Name: Ashleigh O’Connor
Company: City of Austin (Austin-Travis County EMS Department)
Role: Recruitment Coordinator
- What brought you to Austin and how long have you been here?
I’ve been visiting my dad in Austin ever since I was in high school and fell in love with the city and the area. I loved the beauty of Central Texas and the Hill Country, had so many great memories of coming to SXSW and shows with friends, and had to have a way to fuel my taco addiction — so I knew I had to live here one day. Thankfully, my husband had always wanted to live down here, too, so that made the reality of it actually happening a whole lot easier. In 2013, I was offered a job at The University of Texas with the McCombs School of Buisness MBA Program as an Admissions Counselor, and there was no way I was passing up that opportunity! We packed up our things, headed out of the Dallas area, and haven’t regretted a thing (except for maybe not buying a house 5 years ago..dang that real estate market!).
- How did you get connected to AYC?
I was introduced to AYC while I was on staff with the MBA program. The Texas MBA program is an annual sponsor of AYC, so along with the sponsorship came a few memberships for staff that were interested. I took full advantage of the offer and went to a few events back in 2014-2015 and was hooked! I loved the community engagement, the friendliness of everyone, and how involved people my age were in things that mattered. I loved the org so much that I went on staff 2016-2017! And since my transition to the City of Austin, I’ve made it a priority to stay involved and connected to my AYC family because it means that much to me.
- What are you involved with in AYC AND what is your favorite part of AYC?
I’m currently serving on the Ambassador Committee as the Social Chair (of course! happy hour, anyone?!), along with being on the Casino Social Committee (my personal fave signature event). If you’re not on a committee yet – you should be! It’s the best way to connect with a smaller group of people, focus your strengths into an area that needs quality contributions, and make an impact on the organization and community. My favorite part of AYC is that it really is an organization for the members, by the members. Want to see a policy change in our area? Speak up! Make it happen. Want more of a certain event or access to industry leaders to build your network? Cool! Make it happen. Tired of schmoozy networking groups that lack genuine connections? Great. Meet the folks in AYC. These connections can turn into some of the best friends and allies you’ll ever have. I know they have for me!
- Where can we find you brunching in Austin on any given Saturday?
Lately, my brunch routine has been pretty chill. It consists of Taco Deli tacos to go, along with a stop at Summermoon Coffee (to go). I have Netflix to watch, ya know what I mean? When I’m feeling lively (aka, I’ve binged all my shows), Eastside Tavern is my new favorite brunch joint. Avocado toast and bottomless mimosa carafes?!?! YES, PLEASE!
- If you could have any superpower, what would it be and what would you use it for?
So, I was going to say “flying” or “teleportation”, but I’m about to get really deep here, okay? I would love to have the superpower of healing the hurt. Whether it’s physical, emotional, or mental, it would be 1,000,000% amazing to be able to take that hurt away from people and make them whole again. Hurting people hurt people. Deep down, all we want is to be loved, heard, and accepted for who we are. Having the power to remove the suffering from someone and replace it with a feeling of adequacy, acceptance, and deep love would be one of the most satisfying things ever. But, flying would be pretty cool, too. 😉
- If you could have any celebrity live next door to you, who would it be?
You know how I got super deep in my last answer… this is going to be the opposite. No shame, I’d want to live next to Khloe Kardashian. First of all, I feel like we’d be best friends (she says what I’m thinking). Also, she works out like a beast, so I would just hop on over to her backyard and get in a nice little sweat sesh. Love her or hate her, you can’t deny the fact that she has started and successfully has ran multiple businesses. She works hard and plays harder and she loves hip-hop…so really, it’s a neighbor match made in heaven. And to take this neighbor dream to another level, I’d have Dwayne Johnson live on the other side of me. I don’t need to explain to everyone why that would be amazing. It’s DWAYNE JOHNSON.
- If you had guests visiting Austin for the weekend, where is the first place you would take them to show them a good time?
Friday night – head to The Driskill bar for happy hour. Beautiful space, iconic Austin site. Next, head to dinner downtown at Parkside (squeeze in there before 7pm to take full advantage of their happy hour food menu – oysters and bar steak…yaaassss!). Wrap up the night at Geraldine’s at Hotel Van Zandt, because rooftop views of the city and Town Lake, live music, and cocktails. Nothing more Austin than that. Saturday — trip to Mt. Bonnell to see the beautiful views of the Colorado River on one side and the skyline on the other. Stop at Mozart’s Coffee on the water. And, if it’s perfect weather, grab a kayak and hit Town Lake!
- If you played hooky for a day, where would we find you and what would you be doing?
Most likely, I’d be hanging with my husband hitting up our fav coffeeshop, hanging with our adorable dog (shoutout Major!), and relaxing the day away with no agenda.
- When people ask you what you do for a living, what do you tell them?
I recruit, attract, hire, and retain qualified EMTs and Paramedics to work within Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services department. I do so by developing relationships with educational systems, professional and community organizations, the public, and our employees. Part of my job is educating people on EMS as a career in general (what it is, how to get into the industry, etc.) and the other part is educating folks on the City of Austin and our EMS agency as an employer of choice (why they should work for us). I love my job because it’s part high level strategy and part people engagement. Plus, EMS is a honorable career choice for so many men and women (shoutout to my husband, brother, and dad!), and most people don’t even think twice about what it takes to do this job. If you want to ride out on an ambulance and see first-hand, let me know… I can hook you up. Or, if you want to sit in with our 9-1-1 dispatch medics, we can make that happen, too.
- What technology could you not live without?
Let’s all say it together… “MY PHONE!”
- Who inspires you?
My mom — she’s one of the hardest working people I know. She went to college for the very first time in her mid-30’s, worked her way through a teaching career and more degrees to become a Counselor and Administrator and is currently going back to school AGAIN to become an LPC. She hustles hard, loves what she does, and is still always there as a wife, a mom, and a friend. She really is a true inspiration to what setting goals and having them pay off looks like. My grandparents also inspire me to love deeply and love everyone. My grandma has always been a selfless person, gentle, and kind, with a side of sassy wit. I want to be like her when I grow up. And my grandpa always, always, always showed me what love looks like – deep, heartfelt love. Loving people through their mess, loving people when you don’t want to, and loving yourself and your family. He passed away in Nov 2016, and all I can hope to do is honor is legacy.
- What is your proudest accomplishment?
Honestly, joining CrossFit in the summer of 2016 and sticking with it all these months later. It’s been one of the most mentally and physically difficult things I’ve ever done, but I’m obsessed with it. I’m proud of completing my first competition last November, finishing with 1 second left on the clock. From that moment on, I started dedicating more of my time to working harder, refining my workouts, and setting new goals and intentions to take me to the next level.
- If you couldn’t live in Austin, where would you want to live?
San Diego, with an ocean view. Or Hawaii, with an ocean view.
- I want to learn how to…?Wake up after my alarm goes off the first time and not hit snooze 7 times.
Soup or Salad? Salad
Indoors or Outdoors? Outdoors
Winter or Summer? Summer
Tea or Coffee? COFFEE
Mountains or Beach? Beach
- Favorite Drink?
La Croix – any flavor. Also, all the red wine.