Editor’s Note: This October, we will celebrate our 30th class of 40 Under Forty honorees. Each week in 2022, The Business Journal of Tri-Cities Tennessee/Virginia will highlight one of our 2021 40 Under Forty honorees leading up to the announcement of our milestone class this fall.
Many people view their professional journey as a vertical trek. The goal is to climb a ladder with each step bringing more prestige and responsibility than the last.
But Ashley Davies views her career in public health in a different way. While each change in position has moved her up within the Tennessee Department of Public Health, Davies is more concerned with the wider reach each career move has allowed her to have.
That outlook is a testament to Davies’ mission to expand her sphere of influence in order to positively impact the health of as many people as possible.
“I think feeling good is so incredibly important, and if I can help spread that message or make health an easy choice for folks, it definitely brings me a lot of joy,” Davies said.
Davies is currently the healthy development coordinator at the Northeast Regional Health Office, and is a respected leader. She has presented information on the national level as a subject matter expert and represented the Tennessee Department of Health at a national workshop.
Along with public health, Davies loves the great outdoors and takes great delight in finding ways to merge those two passions. She has worked extensively in the “built environment” sector, championing projects like Tannery Knobs in Johnson City and the Storybook Trail along a stretch of the Tweetsie Trail in Elizabethton.
“The work Ashley does with built environment is cutting edge and requires her to build rapport and forge relationships with economic development processionals, business leaders and elected officials as well as decision-makers from schools, social service agencies and faith communities,” Davies’ colleague Jayne Harper wrote in her letter of recommendation.
Davies’ efforts to better the world around her extend beyond the parameters of her job. She has been involved with RISE, a community group in Erwin, and helped create and implement the Erwin Farmers Market, the Great Outdoors Festival and the Elephant Revival through that organization.
She has also worked in the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program for over five years and also worked with a local homeless task force.
“She is invested in the community, works to build sustainable partnerships and genuinely cares about the health and prosperity of where she lives, works and explores,” Megan Quinn wrote in a recommendation letter.
Working in public health through the COVID-19 pandemic has only sharpened Davies’ focus on helping others achieve better health. She also believes the pandemic has created a unique opportunity, and Davies wants to use it to help spread good health far and wide.
“I think COVID has played an important role in helping our community leaders understand what an asset the outdoors is,” she said. “Getting folks outside, I think that’s just so important for physical health, mental health, emotional health and spiritual health.”
Next week we will profile Phil Di Pietro of Food City. If you would like to nominate someone for inclusion in the 2022 class of 40 Under Forty, visit 40under.com and follow the instructions.