We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashley Gooden-Stewart and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ashley, what is the most important factor behind your success?
Consistency is the most important factor of my success in nonprofit leadership and management. My goal is to serve many low income families and individuals in dire need within my local community. I have to diligently search for grants, donations, and donors to meet this goal. It takes a significant amount of time and effort. Taking time to build rapport and relationships with the people we serve and the board of directors is key as well. In the course of 5 years, I’ve learned to lead, inspire, delegate, plan, and much more.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am the CEO and Founder of The Baby Stewart Foundation. The Baby Stewart Foundation is a 501(c)3 and was founded shortly after the death of my 3 1/2 month old son CJ Stewart in 2015. I wanted to commemorate my son and allow his legacy to live on. I decided to move back to my hometown La Marque, TX and help low income families and those in dire need with baby necessities. In the past, I was faced with many hardships and I knew the struggles of parenthood firsthand. I wanted to alleviate the stress of parents having difficulties buying baby diapers and having access to adequate hygiene care. I wanted my clients to walk away with dignity and with their hope restored. Throughout the years, the population we serve has expanded tremendously. It’s difficult when our donation requests are denied because the need is great and it’s even harder to fulfill our mission. However, we constantly come up with more creative ways to attract the attention of our donors.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
The Galveston County area is filled with many hidden gems. Once I moved back, I noticed it was exciting places in my own backyard, I love going to the Strand district in Galveston. I frequent more of the kid friendly spots since I am a mom on the go! When we need our candy fix, we go to an old fashioned candy shop called La King’s Confectionery. The pecan pralines are to die for and the fresh taffy made is a guilty pleasure too! If you’re looking for something relaxing, go for a walk on the Seawall and if you’re feeling bold, go for a swim! The beach is filled with many eateries such as Benno’s and Bubba Gump Shrimp. If you like happy hour, The Spot is a nice place. Leo’s Cajun Corner is my favorite place to eat riblets, boudin, and étouffée! Visit a few museums in Galveston, the African American museum is a must see! If you’re in Texas City, Gringo’s has great drinks and Tex Mex cuisine. Boyd’s in Texas City also has the cheapest, best crawfish on the Gulf Coast! Tanger Outlets is the best for your shopping needs.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to dedicate my shoutout to my mother, Daphney Gooden. My mother is the very reason why I am who I am today. I watched my mother work hard all her life and accomplish her career goals. She worked hard to provide me with the things I needed and to obtain a college education. The reason why I feel passionately about philanthropy is because of my mother. Throughout my life, I watched my mother help others and give to many nonprofit organizations. She also bought me along with her to volunteer and give back. Her words of wisdom, support, and prayers have gotten me through some hard times. I am forever grateful for my mother.