By Bradley Sanders

Staff Writer

From the cleats to stilettos, Ashlee Simpson is leading woman in the game and the office. Simpson is an area education manager at Junior Achievement of Northwest Florida, where she is empowering and teaching young people in the panhandle area.

Junior Achievement is a nonprofit organization that partners with business people in the community who are willing to volunteer their time in our local schools. These individuals are trained with their nationally-developed curriculum and hands-on experience that will help young people understand the economics during adulthood. Through their programs they educate and help prepare young individuals for the real world by showing them the importance of generating wealth and managing it, entrepreneurship skills, and community upbringing.

During 2015-2016, Junior Achievement reached over 5,000 students in the Escambia, Santa Rosa, and Bay counties. They have over 250 volunteers who go into these schools and teach their curriculum to these students.   Financial literacy is an essential skill that needs to be taught and implemented at a young age and continued through their years to adulthood and Junior Achievement is scoring homerooms at accomplishing this.

Simpson is a transplant from Decatur, Alabama and found her forever home here in Pensacola. The University of West Florida is what brought Simpson here to the greater gulf coast. Softball was her burning passion and UWF offered her a scholarship to attend school and play for them. During her time at UWF, Simpson was a member of the Marketing Linguistics Association, the student athlete representative within the Student Government Association, and was the softball captain her senior year. Simpson graduated UWF in 2010 with her Bachelor’s in Business Administration and a concentration in marketing.

Simpson has a passion for UWF and is a member in the alumni association and hopes one day to obtain her masters. When asked about advice for UWF students, Simpson was clear and to the point.

“Network. The more people you know the more you can grow and develop yourself,” Simpson said. “Working in the growing city of Pensacola you constantly have to keep yourself relevant.”

After UWF and before Junior Achievement, Simpson spent some time working for different marketing and advertising agencies in the area. While working her way up the ladder she missed softball, so she decided to become a coach. To do this, she enrolled at Pensacola State College for education, so she could work within the school. She accomplished this goal and became the softball, weightlifting, and soccer coach at Pensacola High School, ran their computer lab, and was their secretary for their program. Simpson was at Pensacola High School for four years before entering the marketing and advertising industry again.

While working in the marketing department of a local business she worked with Ilda Hosman, who is now the Area President of Junior Achievement of Northwest Florida. When Ilda started her journey with Junior Achievement she needed an education manager and her first call was to Simpson. From working together previously, connecting and establishing a relationship, Simpson received an opportunity of a lifetime to help mold and educate the children of our future.

When Simpson is not climbing the success ladder and helping teach lifelong lessons, she can be found playing softball for her adult league, volunteering with other organizations in the area, or relaxing at our beautiful beaches.

Simpson is associated with Junior League, Financial Literacy Association, Achieve Escambia, and is a Leadership of Pensacola, LEAP, member. LEAP is a group of 50 nominated uprising community/philanthropic leaders who are assigned to network and do some type of community development project for a local nonprofit that will benefit the community in some sort. They are given a deadline and required to work with one another to complete this project, and when this project is over they are now classified as graduates of LEAP. Simpson describes why she is so active in the community and is truly a model citizen of Pensacola.

“I am here to help other people, that is my purpose,” Simpson said.