For me, the best way to create good habits is to make them simple for myself. Small choices can be the simplest step in changing your life! The small choice i made was to implement the reset ritual into all my routines. A small addition to my morning, really has had a positive effect in my day-to-day. I invested in the one-liter pump because i know I’m forgetful and would lose the small bottles. And now, i see it every morning as a reminder to add reset cbd into my smoothies and coffee in the morning. To stop my bad habits, I’ll write down what repercussions might come from those bad habits. I’m an extremely visual person, so having a list to compare the pros and cons is helpful for me to make the right decisions.
As a part of our series about “How Anyone Can Build Habits For Optimal Wellness, Performance, & Focus”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ashley Ferguson.
Ashley graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science in Mass Media Communication & Media Studies and a Bachelor of Science in Political Science. Throughout her career, Ashley developed innovative marketing strategies and created high-end branding to encourage industry dominance with each company she worked with. She now works as Vice President Of Business Development at Santé Laboratories & RESET Bioscience who are committed to elevating plant-based ingredient industries (with a special focus on biohemp) safe-guarding all end-users through sophisticated, transparent testing, proprietary delivery technology, and private label product development.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
My childhood was definitely interesting. My grandparents met when my grandfather was stationed in Japan. He met my grandmother, my Obaachan, working there and brought her back to his hometown in South Florida. Before she arrived, she never spoke a word of English and ended up teaching herself the language by watching television. After learning the language, she was determined to succeed as an independent woman on a new continent. My mother had me at 19, and we lived with my grandmother most of my life. I grew up watching her build her American Dream. My Obaachan went on to create a successful Ichiban florist company, and she became a well-known name in the Palm Beach area. I learned my work ethic from her and she taught me to take pride in everything I do from my career to my day to day living and the rituals I prioritize. Her first name is Tsurumi, which is my middle name, her story and sharing a name with her has inspired me to never give up and work hard for what I want. She is one of my main inspirations in life and my career.
What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story!
The road to my career was a long one. And my experience speaks to something I’ve always believed in: it’s hard to expect an 18 year old to pick what career they’ll be in for the rest of their life. Especially because mine had multiple large influences — i had a 16-year competitive dance career in ballet, tap and jazz, and had attended one of the arguably best, audition only, arts high schools in the nation for communications where i mostly excelled at public speaking, writing, and tv. When I left home at 18 to go to Florida State University, I wanted to pursue a biology degree because I thought I was going to be a dermatologist and had had a deep appreciation for science (spurred by my, although seems silly, math science technology magnet school, Poinciana Elementary where I had my own segment of the morning show called ‘the 411 with Ashley Ferguson.’) I quickly realized that biology was not for me and looked back to my communication roots as I wasn’t sure where else to go, so I turned to political science, because maybe I’d be going to law school. But when that ended up not being where I wanted to be either, I graduated with a marketing degree with a focus in pr. PR was where I really thrived speaking, writing and learning to build brands. I went from healthcare to luxury lifestyle PR where I was really groomed. I learned so much from both fields and grew up a lot. I started consulting on my own and sharpened my branding expertise using real life experience. Won over by a client, I ended up trying real estate for a bit, but I found that real estate is a very solitary career and I’m not a solitary person. Collaborating with other people and having a team to bounce ideas off is where I’m at my best.
Once I realized that, I left real estate to go into business management for Estée Lauder. I had worked in makeup retail as a side job in college and this felt right at home. I truly saw first-hand the importance of commitment and strived to be a better leader. Learning that coaching and leadership is essential for sales success no matter the size of the team. While i was managing teams on the retail floor, i wasn’t the best makeup artist but, it was clear i had a passion and knack for bringing out the best in people. I would never forget this or not let it shine at work ever again. I accepted I was meant to be a leader, even when in reality i was just working a mall job.
On a weekend out with friends a crazy opportunity arose — I connected with a couple who owned, little to my knowledge at the time, one of the largest most successful toy manufacturing businesses in the world. My natural connection with the CCO led to a meeting where I sat down with the VP of business development and truly pitched myself to her. Not because I had come from experience in the field but because I had finally had an aha moment. They took a chance on me and I’ll never forget it. I had never done half the things she asked me to in the years i was there, but I realized the power in resourcefulness, willingness to try, and i was going to fake it till I made it. I worked alongside executive leadership to find my calling in business development — exploring licensing, branding, retail development, and PR/influencer relations and now I’m at Reset.
It’s obviously a little different from being at a children’s toy manufacturer, going from toys to biotech, but i love doing consumer branding no matter the brand. A common thread throughout is that I always follow my heart and never let the opinions of others dissuade me. I believed in fate and my instinct. It definitely came with consequences, but I lived through it. I never settled, and i was never scared of taking a leap of faith or failing. We put so much pressure on ourselves to know what we want to do right out of the gate and expect to stick with that one choice our entire lives. Growing up, society said we had to work somewhere for a minimum of five years for it to really matter. But I think the world’s evolved from that way of thinking. We’re living in a time where people are given the opportunity to become entrepreneurs in their own way. Finding these relatable, translatable connections between my jobs (no matter how small in the big scheme of a career) helped me find myself.
None of us can achieve success along the way without help. Was there a particular person who gave you the most help or encouraged you the most to be who you are today?
That person was absolutely my stepdad! He’s always been a huge influence on my work and my work ethic. He started off in the mail room in an engineering firm where he is now the president. From teaching me how to put air in my tires to helping me through frustrating calculus homework in high school, he always made me feel confident in myself. He taught me that i could figure anything out if i gave myself the time. My stepfather was also an integral part in my improved time management. I definitely wasn’t the strongest time manager, but he taught me how to prioritize my time and how to use every minute to be successful.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that happened in the course of your career. What lesson/takeaway did you learn from that?
I can’t tell you just one very specific time. When i mess up, i really try to let it go. But pitching regularly with new and current clients, retailers, brands, etc. I would say my go-to cringe moment has always been with names! Or making statements without fully understanding someone’s role in a business. I always feel bad messing up names but it’s truly so hard for me. It was hard enough before Covid when I was face-to-face with people, but it’s been even harder having to communicate digitally. Remembering all the details of back-to-back meetings in the same room has made it harder and even more important to keep all the conversations memorable and tailored from client-to-client. It’s taught me to make sure i not only know who the faceless voice on the phone is, but to understand their role in the decision-making process.
The road to success is hard and requires tremendous dedication. What advice can you give a young person who aspires to follow in your footsteps and emulate your success?
The best advice that I can give is to “stay in your lane”. Focus on yourself and not what anyone else is doing. With the influence of social media so prevalent in everyone’s lives, we forget that it’s just a highlight reel. Everyone’s putting the absolute best things that happen to them online, so you don’t see the work that goes into getting the reward. It can be disheartening. Everyone’s lives look different and just because your life doesn’t look like someone else’s Instagram feed doesn’t mean it’s wrong, right or indifferent. Just focus on yourself and the little steps that it takes to get to your next big goal. I’m a firm believer in writing things down. My best-case scenario is journaling every night, but I know that my schedule doesn’t always allow for that so I’m always making lists on my phone. Taking that time to write down the list is a great way to remind me of what I’m doing and what my goals are. Count small successes! To me, small wins are still wins and in my career and the little steps have often led me the furthest.
Was there a certain book that made a significant impact on you. Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
“why didn’t anybody tell me this sh*t before?: wit and wisdom from women in business” by Marcella Allison. I could honestly sit with this book for 5 minutes or 5 hours, it’s an amazing pick-me-up. Most of the industries I’ve been in, I’ve been surrounded by men, so this book — which is over 60 letters written by female leaders of multi-million dollar companies, solopreneurs and so many more. All the stories, from being the only woman in the room in an ‘old boys’ club business, to making impossible choices between work and family, this book uses humor and growth to teach lessons in business. I pick this book up to remind me that I’m not alone, other women have been where I am, and it reminds me how lucky I feel to be on the frontlines of working for men who hold all of us to the same standards and value women in the workplace.
Can you share your favorite life lesson/quote?
“Success doesn’t come from what you do occasionally it comes from what you do consistently” — Maria Forleo
Consistency creates rituals. Plus, not being scared to adjust your rituals or even fail some rituals, to lead to success. Try different patterns of rituals, but then once you pick one that works — stick to it! Even when it’s hard or you think it might not be worth it. Trust your gut instinct and push forward.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
Oh absolutely, the most exciting thing I’m working on right now is introducing reset Bioscience products to the world! From stressed millennials to professional athletes, high stress families and retirees, we want to bring knowledge about CBD and teach the world about what Bioavailability means. Our key word is moderation. We want to introduce CBD to the masses with our reset line to show the true benefits of wellness products backed by science. Our company was started because our founders couldn’t wrap their heads around the fact that there was no proven efficacy or conversation around efficiency of products or their bioavailability to make them work. So, they created our product. They’re taking cannabinoids that are naturally hard to absorb — cannabinoids are hydrophobic, so they don’t mix with water — and creating a delivery platform that uses pharmaceutical drug delivery technology to make the products more efficient to make them faster, more absorbent.
We’re giving you the opportunity to absorb up to 80% of the content, compared to oils where you can only get 5–20%. Ultimately this is going to end up meaning you can take less product, spend less money and feel more benefits. We believe this is something people deserve. People shouldn’t be duped into spending a lot of money on something that isn’t effective. I think with all the amazing benefits that come from cbg, cbd and cbn and broad-spectrum cbd, we’re going to be able to change people’s lives for the better without risking liver toxicity.
This will be intuitive too, but it will be helpful to spell this out directly. Can you help explain a few reasons why it’s a good idea to create good habits? Can you give some examples?
The most common reason we create rituals is security in who we are. And that might not be the most common way people look at it, but if you think about it, rituals end up giving you the foundation of your personality. They affect everything: your work ethic, your relationships and overall, who you are at a deeper level. The things you commit to regularly shape who you are and who you’re going to become. And that’s not just one ritual either. You can have different rituals for work, home and relationships. We never really give ourselves the opportunity to say that one ritual doesn’t have to blanket our entire lives and they’re not permanent either! The rituals i practiced when i was 20 are completely different than the ones i have now at 30.
How have habits played a role in your success? Can you share some successful habits that have helped you in your journey?
Habits are really what allow you to navigate the road to go from where you are now to where you need to go for your goals. I think my most successful habits have been the ones that intersect between my self-care and work habits. When I ignore one for the other, it feels like trying to shove a square peg in a round hole. In the last few years, I’ve started to realize that my daily self-care rituals — whether they’re tied to sleep, exercise or nutrition — affect my work habits.
Speaking in general, what is the best way to develop good habits? Conversely, how can someone stop bad habits?
For me, the best way to create good habits is to make them simple for myself. Small choices can be the simplest step in changing your life! The small choice i made was to implement the reset ritual into all my routines. A small addition to my morning, really has had a positive effect in my day-to-day. I invested in the one-liter pump because I know I’m forgetful and would lose the small bottles. And now, I see it every morning as a reminder to add reset cbd into my smoothies and coffee in the morning. To stop my bad habits, I’ll write down what repercussions might come from those bad habits. I’m an extremely visual person, so having a list to compare the pros and cons is helpful for me to make the right decisions.
Let’s talk about creating good habits in 3 areas: wellness, performance and focus. Can you share good habits that have helped you in these areas?
I’ve noticed that if I’m implementing good rituals in one area, I’m able to find benefits across all of them. But one of my greatest wellness habits is my weekly acupressure massage. Every Friday I take my reset cbn and go to this amazing Chinese acupressure place in Austin. It’s so important to me it’s in my work calendar! In terms of performance, whether it’s athletic performance or work performance, I attribute performance to one word: caffeine. I love caffeine, a lot of people would say caffeine isn’t the best daily ritual, but I love it. Though i realize that caffeine has many negative effects as well. I add reset cbd into my coffee every morning. It keeps the jittery feeling that i tend to have after a cup of coffee at bay and it has improved my day-to-day work performance. My morning routine is my best focus ritual. I get up about two hours before I leave my house in the morning because i really hate feeling rushed in the morning. A typical morning for me would be meditating and taking my cbg on its own to promote digestion and focus for the rest of the day.
Can you help explain some practices that can be used to help develop those habits?
Writing things down. Like i said before, I’m extremely visual, it helps me understand what i might’ve missed yesterday or what we did well or what i might need help with. Making a list also helps me prioritize what needs to be done first and what can be brought to the following day. The list also helps me figure out what I might need help with and what to bring to the team meeting the following day. I like prepping the lists early too. I hate walking into the office and feeling like i can’t lead my team right away because I’m rushing to figure out what needs to be done. Writing things down and being able to physically see what I’ve accomplished helps me develop good habits. Others call it goal setting or tracking personal key performance metrics, I think that the best way to do it is to set small goals for yourself and have it written down so you can see it every day to build successful habits. And it doesn’t even have to just be for work it could be for counting calories, losing weight, counting blood sugar, saving money, etc.
Can you share 3 good habits that will lead to optimal performance at work or sport?
I think the key is a combination of writing things down and open communication. I have a huge whiteboard dedicated to my entire team that we put everything onto. We track all dates and meet regularly to either add to the notes or schedule and these things keep us on track by setting what priorities we need to focus on.
Can you help explain some practices that can help develop those habits?
In writing, practice makes perfect. Whether that’s writing down goals or writing down a reminder for later, write write write! And collaborate too. I like using google drive rather than a typical word document because of the collaborative ability. When you get stuck, it allows another member of the team to hop on and collaborate with you. It all goes back to open communication. Setting a meeting on a calendar, using google drive, going back to the white board. Those are practices I’ve implemented to create those good habits. In terms of performance in an athletic viewpoint, good habits would be adding cbg or cbd to your post workout drink. I have my cbd right by the rest of my smoothie making area, so I can just pop it in after a workout.
Can you share 3 good habits that would lead to optimal focus?
Self-care is so important. Making sure that you’re taking care of yourself so that you’re not stressed out with what’s going on in your life while you’re trying to focus on what’s going on in the moment. Writing things down helps with that because, as my stepdad taught me, once you write it down, you can stop thinking about it. The more you write down, the less you have floating through your mind, leading you to be able to focus more. One of my favorite things to do is meditate. I use the meditation studio app for guided meditations every morning and while I’m listening to my meditation, I like to take my cbg on its own.
As a leader you’ll likely experience times where you’re in a state of flow. Can you share some ideas from your experience where you can experience a state of flow more often?
Rituals are the most important thing to create a state of flow. The more ingrained your habits and your rituals are, the more you will benefit you across the board. My stepdad was the one who told me to write things down and plan ahead and physically put it onto paper. He taught me that ignoring the thoughts and not writing it down leads to chaos in the brain. If you write it down, you’re opening your mind up to think of other things.
If you could inspire a movement that could create the most amount of good for the largest number of people what would it be?
If I could inspire a movement, it would be a movement where companies who manufacture supplements and vitamins and other products would be required to be more transparent about bioavailability. Where brands are committed to a better way of drug delivery where the user benefits fully from supplements and other nutrients. The wellness world is impacted by trends, and i wish that when new trends arise, the truth would be told and that companies would be forthright about their products and what’s actually best for you putting the benefits first, rather than the numbers. A good example is cbd oil brands telling people that you need to take more and more, coming out with more milligrams per bottle. While reset bioscience is over here telling you that we created a product so you can take less. And i think that knowing we’re not pushing you to buy tons of our product or take more than you need or take something that could be potentially harmful to your body is really important. We believe that moderation is key and that there are ways to use technology to drastically help consumers in wellness, performance and focus by providing them supplements and nutrients that are true to what is claimed on the bottle.