Meet Canadian native Ashley-Ann Pereira, author of ‘The Key to Happiness,’ a transformational coach, public speaker, and philanthropist. After establishing that helping others has always been her passion since she was much younger, Ashley-Ann pursued social service work at the Sheridan College, Toronto. Having since worked for the Canadian Red Cross, volunteered in Nicaragua with WE & coached many youths with special needs in BMX, Ashley-Ann successfully helped build houses with Habitat for Humanity.
Ashley-Ann’s own personal challenges and how she’s overcome them are her core foundation for the work she now does, believing that she is helping to transform the lives of others through her self-funded program, “I AM”.
Once gracing the stages at Momondays Toronto and Niagara to share her own personal life lessons, this later inspired the ‘My Life Lesson’ series: a series of short documentaries featuring people from all walks of life that Ashley-Ann handpicked. We talk to Ashley-Ann about why she initially created this powerful movement and why she believes that this has now become a helpful catalyst for enabling society to be brought together.
Hey Ashley Ann, how it’s all going?
Can you talk us through a typical 24 hour in your shoes?
My typical morning begins around 6:30am and I get ready and go to work at my full-time job at the Canadian Red Cross where I help seniors and vulnerable adults in the city of Toronto with various services. At the end that part of my life, I come home and for the next 4-6 hours, I’m focused on my business.
Weekends are probably my favourite days, and not for the reasons you may be thinking. This is my time to just have a full day focused on my business, building my personal brand, connecting with people, and planning out my goals for the following days, weeks and months!
How has the journey been since launching your book ‘The Key to Happiness?’
Truthfully, I didn’t expect what was to come after I launched my book in September.
I jump for joy when I see a complete stranger who lives in a different country purchasing my book!
I had this moment at my book launch, pure joy filled my body and since then I’ve been able to get so extremely clear on my purpose and the next steps.
Going to school for social work, and always wanting to help people has all lead me to this career path, transformational coaching.
What were the first steps to becoming a transformational coach?
This first step was me going through a transformation myself.
I’ve had my fair share of challenges. My parents separated when I was younger so in a sense there was “daddy issues”, had my heart-broken a handful of times, broken hearts more than I could count, lost loved ones and struggled with body image for about 10 years.
I went on a journey to just heal myself of everything. I didn’t want to have any hate, bitterness or anger in my heart. I was simply striving to be the best version of myself and in order to do that I had to face my past.
What I think makes me unique is that I never had a moment where I said I want to be a transformation coach, it was a natural process of me just answering my calling and realizing that this was how I was going to give back to the world.
What are you currently learning about in business?
Taxes! Boring, and yet exciting to be learning about it from my fellow entrepreneurs.
What keeps me up at night is learning how to develop my personal brand and learning how to monetize on Instagram to be more specific.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
At the end of last year, I watched probably 3 minutes of a video with Gary Vaynerchuk and it was everything I needed to hear coming into 2018 and starting my own path. He simply said, “try new things”. I have kept that at the back of my head this year and I’ve made so many new connections for future collaborations! Not only that, whenever I have an idea (especially on my commutes to and from work), I write it on my phone and transfer to my notebook with many ideas that I have for my personal brand.
Best advice you can give someone?
Be authentic and do what makes you happy!
Since I have come to terms with every single one of my life obstacles and I don’t hide them in any shape or form people have been able to connect with me on a deeper level. Doing what makes me happy has allowed me to have the most special relationship, my book, my business, everything! All because I stay true to who I am and what makes me happy.
Who do you feel is an inspiration to your life?
Celebrity, Ellen Degeneres. Her kindness and generosity leave me speechless every single day.
I am also so incredibly blessed that at the age of 24 I have been surrounded by such incredible entrepreneurs who have inspired me to live up to my potential. Just to name a few Carol Schulte, Fabiana Bacchini, Judy Machado-Duque, Marcos Mendosa.
I also have to say and I realize it more and more every day that passes, my mom has always been my biggest inspiration. She raised me and my 2 older sisters on her own for many years while working multiple jobs, working weekends and still found time to support us in everything we did.
Till this day she wakes up and is at work before I’m out of bed, and she gets home after I come home from work. She is my true definition of strength and hard-working. Whenever I “complain” about being tired, I immediately think of her and it completely changes my mood. For all you’ve done mom, thank you and I love you!
My environment truly is everything and there are so many people who are my inspiration my big sisters Eden and Catarina, my baby brother Issac, and baby sister Victoria, my dad, my family, my incredible boyfriend Philip, and my best friend Maggie!
I can’t just say, one person!!
If you could travel back in time what would you do again?
Get ready for the cliche. I honestly can’t think of anything I would want do over again. Everything that I’ve done good and bad was for a purpose. All leading me up to where I am today. Any mistakes I’ve made, I’ve learned from. They have taught me how to be a better human being, a better daughter, sister, friend, girlfriend and ultimately coach.
I don’t take a single second for granted and so I really don’t spend much time worrying about what happened yesterday. I always want to keep looking and moving forward.
What has been the winning moment for you so far?
That is probably one of the toughest questions I’ve ever been asked.
However, I know exactly what moment comes to mind. Every single celebration I’ve had and goal I’ve achieved wouldn’t have happened if this one moment never became a reality.
My winning moment was when I was able to look at myself in the mirror and smile. It’s when I was able to say “I love you” and “I’m proud of you” while looking at myself in the mirror. All of these opportunities and achievements wouldn’t have been possible if I never had found my confidence, who I was, and how to love myself.
What podcasts or YouTube channels are currently great for motivation? If any?
Be Inspired YouTube channel. These videos get my heart going, and my mind going into another world filled with so many possibilities. This is my ideal background noise when doing work.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
I am very excited to share I have completed my program “I AM” to help facilitates people’s healing from their past, finding themselves and re-igniting their self-love. My goal is to have run a total of 10 by the end of 2018. The last thing before launching is doing a test run to practice my flow and get constructive feedback from people in my community. Alongside this I have been connecting and providing as much value possible to people I know are my ideal clients.
The next project I am working on that will be launch May 14, 2018, is the My Life Lesson series. This is a series of short documentaries with people from all walks of life. I had this vision at the end of 2017 to bring society together. The only way we can do this is to create empathy and understanding for each other by sharing what it’s like to have lived your life. From mental health to relationships, to bullying, and to immigrants. This is the start of a movement believe me!!
What are the most effective tools you use to spread the awareness as a coach?
Instagram mainly and also Facebook, and my book of course!! Through Instagram and Facebook, I have been able to meet and collaborate with other life coaches, such as Marlie Love. We’ve never met in person, we’re in different countries and we’ve been able to connect and spread value to our audiences together through social media. And that’s why I love social media!
Through social media, I can connect with people who are my ideal clients so it gives me the opportunity to provide value and build rapport with them!
What about any challenging times you have had to overcome?
Well you can get the in-depth story in my book ‘The Key to Happiness’
But, I think I’ve done the most growth in the last 2 years on a personal level and business level. My entrepreneurial journey started in 2015 with a friend of mine, we created Dreams Inc. which is all about empowering youth and helping them find their life direction. For years since I was taking social service work in college and even earlier I always said I wanted to work in a high school with youth. I believe in my heart of hearts that was my purpose. This past fall, I had one of my biggest breakthroughs and realized that who I wanted and needed to serve was young adults mid-20s and up. It was one of the most challenging decisions I’ve had to make to leave that business. But, I knew in my heart of hearts that I had to follow my purpose, my dream and stay true to myself. Had I not, I would have just held my partner back.
You are also a philanthropist, what would you say your best moment has been so far?
My best moment by far was August 2015. While in college I had this dream, this mission to volunteer abroad. I wanted to find a job and just simply do that. I discovered WE, formally Free the Children. For 2 years I was telling everybody about this dream to go abroad, I didn’t think it was ever going to be possible to do right away so, I put it on my “one-day” list.
In May 2015, I lost my grandmother 4 days after Mother’s Day on May 14th, and it was a big wake up call. I asked myself, “what am I waiting for?”. So I believe it was June I told my mom I was going to Africa, I was so excited to tell her. And I could see the fear in her eyes. We finally compromised and my first trip abroad was August 14th, 2015. So not only did I achieve a goal that I didn’t think was possible, my grandmother gave me her signs that she was with me and I was going to Nicaragua!!! 14 days of pure joy and gratitude. I met so many wonderful, kind and happy kids and families, I learned everyday struggles they face and I met a man whose words have forever left a mark on my life, Padre Fernando. We got to sit and listen to him for 2 hours and a few words of wisdom from him:
“Being brave does not mean not having fears, it means having fears and pushing through them.” -Padre Fernando
“Live life intensely and search profoundly for happiness.” -Padre Fernando
What does success look like in your eyes?
Success to me is being happy. Happy with who I am, happy in my relationship, happy in my career. And what is happy, to me, it’s being my true self, challenging myself, constantly growing and learning, staying present, appreciating each moment and celebrating life! I also see success as being financially free so that I continue to give back more and more.
Thinking about this, I’m quite happy to say I am successful!
What does it mean to you to truly #BEYOUROWN?
#BEYOUROWN means be true to yourself, be your authentic self. In every single area of your life. Embrace all of your obstacles because that is what is shaping you to be the person you are meant to be. And of course, do what makes you happy, always!
Lastly, what is on the horizon for 2018 for you?
My word for 2018 is “BOLD”. For me, that is a constant reminder to make bold moves. My focus for 2018 is to help facilitate healing for people who need it! Since my breakthrough, I have a new-found belief in myself and how I can contribute to people’s lives for the better. So this year is about taking action on that!