Host Company: Slane Capital Partners
Current Company: DinnerCall
As a senior at Butler University, Ashton was faced with a tough choice: a guaranteed job offer, or taking a chance on the Fellowship before she knew if she’d even made it past the first round of interviews. So what did she do? She followed her gut. She turned down the job offer and pursued Orr Fellowship instead. “I guess that was probably the first indicator that it was the right decision for me,” she says. “You have to accept ambiguity and be comfortable with a certain amount of risk as an entrepreneur.”
In the end, Ashton made it past the first round of Orr Fellowship interviews and went on to interview with former host company, Slane Capital Partners. She was intrigued by Slane’s unique start-up studio / pre-seed investment firm concept which was located in her hometown of Noblesville, IN. From there, she says “the stars aligned” and she was brought on board.
At Slane she was immersed in every aspect of business and given big responsibilities early on, working on projects involving product wireframing, launch strategy, social media marketing, branding, communications, and program audits with portfolio companies. She also co-authored The First-Time Founder’s Equity Bible with Gerry Hays, a founding partner and teammate at Slane. The mentorship, trust, opportunity, and respect she was given made all the difference in helping her grow, and do so on an expedited schedule. These experiences in turn played a key role in helping her get admitted to the University of Chicago Booth School of Business for her MBA in 2013.
Many of the projects Ashton worked on at Slane operated in the grocery retail industry because partners Gerry and Geff Hays have extensive experience in the industry. DinnerCall, where Ashton is now President and Co-Founder, began as an idea at Slane and launched in 2015 as a standalone company. Ashton credits the Fellowship with connecting her with Gerry in the first place, which has led to tremendous opportunities to lead and shape DinnerCall.
“Now that I’ve joined the Orr Fellow alumni, the value of the Fellowship is clear: it’s the people, the relationships, and the network. Looking around and seeing what my peers and the Fellows before me are doing now is truly awe-inspiring. Bottom line, Orr Fellowship opens doors and gives you the support you need as you work towards setting the stage for a successful and impactful career path.”