Ashley Pratt, 34, is director of community engagement for Mayo Clinic and 2022 chair of the JAX Chamber Hightower Emerging Leaders Fellowship. Born near Atlanta and the middle daughter of three daughters, she lived in several cities and settled in Jacksonville after attending the University of North Florida.
Being the Director of Community Engagement at Mayo Clinic is probably the best job I’ve had. It’s about rooting Mayo Clinic in the community beyond just the health care system where we see our patients. I oversee all of our social responsibility at Mayo, all of our strategic community engagement activities for the Florida campus. I am also responsible for performing the community health needs assessment, staff engagement and volunteerism, and connecting and maintaining partnerships with our community.
Community involvement has been instilled in me since I was young. This is my Zen moment where I can go out and help others. A huge passion is to uplift others, whether they are in the community or whether they are other young professionals or emerging leaders.
I turned down a lacrosse scholarship to North Carolina Wesleyan College because I wanted to go to nursing school and there was no nursing school. The UNF did. I quickly realized that nursing was not for me. I got my bachelor’s degree in health administration and started volunteering at the Mayo Clinic, probably in 2008. Then I did an internship at Mayo. I considered it to be the right time, the right place. I was able to get a supervisory job right out of college. It was huge.
I met my husband, Jason, in Mayo. He was a social media specialist. We were doing our 25th anniversary time capsules and he was the videographer. I shared how Mayo touched me as an employee. I shared when my younger sister died 11 years ago and when I watched the funeral there were probably about 20 people from Mayo who traveled to Orlando to attend the service. It touched him.
Morgana was 19 years old. She was tragically killed in a car accident. In 2019 when my daughter was born, we named her Morgan. My parents said, “Well, that’s a no-brainer. We knew you would do this. You’ve been talking about it forever.
My advice to emerging leaders would be to get involved in the community so you can have an impact on the city you live in. You can also meet other people who have the same passion, and you don’t know what door this will open for you. Find that role that will ignite your passion. So be open to change because what you thought was your goal in your 20s could very well change. At the Hightower Fellowship, you meet leaders you probably wouldn’t get to meet or hear from, and you can meet one.
We like to be outdoors. We love to explore parks, take walks, bike rides and travel. Going on an adventure is our greatest pleasure.
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