Ashley Innes Relishes Opportunity to Make Her Mark on HIV Epidemic in Southern U.S.
HIV Community Operations
Location: Dallas, TX
Joined Gilead: May 2016
In her role as Regional Director, HIV Community Operations, Ashley Innes leads a team of community liaisons who help provide education, resources and support to communities impacted by HIV in the Southern United States. Read more to discover how Ashley has been able to broaden her impact on the HIV epidemic while working in an environment where she feels comfortable being her full, authentic self.
Q: What drew you to your field and how did you come to work at Gilead?
I have been volunteering in the HIV field since I was a teenager. My education and background are in psychology and mental health counseling. That eventually led me to working with people living with or vulnerable to acquiring HIV. I was the director of prevention programs at a large community-based organization in Dallas when I was approached about the opportunity to join Gilead. At the time I wasn’t looking for a change, but the opportunity to have a broader impact and engage with communities across the U.S. South was extremely appealing to me.
The more I learned about the company and the job, I knew the opportunity was too great to pass up. Gilead was offering autonomy, amazing resources for the community and an opportunity to work with some of the most passionate and brilliant people I had ever met. It’s been a dream job for me.
Q: Tell us about a time you really felt the impact of your work.
To be honest I feel the impact of my work every day. I know that the work we do matters to the communities we work with. Every week I’m in a different part of the South and see people living well with HIV and empowered to take care of themselves. Knowing I work for a company that provides medicine, resources and education – through our daily work as well as initiatives such as COMPASS –is amazing and makes me feel proud.
Q: How would you describe the opportunities for career growth at Gilead?
Gilead truly values and prioritizes development, and there are many opportunities for career growth, particularly when you take charge of your own career path. When you’re clear about your goals there are plenty of people willing to invest in your growth. I’ve felt that from day one.
Q: Can you share your approach as a manager and team leader?
As a manager I believe people are the greatest asset to our company and supporting my team members is always my first priority. I strive to be collaborative and to lead with authenticity and vulnerability. I find it allows others to feel comfortable doing the same. When you can bring your whole self to work you are able to be more effective in your role. I think all of Gilead’s Leadership Commitments – I Am Bold, I Care, I Listen, I Trust, I Own – are vital. It’s important to strike the best possible balance and know when to lean into one more than others.
Q: What do the company’s efforts to prioritize equity, inclusion and diversity mean to you?
As a person who holds multiple traditionally devalued identities, the company’s efforts mean a lot. I am the current North America co-lead for the Pride Alliance employee resource group. I am a proud Black, bisexual woman, and for me that means embracing all those identities and being unapologetic about it. It means knowing that I represent communities that have had to constantly overcome oppression, and despite everything we are still here. I am very grateful that I work in an environment that acknowledges and celebrates all of this. It shows that I have a place at the company and there is a commitment to continued growth and change.
Q: Why is working at Gilead more than ‘just a job’?
It is more than just a job because the work we do has the potential to impact people’s lives in such tremendous ways. This work directly impacts communities I am a part of and is a calling for me. I have such a sense of pride in what we do and our commitment to ending the HIV epidemic. I’ve built relationships with people that will last a lifetime. This is not something that I could ever easily walk away from. It’s too personal and too important to me.
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