Name: Jordan Ashley
Current Position: Assistant Director of Marketing at Illinois State University
Number of Years in Current Position: 8 months
Conference: Missouri Valley Conference
Alma Mater(s): BS Presbyterian College 2016; MBA Illinois State University Dec 2019
Twitter Handle: @Jordan_Olivia15
LinkedIn Address: www.linkedin.com/in/jordan-ashley-2019
When/why did you decide to pursue a career in college athletics?
I decided on a career in college athletics after my first term with National SAAC. My passion for creating the best student- athlete experience possible was ignited. The fire is still burning strong!
What is one thing that has surprised you about working in this profession?
The amount of joy that comes from a perfectly executed timeout! Who knew?
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
“Everything you achieve in life is fundamentally determined by your thinking!”
Patti Phillips instilled these words of wisdom in me during the 2018 Women’s Leadership Symposium.
Who is your role model in this industry and why?
This industry is filled with role models, but I would have to say Zachary Schroeder, the Assistant Director of Athletics for Marketing at Illinois State University, is the role model most impacting me at this time. He manages our team with a transformational leadership style and inspires me daily. He goes to bat for his team and embraces change. While work is important, he makes family the first priority. Zach is a champion of women’s leaders and I consider myself blessed to get to work with such an inspirational role model.
What are your career aspirations?
I aspire to be an Athletic Director in or Commissioner of an FCS conference! Shout out to the 68 women hired into athletic director, commissioner and other leadership roles across all divisions in 2018!
What has been your most memorable moment on the job?
I got the opportunity to meet Henry Ullrich, an 8 year old boy with DMD, last baseball season. Pre-game, I took Henry and his father Jeffery on a tour of the facilities, introduced them to the team and then snagged some autographs. During the game, Henry sat up in the press box with me and helped pick the songs to play in between innings. This is when I learned that Henry is expected to lose all mobility at age 12 and has a life expectancy of 18...and yet he is so positive and the happiest person I’ve ever met!
Watching baseball, eating cookies and making up dance moves are just a few of the things that Henry and I found in common for the 4 hour Illinois State baseball double header. I knew right away this young boy was going to impact my life. His positive spirit and constant laughter was so uplifting, the hours felt like minutes, and before I knew it, the day was over.
It was this moment that I truly found my “Why” for working in college athletics. I love connecting student-athletes to fans! I love giving them the opportunity to inspire, motivate and simply make people happy! I also love building a fan base for student-athletes so they feel valued. Everyone likes to know that someone else cares about what they're working hard for. I believe this creates a sense of pride and establishes a winning culture. The Illinois State Baseball team made Henry’s day and gave me a friend for life. Marketing may be known as the "fun" department, but it does make a huge impact!
Henry and I still hang out and have even found out we have some mutual friends! Nothing beats a game of back yard baseball with this little boy!
Share one funny moment or story from game day.
Once, when giving a pre-game facility tour to group of Midwest 5th graders, I had a student raise his hand and ask, “Are you a real cowgirl?” Obviously he had never heard a South Carolina accent before!
If you weren’t working in college athletics, what would you be doing?
If I weren’t working in college athletics, I would be starting my own consulting firm focused on building high performance teams. I am passionate about diversity and inclusion, as well as, happiness and positivity in the work place. We spend more time with the people we work with than we do our own family, so work culture including the significance of leadership, motivation and engagement are very important to me.
Zach Schroeder, Assistant AD of Marketing at Illinois State University, on Jordan:
Jordan’s bold personality and desire to win have pushed our marketing team to become better since day one. She is really passionate about growing women’s basketball at Illinois State and her implementation of our first Education Day game had a wonderful return.