It’s time for another profile in our ongoing #MeetTheTeam series, where we get to know the terrific team of faculty here at RBLP. Today we’re speaking with Denard Ash, RBLP-T!
Hello Denard! Tell us a little about who you are and where you’re from.
I was born in Atlanta and raised in Decatur, GA. My parents were married 61 years prior to my mom’s passing in June of last year. I have seven – yes, seven – siblings and a twin brother, D’Andre. We grew up in a small, three-bedroom home, which taught me a lot about sharing and family/team dynamics. I met my wife, Chawanis, during our senior year of high school. We reunited after college and have been married for 16 years.
What can you tell us about your education and career background before you started working with RBLP?
I left home to earn my undergraduate degree at Tennessee State University in Nashville, TN. I was a music major and attended on a partial scholarship. After graduating, I worked as a school teacher before returning to school to earn a Master’s Degree in Business from Mercer University (Atlanta) in 2009. This led to my transition into project management, where I worked for 10 years in the IT/Telecom industry, leading projects for several top companies. I also embarked upon a few entrepreneurial endeavors, including starting a private middle school with my brother, D’Andre.
Who is a role model that you’ve interacted with in your life that inspired you toward this career trajectory?
My mom was my greatest role model. She lived a full life and was never afraid to reinvent herself. She was a natural, unassuming leader who valued everyone and had a major impact on those who interacted with her. This taught me that leadership was not about being bold or brash, but having a clear vision and adding value to others. I have also been inspired by numerous leaders such as John C. Maxwell and Dr. Myles Munroe through their books and teachings.
What drew you to the role that you’re fulfilling with RBLP as a certification instructor?
I worked as a coach and instructor for several years. After meeting Dr. Gene Coughlin and hearing his vision for RBLP, I felt that the program was a powerful tool that could improve the personal and professional lives of leaders.
In your mind, what is the best definition of “resilience” for those who might be unfamiliar with the program that RBLP offers?
Life is full of challenges, and resilience is about responding positively to them. The goal of leadership is to grow and learn from each challenge and to inspire our teams to do the same.
What are the three most important components, in your opinion, that you try to convey to every team that you train under the RBLP certification program?
The three components I try most to convey are: 1) Don’t complain about what you cannot control within your organization. Work to provide a positive influence in ways that you can control; 2) Value others. People are not a means to an end, but should be the focus of your efforts; and 3) Have character. This is the foundation of leadership.
What is one of your own best personal experiences in your career that has influenced or inspired you in your certification training?
There are several experiences that have inspired me. I am co-owner of a co-work space in Atlanta which allows me to interact with amazing creatives and professionals on a daily basis. It is located in a historic district about three blocks from Martin Luther King Jr.’s childhood home. The environment inspires me to create new things and to continue to help others reach their goals. I have also been inspired by working with the gifted, high-character leaders that have enrolled in the RBLP program. This also keeps me motivated.
In your time as an RBLP instructor, what is one of your best memories of a training program that you’ve accomplished with a company and why?
As a civilian who has never had the privilege of serving in the military, I always enjoy sharing the program and personal experience with service members from all branches.
Pivoting a little bit from the program – tell us a little about yourself outside of work! What other activities or hobbies do you love?
I enjoy reading biographies and memoirs. I feel that you learn more from studying the lives of others than any other way. I also enjoy physical activity (keeps my mind happy), and listening to good music, loudly. When I am not doing those things, I enjoy traveling with my wife, Chawanis, and hanging with my 2 dogs, Brewster and Shasta.
Can you give us a quotation that you feel really inspires you to continue inspiring others?
“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” – Martin Luther King. Jr.
RBLP leadership certifications are about Building Resilient Teams™ that overcome adversity and then can adapt and grow together!