Meet ystark! YP: Ashley Wright


Ashley Wright



Occupation/Title/Place of work:

Director of Planning and Development, Stark Metropolitan Housing Authority (SMHA)

Why are you interested in Stark County’s Young Professionals initiative?

I am interested in working with other interested members of the community to engage in discussions and contribute to solutions to make Stark County a better place to live, work, and play.

What would you share to encourage other people to join?

As a life-long resident of Stark County and someone who cares deeply about its future, it is imperative that community leaders actively take strides to further the continued improvement of our businesses, places of employment, housing, educational institutions, recreational facilities, and our overall neighborhoods.

Did you grow up in Stark? If so, where? If not, where did you move from and why?

I spent my childhood in Osnaburg Twp. (East Canton), attended Malone University in Canton, and currently reside with my husband and daughter in Plain Twp. (North Canton).

Why do you stay in Stark County, from both a personal and professional point of view?

My husband and I are native to Stark County and have been residents our entire lives. Our family is in Stark County and we are fortunate to have received our education here as well. Stark County provides excellent housing options for families with many amenities nearby as well as excellent schools both public and private to foster growth in children in the community.

What do you like MOST about Stark County?

I enjoy the diversity of people, the community comradery, the arts, restaurants, and retail options, but mostly I enjoy that Stark County is family-oriented with many opportunities both educational and for fun that I can enjoy with my family.

What would you change about Stark County if you could?

I would break down some of the biases that exist and that are barriers to the growth of Stark County such as social, economical, or political perceptions.

What do you see as valuable opportunities for YPs in Stark County when it comes to career opportunities, cultural access, leadership or community involvement opportunities?

There are resources available in the community to help YPs make informed decisions about the ways in which they can help positively impact the community. Opportunities such as the Chamber of Commerce, various Boards, clubs, non-profits,or other civic organizations are plentiful and welcoming. The key is involvement and taking the first steps to identify what interests you and doing research to determine the most effective way to become involved.

What would attract more YPs to Stark County?

The continued enrichment of things like the arts, parks and recreation, and diverse and unique businesses such as retail shops and restaurants. Many YPs are family-oriented or are active. More walkable communities would be a major draw as well as a job market that does not just provide jobs but provide careers with growth opportunities.

What do you do in the evenings or on the weekends for fun in Stark County or NE Ohio?

My family enjoys visiting the parks, walking trails, or nature preserves. We hike, fish, and canoe at local parks; roller skate or ice skate; bowl or play pool; My family and I are involved in activities such as soccer, swimming, volleyball, and basketball. We also enjoy coming to downtown Canton and going to shops or enjoying dinner. Additionally, attending the theater, art galleries, book shops, wineries or breweries are also fun things I do on the evening or weekends in Stark County.

Could you see yourself spending your lifetime in Stark County and if not, what would cause you to leave?

I absolutely see myself staying in Stark County. My husband and I are very happy in our careers and we see Stark County as a great place to raise our daughter.