Trendsetter to Know: Ashley Winkel, Director of Partnership Development at The James Agency

Name: Ashley Winkel

Facebook: @theladywinkel

Instagram: @Moxiemoron


Age: 39

Title: Director of Partnership Development at The James Agency

Married/Single: Married

Kids: Nope! Just our 9-month-old corgi, Miley

City you live in: Scottsdale, AZ

A typical day in my life includes… Chasing after my wild corgi girl, Miley, oversharing and likely saying something a little bit shocking.

I was born… in a manger in Wichita, KS.

My favorite thing about Arizona… is that there are no tornadoes. Bonus that I’ll never have to shovel my driveway or scrape ice from my windshield ever again!

I’m listening to…The Toast. Every morning while I get ready I love listening to these two sisters talk all things pop culture. Its silly, light and fun which is a great way to start the day.

My family… Couldn’t be more different from me, but I love them and we’re very close. I think they would admit that they’re not really sure where I came from.

If I could have dinner with anyone, it would be… Michelle Obama. I read her book “Becoming” and find her to be a terribly accomplished, intelligent and inspiring woman. There’s so much I’d love to ask her about!

One thing I cannot live without… a great outfit. Clothes make me feel confident and like I can take on anything.

When I was younger, I wanted to be… a talk show host. Think Barbara Walters + Oprah Winfrey. I’ve always loved meeting new people and find myself fascinated by their stories. I especially love hearing where they failed or things didn’t go according to plan and how they navigated that challenge.

I’m inspired by… watching people do things they never thought they could. I tear up when olympians achieve their goal of winning a medal, when a person with a spinal injury walks after thinking they never would, when an actor wins the Oscar. It’s a powerful reminder that we’re all just people, but we are limitless in what we can achieve if we have the drive.

The one person who motivates me is… my husband. He has discipline and drive like no one I have ever met. In between physical challenges like extreme hiking, running and weight lifting challenges he is a voracious reader and really passionate about self improvement. 

If I could change anything in the world, it would be… the internet. I feel like having EVERYTHING at our finger tips has made us less curious and less connected. Not to mention how quick we are to judge and compare ourselves to each other.

The perfect day would be… waking up in a new city with nothing to do but explore. There’s nothing I love more than nothing to do and a whole city to myself! Trying a local coffee shop, great little hole in the wall restaurants, shopping at local boutiques, finding the coolest neighborhoods. It fills my cup!

My first job was… selling movie posters at a little shop! I’ve always loved movies and this little shop near my house was run by the cutest couple. It was the perfect high school job! 

My favorite escape… is a great play or broadway show. When done well, great theatre has the ability to transport me to another place and lose all track of time!

My life… feels like it’s on the verge of big new things. At TJA we’ve just unveiled STRATAGEM, which is an amalgamation of our consulting, research and strategy deliverables into one offering. I’m so excited about this because I feel like it’s exactly what our clients are looking for at this time. It’s less about tactics and deliverables, more about exploration and problem-solving to deliver a solution that will scale and grow along with the company. 

I’m currently working on… Helping The James Agency’s clients understand how to utilize their data to build powerful marketing strategies. Rather than jumping straight into solutions, using data helps us reduce the risk in our approach because it’s built on facts, not just our assumptions of what will deliver a result.

Always… looking for the best in people and situations. One of the things I love most about my job is that variety of people I get to interact with. Not just my team but my clients as well! It’s inspiring to work with people who love what they do and are passionately pursuing bigger and better things!

Never… letting it get to me. In our business, things change ALL THE TIME. Sometimes, it’s out of control. Sometimes people let it get to them. I really work on accepting what I cannot change and focusing my energy on what I CAN control, which is my reactions and the energy with which I show up.

Favorite Quote… ”Put everything you are into everything you do.”

Biggest Dream… to feel I’ve lived my purpose. I know I’ve been blessed with a very unique set of talents and I’m always in pursuit of my purpose. 

My Pet Peeve(s)… people who focus on the negative or only want to complain. Negative energy is contagious!  I do my best to find the gift in every situation and I love to be around positive energy, even if it’s someone challenging me. 

Bio-on yourself/company: I have spent the entirety of my 18-year career in marketing, having worked for large advertising agencies on national and international multi-million dollar brands – including shooting TV commercials in Argentina with some of the most talented felines the world has ever seen! Originally from Kansas, I moved to Phoenix 10 years ago to lead the SRP account for the Chicago-based firm, Cramer-Krasselt. Since then, I’ve spent the last 5 years at The James Agency under the mentorship of CEO, Veronique James. Though I joined the company as the Director of Client Services, I was offered the opportunity to grow and diversify the company’s client portfolio as the Director of Partnership Development in 2020. Since that time, I have brought more than $6 million in new business to the organization. A graduate of Drake University with a double major in Theatre and Advertising and a minor in Marketing, my formal theatrical training has contributed to my success in this field. I’m passionate about developing brands, using marketing to grow businesses, connecting with powerful women, and supporting community non-profits that support those who are on their own journeys of growth. I am also a passionate board member for the Fresh Start Women’s Foundation.

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