HomeInsightAdviceWhat Inspires Ashley Terry?

What Inspires Ashley Terry?

For Ashley Terry, Wheeler District vice president of development, reading a Jan Gehl book about architecture opened a new career field to her and has lead to almost a decade helping to direct the growth of the Wheeler District. 

How did you get into your career path? In 2011, I randomly picked up a book by Danish architect Jan Gehl called “Life Between Buildings,” and I was instantly hooked. I was completely intrigued by the idea that the built environment could have such an effect on people, and, in turn, that small changes to that environment could make a significant impact. Around the same time, my friend, Kristen Gilpin, invited me to volunteer for an event called Better Block OKC. Honestly, the rest is history. That event led me down a path of meeting new people, igniting new interests and starting a whole new chapter of my life. 

What is the last book you read? I’m almost done reading “Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals” by Oliver Burkeman. It has completely shifted my mindset regarding productivity, in the best way possible. 

What’s your best self-care advice? Make it a priority. It is the easiest thing to cut from the list first, but it is so important. 

What kind of networking fills you up? The best kind of networking for me is surrounding myself with people passionate about similar things. There is instant inspiration built into those relationships. Through the Urban Land Institute of Oklahoma, I am constantly finding opportunities to connect with others who also “geek out” on making our city a better place. 

Quote you love or live by that provides motivation or inspiration? “People make cities, and it is to them, not buildings, that we must fit our plans.” – Jane Jacobs

How do you stay motivated? I absolutely love the challenge of learning something new. There is something so invigorating about diving into a new topic, soaking up all you can about it, and then putting your new knowledge to work.

How do you recharge? My favorite way to recharge is a slow weekend morning. A cup of coffee, a good book, and curling up with my dogs is the best. 

What are your best management tips to keep your team inspired? I work on a really big project with a very small team, which means we can all find ourselves doing a lot. I do my best to ensure that my team knows the value that each of them bring to our work. We also try to make sure that we have lots of fun doing it! 

How do you avoid burnout? It is about finding a balance in what I am devoting my attention to. A lot of my job is just about getting things done. But it is important to balance that with finding time to exercise the more creative side of my brain too. The weeks where I experience that balance are the weeks that I feel most energized. 

How do you stay current in your industry or profession? In real estate, finding the right professional organizations can be key. For me, Urban Land Institute Oklahoma, National Town Builders Association, and Congress for the New Urbanism have been a central part of my growth and development.

What advice do you have for others who want to pursue your professional path? For this profession, being a generalist can be a good thing! People often feel like they must specialize in something. Some professions within real estate require a specialization, but not all of them. Get familiar with the feeling of wearing multiple hats and playing different roles. The better you are at adapting and innovating, the more you will be able to accomplish.

 What do you know now that you wished you knew when you were getting started? Spend less time worrying about why you are at the table, and instead, focus on making the most of your time there.

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