My Name Is Ashley Hamilton — This Is Why I Joined Aha!
“Do you have any hobbies?” This is a hard question. Over the years, my curious nature has led to paddleboarding, knitting, gardening, speaking Italian, and most recently, the ukulele. Of course, not every hobby becomes a lifelong passion. But I am always up for a new challenge.
Early in my career, I was fortunate to work for “The Oprah Show.” It kept me on my toes for five years. Every day brought a new topic. Part of my job was to watch show tapings and write accompanying online content. Fashion mistakes, medical miracles, “freeganism,” you name it — the work was never dull.
Once the show went off the air, I looked for other work that would feed my curiosity. But I wasn’t sure where to go. So, I spent some time exploring what I really wanted to work on.
I produced content for Forbes Travel Guide and Travelzoo and led social media marketing at Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. Eventually, I started my own business as a writer and social media strategist so I could work with a broad set of clients. My client list quickly grew and even included Northwestern University. This is how I discovered Aha!
I needed great content to share on social media for a Northwestern leadership program that I was helping to promote — the Aha! blog answered the call. I found the posts clever and insightful. I became a regular reader. So when I saw an opening on the marketing team, I knew I wanted to apply. I was excited about working with a team that is changing how companies innovate and helping people enjoy the process.
I loved reading the Aha! content. But not just that. It seemed like there was a purpose behind each post — like the authors truly cared about how they impacted people.
My theory was confirmed once I talked to Keith Brown, leader of the marketing team. He was passionate about the work they were doing. And he stressed how much care and effort went into every project. But he also talked a lot about the team — how everyone supported and valued one another.
Keith then connected me with Molly Jane Quinn. I remember him saying, “I think you will really enjoy talking to her.” And I did. Molly shared Keith’s positive outlook. She told me that everyone at Aha! put in a lot of work, but they got even more back.
The last step of my interview process was talking with co-founder and CEO Brian de Haaff. And that’s when I knew that all this positivity and focus on growth was not unique to the marketing team — it was the foundation for the culture at Aha!
There was something else I learned during the interview process — Aha! values curiosity. In fact, it’s one of the guiding principles of The Responsive Method, a set of beliefs that the company created and lives by.
I quickly realized that everyone at the company shares my curious nature. We are always asking ourselves: What can we learn? What can we do better? Is there a more unique way to approach this? I am happy to be part of a team that asks those questions. And then continually strives to come up with the best answers.
Despite being spread across the country, we connect daily on our group messaging tool and video chats. We have meaningful conversations on topics we care deeply about. And we laugh — a lot! (It is not uncommon for me to be sitting on a video chat, laughing until I cry.)
Another perk of remote work? Without a commute, I finally have time for all those hobbies. In fact, I just started learning a new song on the ukulele. I may even play it for you one day if you join the team.
That is why I joined Aha! — and why you should too.