Senior Director of Talent Acquisition: Leading With Vulnerability

Meet Ashley Core, Senior Director of Talent Acquisition here at SoFi. Ashley joined SoFi in April, 2019 and ever since she joined, has prioritized creating a safe and supportive working environment for her Talent Acquisition team. With Mental Health Awareness Month upon us, Ashley is opening the door to discuss the importance of de-stigmatizing mental health and how it all starts with empathy and vulnerability.

Ashley shared with us that she grew up in an environment where vulnerability was seen as weakness. Choosing to be open is very much an active practice on her part, and has helped her to learn what others are capable of in terms of open and honest communication. For example, when a tough situation arises at work, she may choose to practice radical candor with a team member; however, if she is met with defensiveness, this helps her determine that they may not be interested in connecting in that way and a different approach is needed. More often than not, when she chooses to be vulnerable, she has found that the other person meets her there. This helps create a more authentic connection and a better outcome, than if she chose to lead with  intellect or knowledge alone. 

Mental Health Awarness Month Creatives (5)

Ashley’s vulnerability shines through in her extra efforts at SoFi like her GROW partnership where she volunteers her time to mentor, Corporate Finance Manager, Binbin Wu. GROW is SoFi’s mentorship program and its objective is to develop SoFi’s underrepresented minorities and groups through professional mentorship. Ashley offers Binbin real-time feedback, active coaching, and support on her professional journey. Binbin shared that Ashley sets a great example by being her authentic self at work. Ashley speaks so passionately about her work in recruiting, she shows the ropes of being successful at work and at home by setting healthy balance and boundaries. “I have no doubt, she has been and will continue to inspire many working moms,” said Binbin. 

In May, our Core Value Of The Month is Learn, Iterate, Innovate, and it also happens to be Ashley’s favorite of our 11 values. As a leader, she never punishes her team for trying and failing or for making mistakes, as long as they learn from them and put the proper measures in place to prevent them from happening in the future. She has worked in punitive environments where blame must always be found and that not only increases stress at work but also decreases truth and honesty. She believes that our Learn, Iterate, Innovate value allows people to own their decisions and move forward through non-optimal results. 

When asking Ashley for advice for those who may need more vulnerability from their manager and/or how to lead with vulnerability, she provided an inspiring and comforting response: “By opening up, you give others a chance to do the same. Many of us move in fear of rejection, but rejection serves a powerful purpose as redirection in our lives, and gives us valuable information from which we can make decisions," she said. Additionally, she often advises people to ask for what they need in life, from a manager or anyone else they want to connect more deeply with. “When you take away the fear of rejection and allow space for connection, magic can happen. And if it doesn't, you can know that you tried and perhaps the person on the other end is not able to meet you there.” 

Mental Health Awarness Month Creatives (4)

As a leader, Ashley shares elements of her life that historically aren’t talked about at work, such as therapy or the time spent actively caring for her physical and mental health as well as her work/life balance. She may choose to share with her teammates when she’s feeling anxious at work, or how she manages anxiety. Many of her co-workers have shared feedback  that Ashley’s openness helps people also seek out similar tools for their own well-being, and that they feel comfortable talking to her about these topics because she shares openly. Ishani Ganguly, tech recruiter at SoFi, explained that “although a lot of leaders talk about work/life balance, Ashley really walks the walk.” She consistently encourages her team to take PTO to unplug and genuinely wants to be sure it’s enough time to refresh their mental health. Ishani feels it’s truly inspiring to see Ashley unplug and it gives her and the team space to do the same, more often. 

Ashley is also a big proponent of Modern Health for therapy and coaching and encourages her team to take advantage of the benefit as well. SoFi offers most of our employees access to Modern Health which provides technology and professional support to help our employees reduce stress, feel more engaged, and be happier! As the one-stop shop for all tools related to mental well-being and self-improvement, we encourage our employees to take advantage of the resources offered to help them prevent burnout, manage stress, and cope with anxiety or depression. 

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Ashley was featured in our SoFi-ety blog last year discussing her approach to having a fulfilling family life and career. Mona Mehta, Senior Recruiting Manager explained that she truly appreciates Ashley’s leadership style, which integrates wellness as a core part of each team member’s long term success. Sharing her own life experiences have truly had an impact on her team, and leading by example allows them to embody and translate the same values into their respective teams! 

Thank you, Ashley for forging the way by leading with vulnerability. Your impact on the People Team, and the greater company is larger than you know.

The individual featured is a SoFi employee. Their personal experiences, obviously, do not take into account your own specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. Results will vary.

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Aly Wangerin, Talent Brand @ SoFi