Rising Star Awards: What happened next for Ashlee Williams

Ashlee Williams

WeAreTheCity’s Rising Star Awards are now in their tenth year.

The Rising Star Awards are the first to focus on the achievements of women below Senior Management or Director level – representing the female talent pipeline and the next generation of future leaders.

In this ongoing series, we speak to our winners about life after winning a Rising Star award.

We spoke to Ashlee Williams, who won a Rising Star Champion Award, in 2023.

An accomplished senior data transformation, operations, and client services executive for the shipping sector. Deeply passionate about people with 19 years’ experience having led multiple people and talent management strategies. A unique combination of research and insights enabling strategic growth. Extensive knowledge and expertise in the strategic transformation of intensive manual processes through digital transformation, including the strategic review and integration of world-class data assets globally through M&A oversight. Operating in the UK, with proven multi-cultural experience and insights leading change management and business expansion projects in Malaysia and Singapore to reduce market risk.

Accountable for setting measurable targets and implementing specific initiatives that boost gender diversity in both S&P Global and the wider shipping sector. Focused and effective in relationship building within organisations and externally to build meaningful and valuable partnerships that are rewarding both commercially and culturally as it relates to diversity. Recognised on the Heroes Future Leaders Role Model List 2022 and shortlisted in the top 10 WeAreTheCity rising stars Champion Awards 2022. An award that recognises the efforts of senior leaders who are actively supporting the female pipeline. Individuals who have demonstrated their commitment to gender diversity either inside and/or outside their organisations.

How did winning a Rising Star award influence your perception of your own achievements and potential?

It was extremely gratifying. For me the external recognition really helped me focus and reflect on what I had achieved, so often we just keep going forward without giving ourselves the time to absorb and process what we’ve accomplished. Despite almost two decades in the Shipping Industry there is still so much more we can do to ensure a fair and equitable environment for all. Accolades like the ‘Rising Star’ Award give you renewed energy to seek out new potential to make a difference. There is more I hope to achieve to drive change.

Have there been specific opportunities or doors that opened for you as a result of receiving the award?

Nothing specific (yet!). I am engaged with senior leaders at S&P Global Market Intelligence supporting the development of commitments to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. And I pursued a couple of roles personally late in 2023 that will be exciting opportunities to use my skills and experience in different sectors.

How has winning the award affected your professional network and relationships within your industry?

My network continues to grow and a significant number of new connections in 2023 came from the Rising Stars network. It’s just the winning that counts; the opportunities to meet like-minded and incredibly talented people is what really is rewarding. WeAreTheCity are continuously providing events which give us all, winners or not, platforms to network and form new relationships which each other.

Have you had the chance to mentor or inspire others based on your experience?

Yes. One of my favourite things about being an influential leader is that I am often asked if I can support or assist someone in some way. I have had the good fortune to mentor several people over the years and winning made no exceptions to that. ‘Paying it Forward’ is essential. We must stand together and support each other in our goals and achievements. There is nothing more satisfying than knowing you helped someone achieve their dream.

What advice would you give to someone else thinking of nominating themselves or others for the awards?

Go for it. If you or someone you know are doing great things – share them! These types of awards are an essential way of exposing the great work we are all doing and offer continued progress and best practices that enable change at a greater pace and on a larger scale. If anyone is looking for advice on nominating, they can reach out I’d be more than happy to help! And if at first you do not achieve a win, don’t give up. I was not a winner first time round, unsurprising with so much talent and potential in the WATC networks.

What advice do you have for individuals aspiring to achieve success in their careers?

Keep your focus and your passion. Be ambitious but also realistic, making sure to achieve incremental change towards your overall vision of success and what that means to you. Create your ‘Board of Directors’; those individuals in your life that you go to for trusted advice, family members, friends, colleagues – a mentor and a sponsor should also be highlighted – individuals that will guide and champion your journey.

What is next for you?

I am looking at a couple of personal projects that will enable me to further grow as a professional, to gain new experience and enhance skills. In October 2023, I took on Chair of the Governing board of a local Surrey school and in December 2023, Chair of the Executive Committee of the swim club my daughter competes for. I am excited for these roles as I am sure they will be challenging in different ways and hopefully support a longer-term goal for a non-Executive career in the future.

Where can others follow you?

I am most active on Linked-in linkedin.com/in/ashleewilliams

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