Twenty Under 40 Q-and-A: The Abbi Agency’s Ashley Brune
Who are you?
Name: Ashley Brune
Profession/Title: VP of Public Relations at The Abbi Agency
Years in Reno/Northern Nevada: 17
RENO, Nev. — In November, the Reno-Tahoe Young Professionals Network announced the winners of its annual Twenty Under 40 Awards.
We at the NNBW feel it’s important for people of all ages, background and professions to have a voice about the current state of business in Northern Nevada.
With the region’s economic future in mind, NNBW Reporter Kaleb M. Roedel is conducting a Q-and-A with each of the 2019 winners; interviews will be published throughout the year. Go to renotahoeypn.com to learn more about Reno-Tahoe YPN. Read this week’s Q-and-A below:
Q: What do you see as the top one or two biggest economic development opportunities for Northern Nevada in 2020 and beyond?
Ashley Brune: As a native Nevadan, I have seen Reno transform from a sleepy gambling town to a vibrant business community. People now have the opportunity to work for renowned tech companies without moving to the Bay Area and sacrificing the open landscape that Nevada provides.
Q: Why is it important for younger professionals to have a seat at the table when it comes to the business community in Northern Nevada?
Brune: From my experience working, I was always working within the community, so I was able to know what was going on that would affect my business or what I was doing in my role. But, it also allowed me to connect more to the community and get more invested. So, I think that it’s good for people to be involved early on, especially with a seat at the table with their voice, because it’s really going to help with their longevity and their career, building those relationships. But, they’ve also got new knowledge to bring to other people who have been maybe in their positions for many years. When you’re in a position for so long, you kind of stay in that position and that mindset. When you bring somebody new, they’re bringing in these new ideas that you might not think of because you’re siloed. I think that it also gives that younger person the opportunity to develop their career and their education and their insights by having that seat at the table and then growing their experience.
Q: What burgeoning industry or industries have the biggest opportunity for growth in Northern Nevada?
Brune: I would say all different types of industries have the potential here. But, where I see the growth and the impact is how they can actually invest in our community. I don’t that I can speak intelligently on what sector there will be growth, but I think there’s opportunity to grow within a community here as far as education or job creation and things of that nature. I think Reno is hungry for a change. When I see growth, I think of our non-profit sector or where people need help. I think that we’ve been going to the same well for a really long time for non-profit opportunities, grant funding scholarships, and I think that these new businesses have an opportunity to grow their presence within the community by being able to provide some of those funds. I kind of look at it from what the community can gain from these businesses being in town. I think any company has an opportunity to be a part of this community and grow themselves and their employees and those affected by them in this community.
Q: Where do you see the greater Reno-Sparks region in five years?
Brune: That is a good question. How I’d love to see it? I’d love to see that we have more affordable housing, I’d love to see that we have more educational opportunities, I’d love to see that we have more organizations out there as far as even networking goes. I’d hope to see Reno rallies around that idea and can support it.
I think we’re going to see an influx of people, for sure. I think we’re also going to see the healthcare companies really stepping up and providing more access for these people that are coming. I know that from conversations with some healthcare providers that that’s something they’re already looking at as more people are relocating here. They’re looking at how to expand those services, which is obviously going to benefit everybody. So, that’s something I know that the healthcare industry is doing here.
I think it’s going to be different. I think that when we get an influx of people we’re also going to see more co-working spaces open up. It’s going to have a different vibe, and I think it’ll be good for us. I think that we’re willing to embrace that. But we as a city need to accommodate things like affordable housing and education to sustain it.
Q: If you could change one thing for the better about your community, what would it be?
Brune: With the influx of new companies and people moving to the region, I hope that Reno keeps its identity, which is rooted in its spunky and unique culture.
“The thing that I like most about entrepreneurship is I can work toward something that I’m passionate about and be at the forefront of the change that I want to see happen,” said Priyanka Senthil, a senior at Davidson Academy in Reno and co-founder of startup company AUesome.