Photo courtesy of Ashley Fox

Ashley M. Fox has dedicated her life to helping people develop career, life, and financial success. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Fox attended Central High School, and she later went on to graduate with honors from Howard University. After graduation, Fox moved to New York City to begin her career on Wall Street. While on Wall Street, Fox helped millionaires and billionaires manage their money. Although Fox worked for a large Wall Street investment bank and made six figures, before her 25th birthday, she discovered the fundamental principle of wealth building by making major mistakes: “It’s not what you make, but how you spend it.” She became a hyper-spender, saving and investing some, but spending as much and as often as she could on trips around the world to shopping excursions. She quickly went from a six-figure income to losing everything. Fox later had no home, maxed credit cards, and overdrawn accounts. She now shares her lessons with others while working to help them prevent bad behaviors and modify current financial habits.

Fox is now an award-winning financial coach who has helped her clients save and invest over $1.4M. She is an expert in her field as a financial education specialist who founded the company Empify. Empify is an education-based organization created to help both adults and children understand financial literacy. Empify focuses on the creation of life-altering programs, informative digital content and interactive events curated to teach all aspects of financial education. Rolling out caught up with the financial guru to talk about her journey and accomplishments.

Describe how making hard choices have factored into your success.
Some of my hardest decisions in life have led me to my greatest accomplishments. It has forced me to fight fear, doubt, and worry head on! I remember when I wasn’t sure about taking the leap into entrepreneurship. It required me to leave a consistent income while building a vision — something, of course, only I could see. I often thought, ‘Is this really what you want to do? Is this something you can do? Are you comfortable with dealing with the unknown?’ Every question that I developed, in my head, made the decision hard. However, instead of listening to the many thoughts in my head, I always chose to follow my heart. Whatever I feel in my heart, I go with. I have the utmost faith in God, and I know that it will always work out. The moment I decided to ONLY follow my heart, my entire life changed.

Tell us how education has played a role in your success.
To be honest, I am a book worm. I like to read, learn, and perfect my craft as often as I can. The more I learn and grow, the more lives I can change. The more I educate myself, the more education I can provide those who need it. I realized that in order for me to leave my mark on the world, I’d have to give them something of value. I can’t just be good, but instead GREAT at what I do. Sometimes I feel like, if I’m not going to dedicate my life to educating our community on financial literacy, who will? It is my duty to the world to become the best version of Ashley Fox.

Please describe your professional achievements. What pinnacles of success have you reached?
Since I left my Wall Street career in 2013, life has been nothing short of amazing. I have created two businesses: [first] becoming an independent financial coach, and [second] building a financial education institute: Empify. As a financial coach, I have guided over 200 minorities, with a median income of $55,000/year throughout the country. Within the 3.5 years of running my business, I have helped them collectively invest over $1.5 million. Not only have I financially educated adults, I have also dedicated my time to building Empify. Since 2013, our financial literacy programs and curriculum have reached thousands of people. Most recently, Empify has secured its contract with the School District of Philadelphia. Between now and June 2017, there will be financial literacy programs in 25 public schools in our city. This was once and outrageous dream of mine 2 years ago, and now, it has become my reality.

Describe how your record reflects a sustained level of top performance. How does your work impact the community?
Every day, whether it’s me working with my adult clients one-on-one, or me building financial programs for our youth, I am giving the world the education it needs to build wealth in our community. For some reason, we use money every day of our lives, but it isn’t taught every day in our schools. I believe that can and WILL change! I spent over 9 years in the financial industry, and it is my duty to give the world everything I was taught. Empowering our children is more than just teaching them math and reading skills. Empowering our children is teaching them how to compete for wealth and power rather than poverty and acceptance. It is time for our community to produce and not consume. Invest and not spend. Empify has reached thousands of people around the country with our financial education. Now, we are focused on financially educating millions.

Learning to let go of trying to be perfect has helped me…
Live in the moment. It is not the destination that matters, but instead the journey. I have grown to appreciate every person, experience, tear, smile, problem, and accomplishment that comes my way. Everything happens for a reason, and I continue to remind myself of this every day. I am where I am because this is the story that God has written for me. I am perfectly imperfect, and that is exactly how he has made me.

Expressing gratitude to those around me….
Has made me appreciate life so much more. Sometimes, as an entrepreneur you get so caught up in your own bubble. You work hard, and you have tunnel vision. However, you often forget who loves, supports, and believes in you. You often forget the little things that have made the biggest impact. Expressing gratitude makes me forget all the negative things, and instead remind me of the littlest things that truly mean the most. It reminds me of why life is worth living, and it often leaves me with a smile. Every night before I go to sleep, I write in my gratitude journal. This allows me to express appreciation for the all the things that I was grateful for that day. By doing this, it is almost impossible for me to go to bed mad.

How has being fearless factored into your success?
Every single day, I make it a priority to do something that scares me. I refuse to go to sleep without doing something that makes me uncomfortable. So much of what I do now scares me, and that’s how I know I am growing. Who wants to be the same person forever? Why play it safe, when you can become the best version of yourself? Now, I’d be lying if I told you that I’ve got it all figured out because I don’t. However, what I do have is faith and resilience, and that will get me to where I know I deserve to be.

Without passion…
How could anybody possibly wake up every day to live the life of their dreams? Passion and purpose are what fuels me. It is my passion that allows me to push through even when there is no money in my bank account. Passion is what allows me to push through even when I feel like giving up. When I have given it everything I’ve got, and when I have run out of strength to give, passion is what tells me to keep going. Without passion, I would have no direction. It is my roadmap. It is the vision in my heart that makes this thing called life worth living.

Shadé Cannie

Little girl. Big dreams!