How has she positively impacted women and/or girls in Chicago?
Ashli supports Black female business owners by connecting them with resources and individuals within her vast network to help their businesses scale and grow. Ashli connects female college students looking for internships and women (including recent grads) who are looking jobs that will enhance their career. She also serves as a mentor and provides guidance to prospective college students through a nonprofit organization called Target Hope and the Chicago Area Fisk University Alumni Association.
What lessons can girls and/or other women learn from her?
As a first-generation college student, Ashli had to navigate the college admissions process on her own and find and secure scholarships, work-study placements, and loans on her own. Ashli had to learn the professionalism and skills she needed to succeed in the workforce on her own. Girls and women can learn resilience and tenacity from her. No matter what obstacles she has faced personally or professionally, she always works tireless to overcome them.
About Ashli Nelson
Ashli Nelson is the Director of Government Affairs and National Diversity Outreach for McDonald’s Corporation. Ashli serves as the primary representative to the Congressional Diversity Caucuses, community organizations, and to the National Diversity Franchisee Associations on legislative and community engagement work. She is currently leading the US Community Engagement Strategy for the McDonald’s USA Diversity & Inclusion plan.
For the past 14 years, Ashli has worked in an array of government and civil service positions around the nation. She joined the McDonald’s brand in January 2019 to lead strategic engagement and US Government Relations for the Midwest as a regional manager tasked with engaging with all elected officials, community groups, and McDonald’s Owner/Operators in the Midwest to drive legislation and improve brand reputation.
Prior to joining McDonald’s Corporation, Ashli spent eight years in the Chicago Mayor’s office where she served as a senior adviser and Director of Scheduling and Advance to former Mayor Rahm Emanuel in the areas of strategy, public engagement, and public affairs.
Throughout her time in the Mayor’s office, Ashli served as a National White House Volunteer Advance Associate responsible for coordinating events and logistics for former President Barack Obama and First Lady Obama as well as Vice President Joe Biden.
Ashli’s commitment to civic engagement is evident in her continued volunteer work and board appointments. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated and Target Hope, both of which strive to increase the socio-economic statuses of at risk communities. Ashli is a native of the South Side of Chicago and currently resides in the South Shore community with her college sweetheart. She is the first person in her family to receive a Bachelor’s degree. Her parent’s passion for education and culture fueled her desire to further her education and travel the world. Ashli received her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Fisk University and her Master’s degree in Public Administration from DePaul University. Ashli is also a Certified Diversity Professional by the National Diversity Council and Diversity & Inclusion certificate holder from Yale University.