Ashley Merrill is the founder of Lunya, a sleepwear brand committed to making women’s lives better through product, experience, and example. Ashley is an active supporter and board member of Girls Inc. and invests in many female entrepreneurs and funds.
The best career advice I’ve ever received was that you should build for the company you want, not the company you have. My personal challenge has been around spending the money and taking the chances necessary to actualize the growth we want to see.
A major challenge I’ve faced was learning how to separate myself so I could tell people the honest truths they need to hear. I got a coach and she has really helped me see candor as a gift to myself and the person I’m leading.
The woman who changed my life is my mom. She never hid some of the challenges she faced as a stay-at-home mom from me. Her honesty has probably guided how I value my career and my need for personal fulfillment outside of family and motherhood.
I tap into creativity and inspiration by reading, traveling, looking at art, and hanging out with intellectual people. Being around people who help me question my world or see things in a new light keeps me thinking and inspired.
In my business I empower women by helping them understand the “why” and having a high bar. Helping someone understand the why versus just telling someone to do something helps them grow and develop their frame of thinking. I like to challenge people to reach their potential, which is often greater than they thought.
The thing I’ve achieved that I am most proud of is becoming more confident and comfortable in my own skin and not needing as much external validation.
As I’ve gotten older I’ve learned to appreciate and love myself versus just beat myself up like I did when I was in my twenties.
My management style is supportive, but I will push you hard on how you think and why you think that way. The biggest difference between a junior and senior person is an informed, big-picture way of thinking as well as a total ownership mindset. I encourage people to think like this at every stage of their career.
The biggest gamble I’ve ever taken is starting Lunya. So far, so good!
My first job was an analyst at a venture capital firm, and what I learned from it was how to think objectively about business.
The one thing I would like to say to every woman in the world is be the change you want to see in the world. If we all live to our fullest potential there is no telling the ceilings we will shatter.