Ashley never thought she’d be the devoted yoga type. She was far too practical. Far too busy. After all, she had a family to care for, an intense travel schedule, and an
Then something happened. It was gradual, really. An emptiness that slowly filled her. She found herself wondering, is this all there is? She’d become successful in her career and loved her family, but this nagging emptiness wouldn’t subside. Certainly life had more meaning, didn’t it?
And then she discovered meditation and yoga.
“I wasn’t clear how yoga would satisfy that precisely,” she says, “but I just felt drawn, and as my practice deepened, it was clear that it was hitting a chord that resonated. Any type of spiritual practice that offers a deeper connection between mind, body, and soul can have a profound impact on our relationship to all that we experience, if we are open to listen.”
That was almost 15 years ago and the beginning of Ashley’s path toward a deeper connection with herself and the world. At Fossil Ashley has been leading meditation, mindfulness, and yoga workshops to small groups across the Americas for several years. “Integrating the principles and benefits of mindfulness into Fossil and our corporate communities,” Ashley says, “is something that I believe in strongly as a way to drive innovation, reinvention, collaboration, and productivity — ultimately one of the most important ingredients to facilitate transformation of leadership, corporate culture, and impact.”
What Teaching at a Prison Taught Her
Whenever she can, Ashley teaches yoga and meditation at the local women’s prison. The first time she went to the prison, she was apprehensive and nervous. She thought she was there to teach them something, but realized, after the hour long class, what they taught her was far more valuable.
“Sometimes our greatest lessons can be learned from people who might surprise us,” Ashley says. “I learned about judgment, resiliency, compassion, and about how closely connected we all are.”
As Ashley has continued her journey of inner development, mindfulness has taken a larger role in her personal life and as a business leader. When asked about what mindfulness means to her, Ashley
offered this definition from Jon Kabat-Zinn, the father of mindfulness based stress reduction programs (MBSR) taught worldwide: To pay attention, on purpose, to the present moment, without judgment, exercising a certain type of awareness.
Being mindful isn’t always easy. Juggling work, home, and other responsibilities tend to create an environment of discord, if we’re not careful. “Pushing the pause button,” as she calls it, has been Ashley’s key to peacefully and joyfully embracing life as it comes —with all its ups and downs.
When asked about what kind of legacy she’d like to leave behind for her family and community, Ashley says, “I hope to make an impact in this world by offering people a path that unlocks potential and transforms lives. By practicing mindfulness and integrating it into daily life, we become more connected to ourselves and to each other. We are able to exercise actions rooted in insight, acceptance, and compassion, enhancing productivity, empowerment, collaboration, and positive outcomes for ourselves and our world.”
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Ashley Nelson is the Senior Vice President Sales Americas at Fossil Group. She is focused on leading, developing, and empowering a 100+ executive team to achieve over $1B in revenues across the United States, Canada, Mexico and Latin America for the Fossil Group. She’s also a certified yoga instructor, mother, wife, and mindfulness practitioner. Ashley serves on the Board of the Fossil Foundation and Girls in the Game. She loves traveling with her family and often takes special vacations with her children. Ashley’s next trip is to Switzerland, and her 18-year-old daughter is joining her.
by Laura A. Roser
CEO and Founder of Paragon Road
#1 Expert in Meaning Legacy Planning