New Valley Young Professionals (VYP) board member Ashley LaRae Sampson began her fashion career touring as a consultant and wardrobe stylist for megastar musicians and their entourages. Her repertoire expanded quickly to include athletes and business people, photo shoots, film, commercials, fashion books, workshops, fashion shows, music videos, writing fashion articles and styling photo shoots for magazines and websites.While doing all things fashion, she was also meeting and working with people who would eventually become her students and colleagues at The Art Institute of Phoenix.
Now, as the institute’s director of community relations, Sampson is responsible for building partnerships, relationships and sponsorships within the community while increasing visibility and awareness of the campus and its programs.
Below she shares her vision for the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce Valley Young Professionals (VYP) group, her passions and the best advice she’s ever received from a mentor.
How does your position at The Art Institute of Phoenix mix with your passions?
My work at Ai Phoenix is extremely rewarding, as I’ve always had a passion for helping students and a knack for building long-lasting connections. Helping students connect to positive and impactful organizations and talented individuals in the community truly provides the real-world experiences and networking opportunities that are vital for success in all creative industries.
My other passions include creativity and the arts, spirituality, nature, children, the elderly, mentorship, consulting, gaining knowledge and connecting others.
What’s the greatest piece of career advice you have received from a mentor?
Jump into areas where you have no choice but to sink or swim! This will force you to take risks and think beyond your comfort zones. And, while you’re there, make sincere connections and don’t burn bridges because you never know how things will come back around.
What would your fellow VYPers be surprised to learn about you?
Although I’m a female professional in heels, accessories, deep-hued lipsticks and big curly hair, I’m truly a nature-lover who spends most of my weekends hiking in canyons, swimming in lakes, rivers and creeks, meditating in mountains and basking by the ocean. I truly feel like myself when I’m in nature, which gives me the energy to continue loving what I do as a city girl.
What is the biggest benefit of being involved with the VYP program?
The relationships I’ve built and the support I’ve received from the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce and other members.
I’ve partnered with VYP members on multiple levels professionally, ranging from hiring our grads, offering internships for our current students, meeting local influencers, providing opportunities for The Art Institute to sponsor events and even simply offering their time whenever I’ve needed assistance.
I’m confident that I’m part of an organization that is here to help others in their success.
What are your goals as a VYP board member?
My goals include helping to build teamwork and connections between young business professionals in the Greater Phoenix area. I truly believe that expanding our contact base and working together are key to the overall success of not only each individual, but of Phoenix as a whole.
If you could shadow a Valley business or civic leader for a day, who would it be?
Isabelle Jazo, senior vice president of market research and branding for LaneTerralever and one of the most Influential Women in Arizona Business.
I’d love to observe the way her mind works and the depths of her strategy and involvement with the No. 1 ranked advertising and marketing firm in Phoenix. As a female, I genuinely admire successful working women in high-ranking positions and love to learn from them.
What is your favorite Arizona weekend getaway spot?
Sedona, as long as I get to be by some water. Otherwise, any lake or river in Arizona.