Founder, Alaray Creative

College/University attended?

Appalachian State University (undergrad – BFA Graphic Design), University of Colorado – Denver (graduate – MS Marketing)

Tell us about yourself:

To put it simply, I’m a small business owner fueled by an insatiable passion for marketing and design, and an unyielding love for mac & cheese that’s truly out of this world.

But if you want the long story: As a leader in the business world, I’ve witnessed the incredible impact that companies can have on the lives of their employees, clients, and communities. After seven years in the corporate world, I decided to take a leap of faith and start my own venture: Alaray Creative. Since then, I’ve been on a mission to do good work with beautiful impact through clients, employees, and communities.

What does leadership mean to you?  

To me, leadership boils down to two essential qualities. First, leadership means being a servant leader. Look and seek at what those around you need and provide them the tools and support their need to thrive and feel valued. Secondly, leadership means having an open-mind and listening to the views and opinions of others. By doing so, you learn new perspectives and understandings that makes you better equipped to serve those around you.

What advice do you have for women aspiring to be leaders in their field?

Lead in little ways instead of focusing on only big opportunities like a promotion. Look for ways you can lead right now: start a book club, ask people you know if they want to meet for a monthly coffee group, organize a volunteer opportunity or trip/conference that you are interested in and be open minded to what comes through these thing. These items are just as important as bigger opportunities.

Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader? Why and how did this person impact your life?

Every boss I’ve had – both good and bad. Through watching them, they have been an example of the large role a leader has and why effective leadership is so important and something to always be learning more about.

What has been your proudest moment in your career?

The proudest and SCARIEST moment was when I quit my corporate job and started my own company.

What steps do you think members can take to make more of a difference in women’s leadership issues in the local community?

Give example of when you mess up as a leader and how you fixed it/learned from it. None of us are perfect and are constantly learning from trying new things and sometimes failing and starting over again.

How do you like to spend your free time?

Exploring the great outdoors, indulging in delicious food with fantastic people, attending and performing at poetry open mics, and enjoying all of these things at home in Chattanooga.

What have you gained most from your CWLI membership?

The women’s leadership class – that’s how I found out about CWLI and why I joined

Love all that you guys are doing!! Thanks for all the hard work you put in to CWLI!