Executive Leadership Support Forum: Assistant of the Week: Washington, DC
Former Executive Assistant to Retired Senator Barbara A. Mikulski
Formerly at Capitol Hill
Ashley-Dior Thomas, originally from Sacramento, CA, moved to DC in 2009 after graduating from Sacramento State University. She worked for DC Department of the Environment as a Site Manager for the summer but eventually transitioned to working on Capitol Hill. She was there for 7 ½ years serving in both chambers of Congress and was most recently the legendary Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski’s Executive Assistant until her retirement in 2017. Sen. Mikulski is the longest serving woman ever in congress (40 years) and the first woman to be chair of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee. It was during those years working for both senior and freshman Members of Congress that Ashley-Dior became a “Curator of Time”. Fulfilling high demands, working in fast-paced environments and strong leadership skills were necessary in order to perform at maximum capability.
Ashley-Dior has a passion for music, black art and connecting people for mutually beneficial opportunities. She is known as the Master Connector within her circle as her mantra in life is Every person has value.
Ashley-Dior will be one of the distinguished executive assistant contributors at the Executive Leadership Support Forum: Washington, DC on June 6-7, 2018.
Tell us about a career accomplishment of which you’re particularly proud.
In 2011 during the height of the recession, I helped organize a 10,000+ person jobs fair in Detroit during my time working on Capitol Hill. Detroit at that time had the highest unemployment rate in the country and the least number of employers willing to participate. Because of my leadership skills, attention to detail, and interaction and coordination with media, we received a ton of press surrounding it and also were able to get people jobs on the spot. This is one of my proudest moments professionally because I realized that nothing is too big to accomplish.
Looking back, what advice would you give yourself when you were first starting your career?
I would tell my younger self that you either succeed or learn. Never fail.
Name one thing you hope to learn or discuss with your peers at the ELS Forum.
I would like to discuss how we to get over feeling like we have imposter syndrome. How to trust ourselves and have the confidence knowing that our instincts are correct. Our workload is a lot and we juggle many things but realizing that we’re in the position because we have a skillset that many don’t have is powerful. Especially if you are just starting in your career you can get overwhelmed. I want everyone to know you got this!