We’ve been very proud of our seniors this graduation season, but we are also proud of our young women who have graduated and are taking what they learned in NeW out into the world. Today, we would like to highlight Ashley Crouch.
Where and when were you involved with NeW on Campus?
I first learned about NeW when I was a junior at the University of Dallas in 2008, when I heard Karin Agness speak at a Leadership Forum. Her vision to promote strong, intelligent, articulate women who were educated on the principles behind their political beliefs was so attractive. In contrast to popular radical feminist ideology that encourages women to disregard their femininity in order to be successful, I wanted the opportunity to work closely with strong, intelligent women, who maintained their core sense of feminine identity, while staying committed to their desire to play an active role in society and in a family. It is possible to be strong and successful women, not in spite of our femininity, but because of it. We need more of those role models.
What drew you to NeW originally?
Young women face such a unique cultural climate that’s so different from previous generations. It’s often so confusing to know where to turn for guidance about how to navigate all the questions of our lives or how to play a vibrant role in society. Even our mothers – who may have attended college to get an M.R.S. degree – sometimes seem out of touch with the emerging adult phenomenon and delayed marriage experience which is the reality for so many women. I’ve always been interested in these topics, so when my friend, Trish, suggested we start NeW together, I was on board.
Getting involved with NeW offers a chance to really think about what role we want to play in society as women, and whether we want to integrate our desires for marriage and family, or delay them in pursuit of a career. Danielle Crittenden’s book, “What Our Mothers Never Told Us” was an eye-opener for me and really got me thinking about these choices. When it comes to making big decisions in life, sometimes we might want to swim against the tide – and we need friends and a support system to help steer us along.
What was your favorite thing about being involved with NeW?
I loved being a part of NeW, because it allowed me the opportunity to dive into intricate social and political questions, and speak candidly with other women who wanted to be actively engaged in society, playing a part in making the world a better place. We need strong women who are effective and articulate leaders in the promotion of their ideas. The women who were a part of the club were passionate, ambitious, and intelligent, but also feminine. Their example reminded me of the type of woman I would want to be. And they continue to be friends, even after graduation!
What have you done since graduation?
I have been working to launch Verily Magazine, based out of Manhattan. Verily is like the fashion magazine I always wanted and didn’t know existed. It is a new fashion and lifestyle magazine that celebrates the best of who you are. We feature fashion that is worthy of the woman, relationship articles that go beyond sex tips, and strong cultural and lifestyle journalism. It has been an amazing journey of learning how to go beyond my comfort zone – and the result is our gorgeous print June/July issue coming out this month! People can subscribe or buy a print copy by visiting www.shop.verilymag.com.
What piece of advice would you give to current NeW Women?
Surround yourself with the type of women that you would like to become; those who inspire you whether through their sharp minds or love for beauty, for example. Strive for excellence and be open to possibilities beyond what you ever imagined for yourself. And do not be afraid to tackle tough questions and seek answers that will continue to shape you into the person you were designed to be. The world needs your voice, your ideas, and your enthusiasm!
Wow, you’re doing such great things! Thanks for checking in, Ashley!