Spotlight on Ashley Olafsen / by Haley Smith

Meet Ashley Olafsen - two time author, speaker, and founder of girl empowerment initiative MOVE.

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Tell us about MOVE and how you started it. 

When I was 15 years old, I looked around and got angry; All of my friends were dealing with body image issues, mental health challenges, abusive relationships, and so much more - yet, no one was talking about these challenges! So, I decided to do something. I teamed up with Lexie Phipps and created MOVE (Motivate. Overcome. Value. Empower.), or an empowerment program for women. Through MOVE, I give workshops and run summer programs for young women on the issues my friends and I faced. Today, I have directed five summer programs and have given over 70 workshops, all over New England!

 

You've written and published two books! Tell us about them.

 So the first book I wrote is called 'Survival of the Prettiest', and it's exactly the kind of book I wish I had when I was younger; it's all about the body image, mental health, and relationships. I share my personal experiences, current research, friend's stories, and lessons I've learned. It's also totally interactive, and includes lots of space for the reader for write thoughts and form opinions. On the other hand, the second book I wrote is called Life Hacks with Ash: The Book for Entrepreneurial  Creatives. This book is filled with brief hacks, that are personal and informative. Readers will learn how to follow their passions, how to work in a team, and much more. 

What is your advice to other young people hoping to make waves in the same way you have?

 I think the best piece of advice I can offer is to practice bravery. Something that I am so proud of is how I have practiced bravery when decision making - when deciding to let go of past projects, or deciding to take the risk and jump in. I think that bravery is critical to living an honest life, and an entrepreneurial one too.