This week’s Women’s Month client feature is extra special. Ashley Paré noticed an absence of tools catered to empower women’s growth in the workforce. As a result, she founded Own Your Worth, a company dedicated to supporting women as they ask for raises and promotions or come across other difficult conversations in their career.
Moira Studio: Please tell us a little bit about what you do, because you do amazing work.
Ashley Paré: I’m the founder and CEO of Own Your Worth, which is a coaching business for helping women negotiate their worth. I’m working with women who are negotiating raises, promotions, new job offers, and looking to be leaders within their company, helping them to grow their careers, and advocating for them so they can advocate for themselves at work.
MS: I’m sure you encounter a lot of women that are trying to get into male-dominated industries and companies. What advice do you have for them at this point?
AP: A lot of my background is in corporate HR and working in tech, so I’m familiar with being the only woman at an all-male table. It can be anxiety-inducing, or if you’re maybe having apprehension about whether or not that’s a field you want to move into, I understand. But I also look at it as: it’s what made me who I am today. I’ve had really great, unique experiences that helped me to build my confidence, to see myself in new ways. There’s challenges at work no matter what the team makeup is. So, if you’re in an all women’s group, there’s still challenges. I think no matter what, if you’re able to be confident in your career and move towards what you want, and if you are looking at a field that is male-dominated, you can open the door for another woman to join you–to help bring more women into the field. I definitely encourage women to do that so that way we can help lift each other up and make it easier for all of us to join and break down barriers.
MS: And what do you feel is the most empowering thing about being a woman in this day and age–where we are right now?
AP: I think that we all have untapped superpowers. I believe that we have the capability to create the life of our dreams, and to really lift up and inspire each other. And when we really tap into our own confidence and truth, the world is our oyster, and now that we have kind of a door open, and we’re all speaking truths, there’s nothing that can stop us. Most women–a lot of women–are mission-driven, are purpose-driven, want to make an impact, and that just makes the world a better place, and so I love seeing the connections in women-owned businesses, and helping support each other to make a difference in the world. That’s what I think being an empowered woman really means to me.
MS: What is the best thing about working with other women in business?
AP: I think there’s so many great things, but it’s really about supporting each other, understanding the challenges that we have if we are up against a room full of men, or if the right path hasn’t been paved for us before, I just think women support each other, and when we’re able to do that we have a lot of success. Being a woman in business, it’s my mission to help other women grow, achieve, and succeed. It’s been really exciting to kind of have this little club of women business owners that we can lean on for support, and share out stories, because it’s really about our relationship and our connections. I think women are able to pass business that way, grow their business, all from a relationship standpoint, and that really is an asset that we have.
MS: Tell us a little more about your journey to your position as coach for negotiation and helping women be leaders. And how did you decide that you wanted to be involved in this?
AP: I kind of created my company out of a need of my own. I didn’t have a strong mentor–male or female–throughout my career that I could really lean on as I was growing and moving up the ladder and facing conversations. After a difficult conversation with a former boss of mine, where I asked for a raise and the conversation didn’t go well, I really realized that I wanted to do something about that experience that I had. To prevent other women from having to go through it and to encourage them to prepare for tough discussions at work. That led me to volunteering with the city of Boston to facilitate salary negotiation workshops with the AAUW and WorkSmart. From there my business grew organically. I had lines of women waiting to talk with me about how they can ask for a promotion, trying to better understand the recruiting process from an HR perspective. I had this epiphany that I needed to share my message, and share my experience, and help women grow their career in corporate America, because it is challenging but it can also be rewarding. It all happened perfectly.
MS: What is the most challenging part of your job and being a woman in this field?
AP: I think the most challenging part of being a woman business owner is finding even mentors in this space. I think there are more and more woman-owned businesses being created, but it’s harder to find someone with a long-term success. Finding my own community in this space since I don’t have an office to go to anymore with a group of coworkers, it’s really putting myself out there to create my network and create opportunities for myself. That’s been an empowering challenge, but still a challenge. If someone is considering going off on their own to run their business, having a network is key.
MS: What achievement are you most proud of?
AP: Starting my own business and growing it organically and having success. And defining what success now looks like for me. I’m very proud of leaving a successful corporate HR career to forge my own path and kind of dive into the unknown. So, I’ve taken a huge leap of faith and followed my gut. I’m very proud of that, and I feel very honored to work with the women that I’m able to work with and that I’ve been able to take that jump and take that risk. It’s been amazing.
MS: Is there a particular woman in your field that inspires you?
AP: Yes, so Gabby Bernstein is definitely a mentor and an inspiration to me. She has not only created a very, very successful business through coaching and an online business, but also her work…she is considered to be a spiritual leader of our generation. She has been able to combine the “woowoo” as people say with business and empowering women. I really appreciate that, I love her business model, I love that she’s able to offer services at all levels for women at all stages. And she really has a great program in creating your own business. That was a huge opportunity for me that I’m really grateful for and I love looking to her for inspiration.
MS: Is there anything that pushed you towards working with Moira, an all-female team?
AP: Yes, I think it’s important to support other woman-owned businesses. You and I met through a referral, so I heard amazing things about your work and your team. This was when I was very early in starting my business and you had the experience, you came well-trusted, then I saw your work and I was like “wow, I want that.” Working with you has been really, really great, because you take the time to get to know me and my story and my passion and my business and you ask me tough questions. I feel like that’s really important. We’ve built trust in our own relationship where we can have that type of relationship, which really benefits my business.
MS: Why is it important that women support each other in business?
AP: I think about it as setting an example for the generations to come. And really creating more opportunity. The world is changing, there is gonna be a shortage of talent from a tech perspective. The world can be your oyster, and if you’re supporting women businesses and women in business, it gives young girls someone to look up to–a new career path, they can see themselves in you, and so being able to offer that opportunity to someone else who’s growing up and has a dream and also that it’s possible to get there is really important.
Mentorship is such a useful and necessary support when building your career. If you’re a woman struggling to navigate a male-dominated industry, or if you just want to fill your life with empowering women, check out Ashley’s website.