Brief blurb about the founders
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Since embarking on her professional career in 2008, Ashley McGowan has established herself as a marketer who has a passion for creating a more diverse and inclusive environment within the Chicago communications industry. Ashley is known for excellence in managing client relationships while infusing her passion for a diverse and inclusive workspace. This combination of traits has chartered a unique professional journey from creative agencies to her current position as Strategic Account Executive at Microsoft. At Microsoft, Ashley is responsible for large advertising partnerships with brands and other media entities, helping to permeate innovative technology into unique advertising executions.
Along this professional journey, Ashley has organized internal affinity groups, fostered conversations on various topics in the work space, organized career panels and created countless opportunities for mentorship and entry-level development. In 2012 in partnership with others, Ashley founded Coalesce Chicago. The 501(c)3 organization is the premier professional resource for diverse talent in Chicago. With over 1,000 members across Chicagoland, the organization provides members with opportunities for networking, professional development and mentoring.
Ashley is an alumna of the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, with a Bachelor of Science in Advertising. In 2012, Ashley was named in the inaugural class of ADCOLOR Futures. In 2013, she returned as an ADCOLOR Rising Star Honoree. Ashley was also honored by the American Advertising Federation as a Rising Star Alum of the Most Promising Minority Student Program in 2014 and most recently was featured as a Storyteller at Glappitnova. For Ashley, life is about leaving your footprints in the sand – if you were to ask her, she’s just at the beginning of the mark she’s looking to leave behind.
Jessica Jones is an advertising professional with six years of industry experience. Jessica started her career at Burrell Communications on a leading global brand, Procter and Gamble. Throughout her three-year tenure, she had the opportunity to work across a total of seven brands including Crest, Gain and Pampers, where she managed the execution of traditional advertising. Jessica transitioned her career to The Marketing Store (TMS) to build her experience in Event Marketing. Working on the McDonald’s brand, she helped execute five national annual events, gaining first-hand experience in production and celebrity management.
In 2015, Jessica was presented an opportunity to help manage the national promotions for McDonald’s at TMS. She collaborated with multiple partners to help bring McDonald’s promotions to life including Universal, American Express, Monopoly and the National Football League. Through this experience, she gained a solid understanding of sales and contract negotiations. Earlier this year, TMS joined forces with DDB as the retail expert to pitch the McDonald’s U.S. creative business. As a result of a successful pitch, a new agency, We Are Unlimited, was formed, bringing together experts across digital, social, retail. Jessica will be embarking on a new journey with McDonald’s, as she helps her team manage the development of POP assignments to generate sales across 14,000+ restaurants.
Jessica attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she received a BS in Advertising and minor in Business. Jessica was an active student in U of I’s college chapter of AAF, holding the VP position of Multicultural Programs, followed by her EVP role. Jessica developed programs and activities that inspired and promoted diversity within the organization. This involvement was the first stepping stone to her future success of building Coalesce Chicago. As a founding member, her goal was two-fold: to advance diversity and inclusion in the Advertising and Marketing fields and to execute industry events to help grow and evolve into an expert in event.
Jessica was honored as a 2010 AAF Most Promising Minority Student and is a recipient of the Alpha Delta Sigma Honor Society and Advertising Women of New York Scholarship. She also participated in the 2012 ADCOLOR industry conference as an ADCOLOR FUTURE and was featured in Advertising Age.
Jessica’s foundation is comprised of commitment, courage and faith. She believes all three attributes will further help her personal goal of making Coalesce Chicago a priority in the lives of industry professionals.