Ashley Taylor


Ashley Taylor
DeGroot Inc.
What Does Your Company/Organization Do?
DeGroot provides horticultural solutions for all seasons, including retail packaged small fruits, vegetables, perennials, and flower bulbs.
Early on in my career, I was a social worker. I worked with families to build healthier family systems and ensure safety. I also received a Master of Science in Social Work during that time which allowed me to continue that work on a therapeutic level. I helped create a summer program that provided mental health group therapy and worked on building social skills. It was a very successful program, providing kids with much needed services while allowing them a safe place to spend some of their summer days.  More recently, I changed career paths which was quite a leap for me, venturing into something new.
What else do you hope to accomplish by the age of 40?
I love learning new things and being a part of team. I’m excited to continue building my leadership skills in hopes of inspiring others to initiate positive change and grow, whether that’s as individuals or within our workplace. I think it’s so important to invest in others. I’m also excited to learn more about what marketing will look like in the coming years, as it changes so quickly.

  • Bachelor’s of Social Work Degree from Eastern Kentucky University
  • Master’s of Science in Social Work from the University of Louisville

Southwest Michigan
Where were you born?
What was your first job?
My first job was housekeeping at a family resort. I had the opportunity to work for great people that I still have contact with today. I learned so much from that job about being part of a team and pitching in where you can.

Best advice you ever got?
I had a supervisor once who told me she looks for personality traits when hiring. She said she can provide the knowledge needed and train the skills but if you don’t have the personality and willingness to be a part of that process then those things won’t matter. I learned so much from that perspective about the type of leader I want to be and it also gave me permission to explore new paths knowing that I’m a hard worker with a willingness to learn.
Who inspires you most?
I am inspired by so many people in my life. I’m inspired by my dad’s work ethic. He was always such a hard worker, working overtime and helping where he can. My mom has such a passion for learning that I’ve inherited, as well. My friends are all such incredible people who inspire me with their kindness, drive, and creativity. I’ve also had some amazing mentors and supervisors that allowed me to ask questions, be creative, and try new projects.
That one thing about you we’d be most surprised to learn.
I played indoor soccer in college. I was very terrible at it but our team had fun!
What do you love to do in your downtime?
I love to travel with my husband, friends, and family. It’s so much fun to explore new places, try new foods, and learn about the culture. I also enjoy spending time with our dogs.
What book are you reading now?
I haven’t had much time for reading lately but usually I enjoy historical fiction. One of my favorite books is The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.
Volunteer activity you love the most.
I really enjoyed volunteering for Girls on the Run. It’s a fantastic program and it’s amazing to see how young people grow and support one another in achieving their goals. I haven’t been able to coach these past few years but I try to volunteer at their 5K when I can.
What motivates you to give back to your community?
I’m part of a small community and it’s lovely to see all the connections made between people. I see people offering assistance or providing support in so many ways, whether it’s volunteering, showing up to cheer each other on, or just to be a part of community events.
What Superpower would you most love to have?
I think having the power to teleport would be amazing. I could travel to see so many places, visit family and friends, and still be back in time for work on Monday!
What has been the most eye-opening thing about the coronavirus pandemic for you, personally?
Everyone has a story, stressors, or weight they carry. I try to keep that in mind when I interact with others but the pandemic really rooted that for me. It was and still is in many ways such an incredibly stressful time for everyone that required a new level of patience. On a more humorous note, I realized that I do not enjoy working from home full time.
What does the honor of being named to the 40 Under 40 most mean to you?
I am surprised to be a recipient of this recognition. I owe so much of my success to those who’ve inspired and supported me. I am honored and grateful to be considered a part of the 40 Under 40.


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