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Pepperdine University
Ashley Rhame

Ashley Rhame

San Diego, California

Title: Head of Marketing and Communications


HoyleCohen logo



Seaver College Class of 2014

BA International Management

What does being one of Pepperdine's 40 under 40 honorees mean to you?

I am incredibly humbled that the Pepperdine multidisciplinary selection committee has selected me to be an honoree for this award. It is an honor to stand beside some of Pepperdine's best talent and leadership, which spans many industries. When I was notified of my selection as one of the 40 under 40 honorees, at first I was amazed that someone would nominate me without telling me, and then I felt incredibly proud. Proud to be among the top 40 at my age, proud of all of the people who have supported me in getting here, proud of what I believe in, and SO incredibly proud to be able to call myself a Pepperdine alumna.

My selection means a lot of things, including a sense of responsibility to continue to carry out the Pepperdine values not only in my career, but in all aspects of my life. Being selected as one of 40 under 40 at age 24 means that there is no specific formula for achieving success and being recognized for it. I am a strong believer that God has placed every person on this earth to fulfill a mission. Achieving success is nothing more than finding that mission and simply going out there and doing it.

Describe your success:

I attribute my success to two things: my faith and my parents, both of which have shown me that even the impossible can be made possible. I am incredibly passionate about my career and making it one of purpose, which is why I have intertwined my career in marketing with philanthropy. I currently work for HoyleCohen LLC, a rapidly growing wealth management firm with approximately $1 billion in assets under management, as the head of marketing and communications for all HoyleCohen offices.

In less than two years, I have introduced my firm to the digital marketing world and have created a strong culture of community involvement through our "HC Giving Back" program, both of which have led to HoyleCohen being named among the "Best Places to Work" by the San Diego Business Journal, being named a "Top Financial Adviser" by the Financial Times two years in a row, receiving national recognition in countless publications including TD Ameritrade, becoming the only financial firm in San Diego with a firm-wide giving back program, and over nine figures of growth in assets under management in the past two years.

How does Pepperdine play into your success?

Outside of my work at HoyleCohen, I am extremely passionate about philanthropy, particularly finding solutions for change in areas that need it most—youth education and veterans' mental health. For education I focus on finding better ways to prepare students for college and the future. I have become a mentor to underprivileged high school students, understanding and learning not only their needs, but trying to bridge the gaps where they are needed. For our wounded veterans I concentrate on the transition into a life of purpose after returning from war. I have been helping veterans through educational seminars, spending time in their facilities to better understand their needs, getting involved in their sporting events, and simply being their friend. Since my time at Pepperdine, I have dedicated the past several years to being personally involved and connected with these communities. I was recently chosen to be a Nation Liaison at the 2016 Invictus Games hosted by Michelle Obama and Prince Harry, where I had the opportunity to meet veterans from all over the world, and see how these sports have truly given them a new meaning to life.

However, when I describe my biggest success to date, I am most proud of the relationships I have built throughout my life. I am incredibly thankful for my strong faith and relationship with God, my church community, my close knit family, my work family, and every single one of the people in my life I am lucky enough to call friends.

Who inspires you and why?

Everyone who knows me knows that I am a huge advocate of women with a strong voice and a will to lead. There is one young woman in particular that inspired me from the start, and her name is Malala Yousafzai. When I first heard Malala's story, I wanted to share it with everyone I knew. I felt truly inspired that this child was able to overcome an evil and unjust attack, emerging from it stronger than ever. She did not let her traumatic experiences put her down, but instead used her experience for good and has continued to be an incredible advocate for women's education all over the world. People often let fear get in the way of accomplishing many things in their lives. Malala is living proof that fear should not be an obstacle, and she sets out to remind everyone around her that they can accomplish anything they set their mind to. She continues to inspire me not only with her strong will and perseverance, but with the powerful message she represents, for women and people of all generations. I hope to one day be able to work with her on this incredible cause.

What's next for you? What's your five year outlook? What's your ten year plan?

It is always difficult to know exactly what is going to happen in the future, but I think my future plans include an MBA in nonprofit leadership and the establishment of my own non-profit that will sponsor underprivileged students. I want my organization to not only help students attend college through scholarship contributions, but also to better prepare them for higher education, give them exposure to financial literacy at an early stage in life, all while introducing entrepreneurial concepts and work opportunities within high school. After my MBA, I plan to work for an international non-profit that focuses on K-12 education, helping to ensure that more students graduate from high school with the resources necessary to succeed in college and in life.
My 10-year goal is be able to leverage all of my experience, knowledge, and passion to form a non-profit that benefits all public high schools in the United States by providing not only mentors, but also all the proper tools and guidance they need in order to be prepared for college or a different life path that may interest them. My goal is to have every child in the U.S. public school system go into college not only better prepared, but with a better understanding of what possibilities exist for them in the future.

What's your secret sauce?

I take an hour to myself in the middle of my workday and workout.

How do you prepare for a busy day?

I write everything down in my planner, stick to a schedule, and prep meals for on the go.

What is one of your hobbies?

Playing the piano, reading a good book, running outside, kickboxing, and traveling.

What is your favorite quote?

"Leadership is the expectation that you can use your voice for good. That you can make the world a better place." –Sheryl Sandberg

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Great question—a lawyer.