Ashley Nash is JEDI’s Indigenous Adult Learning & Literacy Coordinator. Ashley’s role at JEDI is vital to ensuring that Indigenous peoples in New Brunswick have access to learning opportunities through programs related to career planning like Workplace Essential Skills (WES), financial literacy, cyber-security, etc. After a chat with Ashley, we can appreciate that her passion and dedication for bettering the quality of lives of Indigenous peoples is truly remarkable; we're glad she finds her position at JEDI very fulfilling.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a proud Indigenous woman from Wolastoq territory. I grew up off reserve. My father is from St. Mary’s First Nation and he is a survivor of the 60’s scoop. My father’s experience resulted in a loss of his culture and cultural identity. His experiences have had a major influence on my quest to learn as much as possible about who I am and where I come from.
What kind of influence has this had on your work at JEDI?
Making a difference in the lives of Indigenous adults through education and career counselling is my passion. Through my tenure at the Joint Economic Development Initiative, I have had the rewarding experience of coordinating Indigenous based programming for youth and adult learners for the past three years as the Indigenous Adult Learning & Literacy Coordinator. My passion for education and culture has gifted me with the ability to help my people gain or enhance their essential skills, achieve their personal and educational goals, and provide the guidance needed to create a plan of action to move forward with their preferred future.
That’s amazing. How did you realize your own capabilities?
After completing the Aboriginal Workplace Essential Skills (AWES) program with JEDI, I was selected be a participant in the first ever mobile app development program in Canada, which came as a huge honour for me. After successfully graduating the program in 2014, I scored a few contacts teaching digital literacy skills in Indigenous communities. From there I found my passion in helping our people achieve their educational goals.
How did you end up as the Indigenous Adult Learning & Literacy Coordinator?
After wrapping up my teaching contracts, I was hired as the ICT Development Specialist for JEDI. My role there was to promote and advocate the Mobile App Developer program. From there, an opening for the Digital Literacy Coordinator role came up. To be honest, I never saw myself doing this type of work. It came as a shock to me, but it makes perfect sense in terms of who I am. I am a helper. My work and life experiences have led me to where I am today and I am thankful for all of the amazing opportunities that have lead me here.
What do you love about working at JEDI?
My favorite thing about working at JEDI is witnessing our clients overcome barriers and obtain their educational goals. It’s a beautiful thing to watch unfold. All of this wouldn’t be possible without our wonderful team. Everyone is knowledgeable, creative and compassionate. I feel the values and morals that I have as an individual are aligned with the values and morals that our team and this organization has. My work here is truly rewarding.