On this episode of The Staffing Show, Ashley Andersen, SVP of ClearEdge Rising, joins the podcast to talk about a leadership development program specifically designed for women. She talks about the power that comes through growth in a connected community, and also how the teachings of Brené Brown have influenced her coaching practices. She also touches on how vulnerability powers true connection and how relationships are central to well-being both personally and professionally.


David Folwell: Hello everyone. Thank you for joining us for another episode of The Staffing Show. Today I’m joined by Ashley Andersen, who is the SVP of ClearEdge Rising. Ashley, thanks so much for joining us today. Super excited to have you on the show. To kick things off, could you give a little background on yourself and how you got into the staffing industry?

Ashley Andersen: Yeah, thanks for having me, David. I’m so glad to be here today. So I am with ClearEdge Rising. If you’re not familiar with that, we are a new division from ClearEdge Marketing, which has been around for the past 17 years. We actually just celebrated our 17th year anniversary birthday, whatever you want to call it. Exciting either way. So I don’t have a traditional background in staffing, if you will, and I just kind of entered into this world with coming on ClearEdge Rising in February, the end of February this year.

But my background in human behavior, psychology, social work, learning and development, professional coaching, the leadership and executive kind, not the sports kind. I actually started my career as a child protection case worker. So knocking on people’s doors in those very worst moments of their lives and really having to have hard conversations and collectively kind of figure out what was happening below the surface, bringing in the complexities of what it means to be a human in relationship with other humans, all that messiness. But then really trying to move forward towards what was possible, what was needed next, how do we help the human here, so much more than the obstacle that they’re facing, and how do we move forward in a way that everyone wins?

So my work, in a lot of ways, since those days, has drastically changed. I am no longer going to people’s doors and sitting on their couches in terrible moments, but in many ways my work hasn’t changed at all, because I have spent my career doing a lot of that same work. So having those hard but compassionate, although I should say and… hard and compassionate conversations, but with leaders and really helping them to see what’s happening below the surface of the obstacle that they’re facing, and helping them to figure out what needs to happen next. How do they get there? “Who am I today and who do I want to be and how do I bridge that gap?”

So my experience, I’ve worked with a lot of different leaders at all different levels in their careers and their leadership journeys. I’ve worked one-on-one with folks in teams, in group settings. I’ve built and contributed to various leadership development programs, which is a passion of mine. I hold a number of coaching certifications, most of which nobody really cared for, other than I will say people do care. They do rise up a little when I talk about my certification with Brené Brown.

Folwell: Oh, that one gets me excited too. I saw that one.

Andersen: Right? Right. So if you know her, if you know that work, people are like, “Ooh.” I always see people….

Folwell: Tell me more.

Andersen: Yeah, sit up a little bit more. So you’re familiar with her. That’s definitely a part of my work, helping leaders and organizations be more courageous. So I was brought on to…so my staffing journey, so to speak, really began in February of this year when I came on to ClearEdge to take Leslie Vickrey, the founder and CEO, to help move her vision into more of a structured, evidence-based program and really take this vision and bring it to life.

Folwell: Yeah, and can you tell me a little bit more about what is that? I mean, ClearEdge Rising is new to the market. It’s something I’m very excited about. What is the vision behind it? What can people expect?

Andersen: Yeah. We just launched a month ago actually, to this date. So we are very new in terms of being in the market, but not very new in terms of being dreamt up and created. But ClearEdge Rising, at its core, we’re a membership community for women in the recruiting and workforce solutions industry. So industry-specific. We work with companies to help them in their effort to rise up women in all stages of their careers and their leadership.

So we have opportunities for new and emerging leaders, for mid-level leaders, all the way up to your more senior executive, C-suite board-level leaders. And the membership experience itself is one that’s really about comprehensive and action-oriented leadership development, coming together with the chance to build relationships, build really deep and meaningful relationships with other women in this industry who are equally committed and interested in supporting one another. I think there’s something really unique. I know this has been the case for me when I’ve been a part of different experiences like this, where you have the shared commitment that you’re making by way of being part of the community. I’m showing up knowing that I’m here for my own learning and growth, but I’m also here to support the other people involved, and I welcome them leaning into me for support as well. That’s pretty unique in not just the industry, I think it’s pretty unique in the world today.

Folwell: And that’s amazing. And tell me a little bit more about what does the membership look like? Who should be considering this membership?

Andersen: The companies that we’re having conversations with and who are already enrolling and have enrolled members are using ClearEdge Rising in different ways. So for some of them, it’s really to bridge gaps in their already established leadership development program. So maybe they have a really stellar offering for the folks at that senior level. Maybe they have access to coaching and whatnot. But the folks in the middle, the women in the middle, don’t necessarily have as much opportunity given to them or those newer emerging leaders.

So different companies are using membership in different ways. It’s no secret that things are a little tense in the workplace these days, that people are feeling overwhelmed, burdened, sometimes a bit burned out, that there’s a lot of concern from company leaders about how do I make sure that the people here feel valued, that they know that they are important, that we care about them, we’re willing to invest in them. And so a lot of companies are looking to ClearEdge Rising as an opportunity to really demonstrate that care and that value as a retention, as a strategy for retention.

Folwell: That’s great. And I know I was on your guys’ website earlier, and I think there’s a stat in the staffing industry I already know already, but you mentioned one of the gaps in where we are and where we could be. And I saw that women make up 66% of the workforce in staffing, but only 18% of CEO and owners at large in staffing and recruiting firms are held by women.

And every time I read that, I’m just like…this just seems like, how can this be? It’s 2023. How are we here now and what are we doing to fix that? And this feels like such a great move and step towards bridging that gap in a meaningful way. And it sounds like there’s additional benefits in terms of retention and a lot of things that go along with that. Have you guys kind of identified…I know you guys are new and you have your first cohort coming up. I think you said what was the date for the first cohort launching?

Andersen: The cohort? So ClearEdge Rising is a cohort-based membership program. So every woman who joins will be put into a cohort of about 12 to 14 other women who are similar to her in terms of their position and their experience and the ways that they’re wanting to grow themselves. And that’s really the heart of their membership experience, because those cohorts will meet live every month for about 60 to 90 minutes, and they’ll meet to learn and discuss leadership topics, and they’ll always walk away with one action item that they’re going to kind of put into practice in their leadership. We have structures and methods for compassionate accountability to prevent against that thing that happens to all of us where we have an experience and we say we’re going to do all these different things, and then we go back to work and none of them really happen.

So we have built in methods for making sure that people are really making progress and moving forward in the goals that they’re wanting to achieve. But those cohorts will go live in July. Kind of mid-to -late July will be their start dates. We are enrolling at this point, enrolling members. We have members already enrolled from all different levels of leadership. We have great representation from each group, if you will. And we have members who are coming to us from really big global firms. And we also have members who are coming from startup, smaller businesses, family-owned businesses.

We have some women who are three years into their career and some women who don’t want me on here saying how long they’ve been in their career, but they’ve been there for a while and have so much knowledge and expertise and experience that they’re excited to share, but that they also want the opportunity to have a network for themselves. We know that as you get higher and higher into seats of leadership, it becomes lonelier. You can’t just turn to anyone and kind of vent or share what you’re going through. You have to be much more thoughtful and considerate about the implications of that. And so it’s harder to identify, “Who can I turn to?” So a lot of exciting stuff happening in these days and weeks.

Folwell: Yeah, no, that’s amazing. And you just touched on one reason why, but I was going to ask next about why are programs like this important? I think just the relationship side, having outlets to talk and share experiences with sounds like one of them. But what are some of the other areas where you see as direct benefits to the people that be joining these cohorts?

Andersen: It’s so hard to synthesize them down to points, but I’ll take the challenge for sure. Yeah, absolutely. There are a number of studies that are coming out right now about the importance of social connectedness. One of them was from the Surgeon General, in fact, and talking about the epidemic of loneliness.

Folwell: I just saw that.

Andersen: In fact, how important work relationships are. And it makes sense because we spend so much time and energy on our work, especially when you’re deeply invested in your career. And so that social connectedness that you’re pointing to David is really important. And I think sometimes we can easily think that we are connected because we are on meetings all the time or things like that. “Oh, I’m with people all the time.”

Folwell: Spend seven hours on Zoom.

Andersen: With other people. So I must be connected. Right? But it’s not about just that physical presence or sharing space. It’s about the conversations and the vulnerability and the relationship itself. So absolutely that. But the other thing is leadership development. It’s all about being a human. And we never reach an end point. Just like we never reach an end point of a human, we don’t get to a point in our career where we go, “I’m fully developed. I’m good. I have all the knowledge I need and all the wisdom, and I’m good to go.” Leadership development, it shifts and it evolves as we shift and we evolve and we have new experiences and new learnings, but it’s always necessary. Carving out that bit of time to be really intentional, again, about, “Who am I today? Who do I want to be, and how do I get from here to there?”

It’s not as easy as just wanting that change to happen, as we all know. And that’s true of any change, whether we’re talking about losing five pounds or becoming a better listener with our team. It requires attention and intention. It requires us to really look under the hood, so to speak, as to what’s getting in our way, what are our triggers, how do we react to things, how do we position ourselves and skill ourselves up so that we are being more responsive as leaders rather than reactive? I know that’s hard in today’s world. Very, very hard.

Folwell: Those things I struggle with.

Andersen: Yeah, yeah. It’s interesting because as humans, and this is getting into the neuroscience of things, we are in some ways very much built or wired for leadership. If you think about the fact that we are hardwired for connection and belonging and the role of a leader to be bringing people together, to let people experience that sense of belonging.

And in other ways, we’re very much wired against leadership because we have a negativity bias. We operate a lot of times out of fear. We are reactive, and that’s primal through the way our brains function. And so leadership development and chances to get to work on ourselves as leaders are important because of that kind of wiring and that sense of leadership never really being something that we are fully developed around.

Folwell: I think that’s a great statement. And also at any point in my career, in my personal experience, is that at any point I’ve thought that I am mostly developed. I’ve immediately learned that I’m so far from it, and I feel like my twenties were like, “I know everything. Every year I know more and more and confident.” And my thirties have just been the realization every year of how little I actually know while learning more.

Andersen: Which is a much better place to be. And especially, if you’re talking about a leader, if you are somebody who’s leading a team of people, a project, processes, whatever…if you think you have no room to grow, that’s a danger zone. And what we know is that often, women aren’t necessarily given the same opportunities that men are given in the workplace. Women don’t often have access to role models and mentors to have that connection. Especially if you look at that statistic that you pointed out earlier. If you aren’t seeing people in the seats of leadership, then you are so much less likely…. If you aren’t seeing yourself represented in seats of leadership, you’re so much less likely to think that it’s even possible, so much less likely to know how to get there, so much less likely to have that personal relationship that’s going to help move you from this point to this point.

Folwell: It’s also interesting, I think this is a stat that is shared widely, and I think many people have heard. I most recently heard it from Lauren Jones, but it was about when somebody is applying to a job, the number of requirements that they have to have to actually apply to that job. And it was for men, I think it was like they have to hit 30% of the requirements. And for women it’s a hundred percent.

Andersen: Mentally. So this is the internal operations of the woman applicant versus the man applicant.

Folwell: The false confidence of men.

Andersen: Exactly. I’m not going to apply for a job unless I have 90% of the criteria. It’s pretty alarming. And you look at the conversation that women will initiate versus conversations that men will initiate. I had a mentor once that was…this was back when there were other people in the room with us. Little different now, but look around the room. Every man in here is going and asking for what they deserve in terms of pay and promotion and compensation. And it gives me the chills as we speak, because as women, there’s acculturation. A lot of us have been brought up, and this is by no means to say every woman has this experience, but culturally speaking, there’s a pressure to make things nice, to not be a bother, to be really accommodating. And that is great in some ways. It certainly has its limitations, and turned up too loudly, can definitely be something that gets in our way.

Folwell: Absolutely. And with that, in terms of your coaching experience, what are some of the challenges that you’ve come across over the years, or some of the success stories that you’ve had?

Andersen: It’s such fun work. One of the things that I think is always fascinating in coaching is that people come with one thing in mind, and it’s usually that challenge that’s on the surface.

Folwell: Yeah.

Andersen: It’s usually not super interesting of a challenge. Time management. Okay. Time management. It’s never about time management. It’s about something else. It’s about difficulty saying “no.” And so I’m taking on so many things and it’s impossible for me. It’s not about having the right systems in place. It’s about being able to say “no.” It’s about, this is a big one, that it kind of connects back to time management, like delegation, letting go of control, trusting others that they can do the work just as good of a job, maybe even a better job. But I think, the fun part for me as a coach is getting to use my skills in listening and helping people to see for themselves what those things are that are really getting in the way, the true things that are getting in the way. Not the, “I just need a better to-do list or a better system for organizing my document.”

Folwell: And it always starts with the time management. That’s something our team talks about. That resonates very strongly. So what are, in your approach…it sounds like listening, asking the right questions, traditional coaching methodology, but anything specific or unique that you bring to the table and helping to uncover that and helping people move past it?

Andersen: I think it’s the job and the duty as a coach to be able to say the hard things. And I know that’s part of the listening and curiosity, but it’s about being able to compassionately, again, point out behaviors or actions that people are engaging in, that leaders are engaging in, that are getting in their way, or that are causing other people around them pain and hurt.

There was somebody who, this was about his difficulty with the emotion of anxiety, and really being real with him, that he was hurting his workforce. And this was in an industry that some of the highest stress work you can imagine, hurting his workforce, by not being willing to do some work on reestablishing or redesigning, as I often say, his relationship with anxiety. He was just like, nope, closed off. And it’s sometimes easy to keep that really individualized and to say, “I don’t want to go there, and so I’m not going to go there.”

But when you’re a leader, you have made a commitment. You have opted into this responsibility that you impact people on a daily basis. And so, in a lot of ways, the responsible thing to do is to be saying, “I’m willing to do my work so that I’m not…” and he was a wonderful person. It wasn’t anything intentional. He did, by the way, after being shared, that reality, that hard reality, I love talking about the brain because it’s like chemistry. It just makes sense. Well, I don’t know that chemistry always made the most sense to me, but.

Folwell: I struggle with that more than neuroscience, but you know.

Andersen: But people love mathematics because it makes sense. And when you start to understand, “Oh, okay, this isn’t just me. This is my brain. This is how my brain works.” Then you can get access to more tools. You know what to do instead. There’s less pressure on you when you understand, “This is how we’re all operating.” And it gives you more direction to go in, I guess.

Folwell: Kind of that “aha” moment of, “Oh, this thought happened. I do not need to engage with it or act on it, but it’s here now, and how am I going to process this and kind of….”

Andersen: Right. And that it existed for a reason or exists for a reason. That dialogue that we all have that comes up that says, “You’re not good enough. Who do you think you are? You should probably just leave. Just quit your job.” And all of those things. “Everybody hates you. Your boss thinks you’re doing a terrible job.” We can all fill in the blanks there.

That voice exists for a reason, and it exists because our survival was dependent on it. It’s trying to keep you “safe.” But in those efforts, first of all, you don’t need its help.

Yes, exactly. Your safety is not compromised. It’s not really helpful. You have it. You don’t need it to chime in, and it’s keeping you small. It’s trying to get you to not put yourself out there. And so when you start to understand, “Oh, that’s why,” then you can stop trying to resist against it and push it away and just accept it, which gives you so much more power to move through it.

Folwell: I completely agree with that. And second that. This is a little bit of a segue way into a random thought, but as you were talking about that, I recently saw a thing, and I have not looked to see if this is a fact or not, but that a large…it was like 20% or 15% of people do not have the voice on a daily basis talking to them on a regular…and I don’t know if you’ve ever heard that or if that’s real, but when I heard that, it blew my mind. I was like, “How is that even possible?”

Andersen: Yeah. I have not, and I would…you can hear my skepticism, right?

Folwell: I should Google that. I’m going to Google that because that’s probably not real.

Andersen: Yeah. I’d fact check that.

Folwell: And the internal dialogue feels like it’s necessary and probably there for all of us. So.

Andersen: Yes. And it’s that survival mechanism, and the work of Brené Brown, it’s our shame dialogue. And what we know from the research is that we all experience shame. We just don’t ever talk about it. So we’re all kind of over here having that voice pop up of “I’m not good enough,” but we just don’t talk about it as much as we should, though it feels like we’re the only ones. Nobody else goes through this. But yeah, I would probably….

Folwell: Yeah I’m going to….

Andersen: Argue against that.

Folwell: Yeah. I’m going to go and pull that one back. So we’ll Google it. So I saw it and I was like, is that even real? Is that possible? Tell me a little bit more about the Brené Brown training. I’m a huge Brené Brown fan. Actually, it was three weeks into dating my current fiancé, I was showing her a video of that. We were hanging out and I’m like, “I love all of her stuff, her books.” What was the training like?

Andersen: Nice. Yeah. It’s such seminal work. So obviously, if I’m leading a Dare to Lead workshop, the work always comes in because it’s based on that. But even in all of my one-on-one coaching engagements, parts and pieces of that Dare to Lead work come into play, whether we’re talking about empathy or vulnerability or building trust, everything boils down to this idea of courageousness, especially when we’re talking about leadership, but also when we’re talking about life. How do we be more courageous? How do we embrace vulnerability? Because vulnerability is how we get to the things that we want more of.

We talk about wanting joy and connection and fulfillment and happiness. So you can’t get there without being vulnerable. And by vulnerability, it just means embracing that sense of any situation where there’s fear, uncertainty, and emotional exposure. There’s a risk there. That’s vulnerable.

It doesn’t have to mean that you’re weeping your eyes out in the office. It doesn’t have to be that you are exposing all the details of your marriage to your team at work. That’s actually not vulnerability. And that’s over….

Folwell: Oversharing.

Andersen: Yeah, oversharing. That’s a lack of boundaries. You asked me before about the coaching experiences I’ve had, everything that leaders have come to me to change, to grow, to be better around all the challenges that they’ve shared, ultimately circles back to being more courageous. We talked about time management and the connection to boundaries.

Well, saying “no” is a courageous act. There’s all kinds of voices that pop in our heads when we even think about saying “no.” What people are going to think about us, how we’re going to be perceived, what’s going to happen for a promotion? We can go down a very long doom and gloom pathway. And so in a lot of ways, just simply saying, “I can’t take that on right now. That has to wait until next month or six months or next quarter,” or whatever. That’s a vulnerable act because it involved that level of risk and uncertainty, emotional exposure.

And so the work for me, it started very much like it did for you, the books, I think, you said. And I don’t really remember…I don’t think it was a book that anybody gave me. I think it was on the bestsellers list. And I’m always consuming any good read that I can get my hands on. There’s a lot of books out there, and she’s such a great storyteller. I read one of her books…and this was well before Dare to Lead was published. She had four books prior to Dare to Lead. I read one and then another, and another, and another. And it just so happened…it was very serendipitous in terms of her starting this Dare to Lead certification program. So she was looking at ways that she could bring the content to leaders and organizations in a more broad way, in a bigger way, than just herself and her small team.

But she still wanted to do…so she’s very protective, I’ll say, about the data and the method for teaching her findings. So she opened up this small little window of opportunity for people to get certified. There was a whole application process and in-person certification and learning. And even year-to-year, anytime you do a workshop, you give her all … she has a team. I don’t think she’s there reading all of our evaluations, maybe, but you turn in all your evaluations. You register all your events with her.

So there’s a lot of rigor that she brings. She’s a Ph.D. She’s a researcher. She’s the real deal. And that’s one of the reasons why I love that work. And when I talk about building ClearEdge Rising, something that’s really important to me. I’ve spent years in academia and have spent a lot of time in different research and statistics classes, and I understand and respect the importance of real, rigorous research. There’s so much content out there in the world today, it can be hard to figure out what’s real and what’s not. So when I came on board with ClearEdge to build Rising, it was really important to me to make sure that all of our content in our programming is based on real research. That it isn’t just some fluffy piece of information, that there’s actual research and studies behind what we’re sharing and how we’re helping people to grow themselves as leaders.

Folwell: I love that. And do you have any samples of what the curriculum will look like or what some of the content will be? Or is that all under wraps?

Andersen: Yeah. Oh, no, no. It’s not under wraps. We know that the membership experience is key to ClearEdge Rising, and we want to make sure that we are always keeping really consistent, clear, open lines of communication between us and our members, really building relationships based on trust, where they can turn to us and say, “This is what I want moving forward in the membership.” And so we intend on being in that middle place between having structure, but also being open and flexible.

And also being open and flexible with the companies who are purchasing memberships, to hear what is it that they’re important to them as far as growth in their leaders? What are the skills and the capacities that they’re wanting to see grow in their leaders, and how can we as their partner in this effort, really use our programming to support that? So we have about the first six months of programming outlined as far as those monthly cohort sessions go, and all the cohort sessions, all the cohorts are going to be covering the same topic. But the reason why cohorts are matched based on experience and position and the like is because we know the conversations will be different. So for example, in July, we will be kicking off with the topic of resilience, which is of course very important.

Folwell: Very timely.

Andersen: Yes, very timely, very….

Folwell: We all feel that right now in the staffing….

Andersen: It’s interesting.

Folwell: Exactly.

Andersen: Right. We didn’t pick the topic last week. We’ve had it in mind for a while, but all of a sudden, and maybe it’s like that thing where you think about something and then you start to see it everywhere. But I’m seeing a lot about resilience, so I feel like we’re on the right track there. But we know that the conversation for that new or emerging leader is probably going to be more about my own personal resilience. Whereas, the conversation for the mid-level or definitely the senior-level leader, is going to be about, yes, my own resilience, but also my team’s resilience, my company’s resilience.

And so that’s the importance of having these cohorts segmented by experience and positions so that those conversations can be really relevant. But in addition to resilience, we’re going to be…I don’t know if I’m going to be getting these out of order…but we’re going to be talking about leading through fear and uncertainty. We’re going to be talking about both, and thinking or polarity thinking, polarity management. I see you chatting you….

Folwell: I like that. That’s good….

Andersen: Yeah. Yeah. Everybody loves that. We’ll be talking about boundaries, something extremely important. Strategic thinking and planning. Those are just….

Folwell: All great topics….

Andersen: A little taste. Yeah. Yeah.

Folwell: Really great topics. And have you guys thought about measuring outcomes before and after, and what the impact…do you have ideas around how you’re going to do that going into this? Because it feels like it’s going to…from my perspective, what you’ve talked about so far, and also how you’ve talked about it, I think this is going to have a major impact on the people that are participating. So I’m curious if you have an idea of how you’re going to look at that.

Andersen: Yeah, I think yes and no. So again, with a background in academia and the social sciences, I tend to go to the very rigorous place. And if you know anything about research or evaluation, I’m like….

Folwell: It would be hard to do.

Andersen: That’s intensive. That’s intensive. In a previous position, I went through a formal evaluation process and kind of led that. I was not the evaluator. I wasn’t on the research team, but I was leading that process and it was a year to design, let alone implement, and then scrub the data, and pull the…so it was rigorous. But I don’t think that we need to…that’s sort of an ideal down the road. I want to not allow for that ideal to get in the way of the right now. So to answer your question, yes, absolutely. We know that it’s a little bit more nuanced and difficult to assess and to measure growth when you’re talking about hard conversations. Growth and courage, there’s not a courage-o-meter.

We want to make sure that we’re being really thoughtful about what it is we’re measuring and measuring the right thing, which is often for anyone out there who is in the kind of analytic field, knows the importance of that, and knows how easy it is to be measuring the wrong thing.

So, for instance, this is a community for women to help rise up women in this industry, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that every woman wants to be in the C-suite. So we don’t want to be looking at the measurement of, “Okay, how many women are we getting into the C-suite as a result of participating in the program?” Because there are a whole lot of people who that might not be their end goal. So all of those considerations have to be taken into account. We are going to be using survey feedback data and more qualitative data to understand what people are getting out of the program, what’s beneficial, what’s helpful, what more could we be doing?

Folwell: In fact, that all sounds really great. It sounds like a fantastic program. With that, we’ve got a little bit of a cutoff with time here, but I’m going to jump into the personal section of the questions, of the speed questions. In the last five years, what new belief, behavior or habit has most improved your life?

Andersen: So much. I’m like, okay, well….

Folwell: Nothing’s changed in the last five years. Right?

Andersen: Right. Yeah. You don’t need to change. No, I think…I don’t love the term balance, but finding the middle ground between not caring what anybody thinks and caring what everybody thinks. And really being discerning about caring about what the right people think and who are those right people for whatever situation I’m going through. It can be really easy to get pulled into one or the other direction, but it’s nice to be able to be in the middle.

Folwell: And it does feel like there’s polarity on that. The advice is always like, “Who cares what people think?”

Andersen: Yeah. I mean, those polarities are everywhere. If you’ve done that work at all, it’s great work and it’s empowering work, but it’s also like, “Oh my gosh, they’re everywhere.” You start to notice them everywhere. I love it.

Folwell: And what is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made? Could be investment in money, time, energy, et cetera.

Andersen: Definitely investing in travel. Travel, really discovering new places, putting myself into situations that are new and uncomfortable. Definitely a worthwhile investment, both financially, but also just from a time investment.

Folwell: Any favorite vacations or travel?

Andersen: Oh gosh, yeah. I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of opportunities to have some really great adventures, but when I was younger, I traveled to Africa, which was incredible for many reasons. We could do a whole other episode….

Folwell: Episode. Yeah. Yeah.

Andersen: That was sort of a very much once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Folwell: Awesome. What is the book or books you’ve given most as a gift and why?

Andersen: I try to be very individualized in my gift giving of books, but there’s one that was given to me that was really meaningful from my dad who passed away a couple years ago, and I still turn to this book to have a sense of him because it has his markings in it. And I’ve given it to other people as well, which is where I might butcher the title, but Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn. It’s a mindfulness book, and I’m not a yoga meditation…I know how good meditation is. I try to get into it. I do. But this book is really great as kind of this structure, this reminder, and I’m looking at my bookcase now, and I have his copy and my copy because I got to keep his copy when he passed, side-by-side on my bookcase.

Folwell: That’s wonderful. I’m sorry about the loss. Yeah, that’s great. Sounds like a great book. And with that, any closing comments that you’d like to share with our audience?

Andersen: I want to thank you, David, for having me on, and having the opportunity to talk about things that just light me up, that I get so excited about. The work that we’re doing with ClearEdge Rising, the opportunity for women in this industry and the companies that they’re working for. We aren’t doing this alone. Both internally, obviously there’s a lot of ClearEdge team behind this, but I mean, industry-wide. There are so many companies who are already doing great things, and I know you shared that statistic earlier and we’re kind of like, ugh, flabbergasted by it, but it is an improvement.

There have been great improvements made, and there are so many companies and organizations who are making really great improvements as it relates to gender equity in leadership, and we are part of the puzzle. It’s going to take us all working together and all of these opportunities and all of these efforts. I just want to acknowledge that, and I guess thank the other people, companies, organizations who are just as passionate and invested in this as we are, including yourself.

Folwell: Awesome. Well, I absolutely love all of that. And where should people go? Is it ClearEdge Rising? What is the call to action here for people that are interested in this program?

Andersen: Yeah. If you go to ClearEdgeMarketing.com, yeah, under our solutions, you’ll find ClearEdge Rising under there.

Folwell: Awesome. Well, thank you so much for joining me, Ashley. I really enjoyed this conversation. I hope you have a great day.

Andersen: Yeah, you as well.