Doers and Dreamers – Ashley Knox

Many of us can probably look back to before we started our careers and wish that someone had helped us develop skills that weren’t necessarily taught in a classroom. This week’s Doer and Dreamer is doing just that, not just by counseling young people but by being a positive role model to them and being actively involved in her community. Meet Ashley Knox, who is helping our area youth develop their own ‘greatness’.

Your name:
 Ashley Knox , also known as “Ms. Ashley” is derived from my childhood nickname Kingston gave me which reflected the love I had helping others as an active youth leader in my community. I was known as Miss Ashley, the little short girl with the deep voice, big smile, and bubbly personality.

Business or organization: Beyond Greatness Inc
Go Beyond Greatness Inc is a college and career readiness program that empowers young people to develop the skills they need to succeed in the 21st century. We offer youth training in leadership, effective communication, and personal discipline with an emphasis in critical thinking, self-direction, resiliency, and good decision-making to support the level of control youth have over their life success. We challenge students to think about who they are and what they want to become while taking full advantage of the educational resources and support systems around them.

Occupation: I am the Founder/Director of Go Beyond Greatness Inc., a new and innovative educational program that helps young people reach their goals and strive for success. I am also the Study Abroad Coordinator for the Office of International Programs at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, NY. I work with college students to create opportunities that allow them to travel the world while making progress towards the college degree. I am a firm believer, the International experience is the new wave of education in higher learning!

What is your approach to your business or occupation that makes you unique?
The approach which makes me unique as the Founder/ Director of Go Beyond Greatness Inc. and College Study Abroad Coordinator is my personal mission to inspire creativity that empowers the youth of our future. I love working with young people and supporting them to bring out their greatness to better achieve their dreams and goals. Greatness is the ability to make the most of your talents, skills, and energies. I believe you only live once in this lifetime, therefore, it is important to discover our purpose early in life to bring out our personal best that inspires others and leads us to a happy successful life.

Where are you from originally?
I am originally from Kingston, NY. During my role as co-chairman of the African American committee of Kingston Land Trust, I learned my family’s bloodline goes back as far as the late 1800s. Thanks to committed locals like Rebecca Martin, Executive Director of Kingston Land Trust and the city of Kingston’s Historian Ed Ford, we were able to track the Fitzgerald family and long history of my ancestors. So when I think about city of Kingston, I say to myself, “I am a proud Kingstonian” and to be a part of the first capital of New York.

What brought you to the Kingston area and keeps you in this area? 
I was born and raised in Kingston, NY. What keeps me here, are the beautiful people, the scenic views, and my family roots. Kingston is my home and has helped shaped me into who I am today. I look to paying it forward, share my creative gift to inspire young people bring out their best self and collectively create positive change in the community they live in.

What is your favorite hangout in this area and why?
I have many favorite places. A few places that come to mind is Deising’s for a hot cup of coffee and almond danish or Outdated, a newly popular space uptown where I’m sure to get a fresh order of mixed greens. I also like to take nice strolls on the trail path or hang out with my son at Forsyth Park.

When you’re not in Kingston, what’s your idea of a wonderful city to visit, and why?
When I’m not in Kingston, a wonderful city to visit is NYC. A simple walk down the crowded streets of Manhattan or fantastic view of the Brooklyn Promenade; it brings joy to my heart.

Tell us something that we never would have guessed about you.
Something people would never have guessed about me is dreams to one day to invite Oprah Winfrey out to lunch and thank her for being such a great role model.
When I was a little girl, my mom would always make me watch the Oprah show with her. Like any typical young girl, I was more interested with pop stars like Madonna or Janet Jackson. My mother’s creativity allowed me to embrace a positive role model that reflected my childhood dreams and desires. We didn’t have much money so she would find useful ways to help me improve my craft as a public speaker, presenter, and talk show host similar to Oprah. I took on lead roles in school plays, assisted my principals with school morning announcements daily, and always volunteered to be the represented voice for school clubs or community youth groups. In Kingston, I was known as “Miss Ashley,” little short girl with a deep voice that reminded them of Oprah.