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Passionate • Resilient • Determined

Her Story

Ashley Bonner

Owner - Smarketing

Ashley's Story :

Life is filled with adversity, opportunity, tragedy, blessing, suffering and happiness. How you process and adapt to it will determine the outcome.

Growing up in a low income, single-parent household, I learned what it was like to face adversity at a young age. My mom worked a couple of jobs in order to support me. I learned from a young age key characteristics of success such as resilience, a strong work ethic and strength. No matter the situation, barrier or adversity, my mom continued to press on and give me the best upbringing she possibly could. These elements were key to creating my own success in life. 

When I went to college I wanted to take a quick diploma program, so I could finish and get a job as soon as possible. Little did I know that I was going to spend the next seven years completing both a diploma and a degree. I started off in the Personal Support Worker program which I realized pretty quickly that was not the right career choice for me. I then entered into Early Childhood Education and realized within the first semester that this too was not for me. At this point, I questioned if I should continue with college, wondering if I was smart enough? I asked myself “Do I have what it takes to be successful at this?”

Despite questioning my abilities, I decided to give it one last shot and started the Social Service Worker program. This was a game-changer for me! Not only did I find my passion, but I also gained valuable skills that helped me become successful with everything I have accomplished since then. As I reflect on it now, there were a couple of reasons. First, I finally found something I was passionate about, which was helping people, community and myself. All of a sudden something sparked my heart and my mindset changed from “I may not have what it takes to be successful at college”  to, “ wow, I really love what I’m learning and I know I can be successful.”

The Social Service Worker program provided an opportunity for my own personal, social and emotional development. It equipped me with the skills to build healthy relationships and the tools to how to understand my own emotions more in-depth. By understanding my own emotions, I was able to adapt to any situation in life, process it and move on from it. 

A great example of this is when I found out, at the age of twenty-five, that  I had melanoma on my leg. I am covered in beauty marks and frequently get them checked out, so I had known that one day that cancer could happen. Even still, the news hit me pretty hard. I kept asking myself, “why me? I’m only twenty-five.”

I was feeling depressed, scared and unsure of the next steps. Understanding and identifying my emotions allowed me to give myself permission and time to process them, which then allowed me to move on from them. No matter what circumstances I have been faced with – from failure to cancer – I have continued to press on. Something that used to cause fear and anxiety, I now handle with ease and grace. Situations like these push us to be resilient and continue on. It taught me that no matter the situation if I’m aware of my emotions, I can identify them, process them, and find the strength, resilience and beauty on the other side.