with over 20 years of multi-faceted experience excelling at developing strategies, talent development, and implementing strategic solutions for organizational and individual growth. It has been Ashley's personal mission to help over 500 companies develop and reorganize their infrastructure to position their companies for profitable growth. As a result of this, Cohesive Solutions, LLC, was established as a compliance solutions agency specializing in DOT and FMCSA compliance management. Her deeper purpose; however, inspired her to want to assist and guide over 1,000 minority women entering the trucking industry who had been discouraged and left feeling they had no safe and supportive environment to be successful in. With the support of other forward-thinking minority professionals and business owners, she founded the National Minority Women Association in Transportation, Inc. (NMWAIT) in 2021 with the mission of assisting women in advancing their careers, achieving financial security, and closing the gender gap between male and female truck drivers.
As a philanthropist, she values collaborative leadership that is not only strong in community engagement but consistently demonstrates results. Ashley recently spoke at a community fundraiser for Girls, Inc. to discuss her career transition and opportunities within the transportation industry. In addition, she organized Trucker Matter², a community appreciation and awareness event with Truckers Against Trafficking, Transfix, RoadPro, and Blue Tiger. The Trucker Matter² CAA event's goals were to maintain truck drivers' engagement, field driver complaints, provide essential commodities, and—most importantly—to distribute vital literature regarding NMWAIT's “We Believe” campaign initiative. The “We Believe” campaign was designed to raise awareness about the significance of supporting survivors of sexual assault and sex trafficking across all industries, regardless of gender. Ashley is an excellent example of how to lead various cross-functional teams in producing results in an ever-changing environment.
When Ashley is not managing her compliance company or fulfilling her responsibilities as the president of a minority women-owned advocacy nonprofit organization, she is a passionate homeschooling mother who enjoys traveling (in other words, trucking local, semi-regional, and occasionally long haul) and inspiring and elevating the generation of the future.
One of her many favorite quotes by Shirley Chisholm is:
"You don’t make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining - you make progress by implementing ideas.
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