Ashley is second from the left with her family in Leavenworth, WA.
This is the first of our “Valente Capstone” article series – by Valente’s Michelle Binkowski, Director of Operations and Human Resources
Michelle: Ashley, It is hard to believe you’ve been with Valente for 6 years! Tell us about your role and what keeps you doing this work.
Ashley: As the Finance Manager, I work with our set up between clients, employees and vendors. The nature of these key business relationships can be complex so my role with Valente includes a variety of challenging duties. Some include accounting, payroll, audits, financial reporting, setting up and managing corporate to corporate agreements, rate negotiations with applicants and vendors, 401k management as an officer, payables, receivables, invoicing, working with multiple different time management systems (internally and with client groups). Plus I provide financial management support for all our constituents. This includes corporate team members, clients, employees and vendors.
Michelle: Where do you turn to for personal and professional inspiration? (see changed paragraph below)
Ashley: Recently a friend and neighbor was diagnosed with lung cancer that has spread to his bones and brain. He has been super positive and he has started a movement in our community to pay kindness forward. My friend has challenged everyone in our community to try to do something kind for someone else on a daily basis. He has asked that we then write about what we did to pay kindness forward on a Facebook micro-blog that he started. It can be as simple as holding open a door, or buying the person behind you coffee, etc. With so many people participating it is amazing at how this has impacted everyone in our community and what a difference it makes! It inspires me to look for the good I can do to help others both personally and professionally. This has been a huge inspiration for me! Even my kids are impacted by this. Our oldest daughter recently helped an elder cross the street. She saw her struggling and pulled over the car, got out, walked across the street and assisted her. They made a loving personal connection in that moment and the elderly lady was so thankful. Extending and sharing these little kindnesses is amazingly contagious!
Michelle: Wow. I am completely inspired just by hearing this.
Michelle: You have a unique role working with one of our major client groups. What are the top questions you get from current and future corporate partners?
Ashley: With most clients, they are completely down to business and want to get the paperwork with a strong sense of urgency. This is a fast-moving business as everyone has a key interest in profit. I get questions like “When will I get paperwork?” “When I will get the contract?” “How did you come up that amount?” And we end up in the classic negotiation process, moving very quickly as the speed of business in today’s world of work.
Michelle: And what are the top questions you get from the employees of our current and future corporate partners?
Ashley: New employees want to finalize the negotiation process for pay rates. They usually ask functional personnel questions like “When can I start?” “When will I get paid?”They are primarily focused on onboarding. Then there are follow-up questions for day-to-day routines such as “How do I work with timesheets?” and addressing the details for a payroll set-up. I also help people with the client end of onboarding. This part of the work is really the nuts and bolts of setting up the billing and payroll process with our new clients and employees.
Michelle: What are the main reasons you continue to work for Valente?
Ashley: For me, it is definitely the work-life balance. Working for Valente allows me the freedom to travel and work in various locations and on a schedule, that works best for me. I love the positivity, the respect and the relaxed vibe that surrounds our environment.
Michelle: What can you tell potential candidates seeking new roles on our team regarding what kind of experience they can expect with Valente as their new employer?
Ashley: I would tell a potential candidate that they could expect to be surrounded by positive people in a positive work environment where everyone truly supports one another. Valente is like an extension of your family. We know and support each other to live inspired lifestyles. There is a solid basis for trust.
Michelle: We really want to know your answer to this question. What in your life gets you revved up and excited?
Ashley: It may not sound like much but spending time with my family is where my heart is. I like to go on hikes with husband and my dog. I look forward to activities on the weekends, filled with lots of family time such as watching my girls play soccer, kayaking, etc. We host big family dinners on Sundays. I love seeing friends, and taking on household projects, there are a lot of things I do but that is my ultimate base – spending time with family.
Michelle: Along these lines, over these years with Valente, you have had three daughters heavily involved in soccer. What does that look like for you now?
Ashley: Soccer has slowed down a bit but has been a huge focus in our lives. Two of our three are still playing and I always look forward to their games.
Michelle: You have been an amazing soccer mom supporting three daughters through multiple national championships and college soccer careers
Ashley: Yes and they have already grown into beautiful young women. My youngest daughter of three is attending Seattle Pacific University next year where she will play soccer and is interested in their pre-vet program. Our middle daughter is a junior in a nursing program and continues to play soccer for her college and our oldest has graduated from college/soccer and is getting married! My family life keeps me fully engaged. And, on top of all this, I also enjoy water sports, skiing, hockey, the Sounders and Seahawks!