While sipping coffee at a restaurant during her stay in Greece, a well known positive influencer made time in her busy schedule to take my interview call. Social media strategist, business owner, and missionary, Ashley Penny shares with me her journey to this point in her career. Eager to create ideas that change the world, Ashley’s calling is to help individuals build businesses, communities, and ministries through spreading media that inspires people to step up and lead.
Ashley is currently a social media strategist at Called to Create, which is a community of Christian entrepreneurs that thrive on biblically-based encouragement. This organization promotes God-honoring creativity and has embraced technology by launching a bible app for their members. Her role in this organization is to engage with Instagramers at @calledtocreate, and build a strategic list of Instagram influencers with common interests. To accomplish this, she makes use of various social media analytic tools such as Iconosquare and Peoplemap to target her intended audience. She strongly believes in using Instagram and her role at Called to Create to combat negativity, bullying, and the pressure to be as perfect as many top social media influencers portray themselves on the internet. She calls this movement “culture-shifting,” which she describes as moving society away from using social media to post hate or their unrealistic glamorized lives, to instead post positivity that one can really gain from.
Ashley admits, “I’m guilty of posting myself vacationing on Instagram because I travel a lot, but I am focusing on sharing posts that motivate and uplift my community.”
Ashley is from North Carolina and has been heavily involved in her faith since childhood. She began her experience in social media through marketing and copywriting internships at various nonprofit and religious organizations before landing her full time position at Called to Create. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2017 with a degree in International Business and her advice to anyone interested in following her career is to first volunteer to manage an organization’s social media presence in order to get a feel for what it’s like.