#LeadLikeAWoman with Ashleigh Laabs

Ashleigh Laabs, Chief Growth Officer & Founder of A. Victoria MAE

Change in leadership is key to the forward moving direction of an organization or business.

What does leadership mean to you?

Sharing experience. Taking risks. Going beyond the status quo. Those who are great leaders don’t rely on their ego to take them places. 

Who has influenced your idea of leadership?

My mentors and Seth Godin in relation to the philosophy of big picture, strategic marketing. Leadership is not about a role. It’s about doing cool things that inspire others. The vision of A. Victoria MAE is to work with kick-ass people who are passionate about their businesses (brands). The reason for this is that people make businesses. Businesses and brands/products don’t make people! A person is not a brand. People are people. They have a name, a personality, etc. These things play into leadership and what makes the world go round in a business or organization.

Some people may not consider me a great manager or leader. Others would as I have received their feedback saying that I inspire them to do what they love, follow their core values, and remember that happiness is much more worthwhile than money (even though it may not always feel that way!) Being a leader typically comes with a fancy title but it doesn’t matter. Be a kick-ass person in the world who has passion for something, and that really will continue to take things to the next level for your business or organization.

Why do we need more women in leadership roles? What do they add to the table?

We need to allow for different ways of decision making and thought leadership when it comes to leadership roles. When one area becomes dominated by the same type of leadership style, things will start to become stale. Changes in leadership is key to the forward moving direction of an organization or business.

How are you leading in your career/community?

I am a Central Michigan University alumna and am actively involved within the institution. From 2011 to 2018, I served on the CMU Young Alumni Board. I held the leadership roles of Vice President, President, and Past President, and was the first woman nominated to these positions for the advisory board. I am currently Vice Chair of the CMU BCA Alumni Advisory Board.

When I founded A. Victoria MAE, I had a goal to create opportunities for students that were beyond the traditional internship. I have created that opportunity and have had 6 students work with me since 2015.

What is the best way for someone to contact you?

You can email me at ashleigh@avictoriamae.com, visit my website , add me on LinkedIn , follow me on twitter, like me on Facebook, or follow me on Instagram.


Michigan ATHENA is a program dedicated to developing, supporting, and honoring women leaders throughout Michigan. This program is part of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce Foundation initiatives. To find out more about this program please visit us at www.michamber.com/ATHENA

If you have any questions or would like to nominate someone to be featured in our #LeadLikeAWoman series please email me at akeimach@michamber.com