OHIO Alumnus Ashley Laber Integrates Lessons Learned at OHIO into Her Career
When Ashley Laber came to Ohio University, she wasn’t sure what she wanted to study, or what kind of career she wanted to pursue after college. She credits OHIO for helping her develop strong communication skills and the experiences that have served her well as she has taken on different roles in her professional career.
Laber entered University College undecided before declaring a major in communication studies and graduating from Scripps College of Communication in 2011. When she graduated from OHIO, Laber was ready for a taste of life in the big cities, so she moved to New York. Metropolitan area. There she was able to turn her experience planning events for parent and sibling weekends as a member of the College Programming Council into an internship planning and executing special events at Madison Square Boys. and Girls Club.
“That first role really built into later roles after that and that’s where the whole fundraising realm of my career started,” Laber said.
From New York, Laber moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she worked as a development coordinator at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation. Laber served as a liaison for the families of patients who had had experiences at the hospital and who wanted to give back to the children through the hospital and its foundation. She loved her work with families and doctors and found meaning in helping families stay connected to the hospital through philanthropy and annual events.
After 10 years of working in the nonprofit world planning events and working on fundraising, Laber decided she was ready for professional growth. She moved on to a physician liaison role with Cancer Expert Now, a company that provides personalized on-demand cancer education and support through an online educational platform connecting patients, oncologists and employers to global leaders in oncology.
In her new role, Laber connects and onboards physicians to the Cancer Expert Now digital platform that helps connect physicians with patients and those recently diagnosed with cancer or life science (pharmaceutical) companies. It also recruits doctors to participate in special projects.
“The same experts I recruit also help patients who are looking for a second opinion on a recent diagnosis,” Laber explained. “It’s really good to be involved in recruiting these physicians, even though I’m not involved in these patient interactions. »
She is proud to work with a company that has a positive impact on the lives of patients. Building meaningful relationships has been an important part of every role Laber has taken on, whether she’s connecting with patients and their families or interacting with physicians.
Although Laber now lives and works in Pittsburgh, nestled in a different set of hills, the hills of southeast Ohio and Athens will always hold a special place in his heart.
She has fond memories of her time in OHIO and all the local businesses such as Brenen’s Café, Donkey Coffee and the Farmacy Natural Food Store that make Athens unique. Last year, she returned to Athens and OHIO to reunite with friends for their 10-year class reunion.
Laber enjoyed her rich freshman experience at OHIO where she had the opportunity to join student organizations, meet people from different backgrounds, and explore her academic options.
“OU does such a great job of providing opportunities to figure things out,” Laber said.
Laber added that her freshman learning community helped her connect and feel supported while exploring her academic options at OHIO.
“That experience of getting to know this small cohort of people helped me feel more comfortable exploring different options because I was learning and meeting all of these people,” Laber said. “All of these students came from different backgrounds and had different ideas of where they wanted to go.”
She appreciated the support of her Learning Community and her Learning Community Instructor, Dr. David Descutner, who was then Dean of University College, as well as Learning Community Leader Didi Chilcott, now Coordinator of transfer and relocation student services for University College. Unsurprisingly, Laber went on to become a Learning Community Leader herself and helped other Bobcats build connections and community.
Laber said she had a few hurdles to overcome as a first-generation college student and only child navigating the college and financial aid application process. She remembers asking her neighbors for help with her college applications and financial aid forms. Once she became Bobcat, she found support from her advisors and teachers.
Sandy Rollins, counselor at Laber’s University College, was an important source of support and guidance.
“She was always there, encouraging me to get involved in different organizations, try new internships, and take advantage of all the opportunities OU has to offer,” Laber said.
As a student, Laber took full advantage of experiential learning opportunities, helping plan and organize events with the University Programming Council, serving as a co-op student at Scripps College, helping students first year as a learning community leader and doing several internships. including one who plans special events at Akron Children’s Hospital.
Laber grew up in the Akron and Canton, Ohio area, so she took the opportunity to spread her wings and travel south to Ohio University. One visit to campus was enough for Laber to choose OHIO.
“I just fell in love with campus,” Laber said. “How can you not? How do you say no to Ohio University? It seemed like OU was in this perfect college town (Athens) and you really could have so many different experiences. Everyone was so welcoming.
There were also several classes that had a big impact on Laber. During an interpersonal communication course taught by Scripps College of Communication Dean Scott Titsworth, Laber realized that even though she had been communicating for years, there was a theory of interpersonal communication that she could put down. in practice and take it with her in her life and career. .
She noted that the field of communications and related careers is constantly changing, so it’s hard to say what the field will look like in 10 years. The job she has is one that didn’t exist 10 years ago.
“The job I’m in now didn’t even exist when I graduated,” Laber explained. “The company wasn’t even formed yet.”
As she progresses in her career, Laber said she tries to focus on the jobs she does and build relationships with her co-workers.
“No matter where you end up going or what job you end up doing, whether it’s your first job or your fifth job, you have the opportunity to succeed with the skills and foundations Ohio University has helped you to build,” Laber said. .
She advised current OHIO students to avoid putting too much pressure on themselves when considering their career plans after graduation.
“There are so many chapters in your life and you can’t skip ahead to see how it ends,” she said. “You can’t anticipate the end of the book. You can only think of the next chapter. I think OU helps give you the confidence that whatever chapter comes next, you’ll be able to tackle it.