We had the good fortune of connecting with Dr. Ashley Elliott and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dr. Ashley, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I started my consulting business in September 2014. It was purely the result of hurt and rage. I was finishing my doctoral program and one of my advisors told me that I had to choose between “being a good mother or being a good psychologist”. I never forgot that. That conversation replayed in my head from the time it hit my pregnant ears and continued playing as I took care of my then newborn daughter. I’ve wanted to be a psychologist since I was 7 years-old as a result of my own trauma and experiences. Hearing someone tell me I couldn’t because I was a mother started a fire in my soul. One night I decided I was not only going to be a psychologist, but a consultant and advocate to meet the needs of my community. With no money (grad school keeps you broke) after a talk with God, I got online and started to create an LLC. I remember grabbing my credit card to pay and being met with a message that I needed to call the credit card company. I thought my purchase was going to be declined and they were just asking me to call to get an explanation for the rejected transaction. I was so wrong. They rejected my payment attempt because they wanted to increase my credit line. My new limit was EXACTLY what I needed to cover my LLC, website, and filing fees. At that moment, I knew I had to hit the ground running. It was bigger than me. I am definitely covered and protected. I could be a good mother, a good psychologist, and so much more.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m a proud multi-hyphenate. I’m currently a resident therapist at a private practice in Arlington, Virginia. I own my mental health consulting agency, Vivid Innovations Consulting. I also operate as an author, a motivational speaker, a mental health advocate, and a special education advocate. Any and all of the success that I’ve had professionally and creatively has everything to do with my belief system. I strongly believe that I was placed on this wild wild Earth to make a difference and spread messages of empowerment, encouragement, and enlightenment. I saw first hand what happens when people don’t have emotional support, when people neglect their mental health needs, and when people don’t have the information they need to live a better life. Knowing all this, it fuels my passion to continue my mission. The journey has not been easy. I’ve dealt with chronic pain diagnoses, ridiculous health scares and emergencies, my own mental health issues, being a mom, divorce, deaths, racism and sexism, and so much more. I’ve cried, prayed, cursed, and vented. The one thing I’ve never done is stopped believing in my ability to help others and believing in my life’s purpose. I’ve taken some pauses. I’ve been dealt some blows, but I’ve never given up. Whenever life has become overwhelming, I’ve taken time to reset. I’ve utilized mental health and wellness resources. I’ve treated my spirit to what it needed to heal during each hardship or dark moment. I also remind myself that these issues are temporary and I have the tools necessary to fight and make it to the other side. When it’s all said and done, I want the world to know that Dr. Elliott, Dr. Vivid, Ashley, worked to break generational curses, smash taboos, and gave her all to normalize the discussion around mental health and wellness.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I love my city! D.C. is booming with a lot of new and true Black-owned businesses that I love to visit. I support others as well, but I am unapologetically Black and do what I can to support our communities. We’ll tour those first. Ben’s Upstairs is my brunch spot. We love a good brunch where we can keep the mimosas flowing. Turning Natural is a great vegan spot. No, I’m not vegan, but the smoothies and juices there so good. We can have a picnic, get our skate on, or cookout at Anacostia Park. We can get cute and have dinner on the Oddessy, which offers a very cute brunch/lunch/dinner cruising experience on the river. I love live music, so we’re definitely going to see some of my local favorite bands and solo acts. We can head to the MGM and spend some time at the casino and visit some of the restaurants as well. I love to treat my friends to home-cooked meals and great conversation at my home, so you will definitely have a good after-meal nap at my house.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My mother and my children are my biggest supporters in human form. My mother has encouraged every educational and professional endeavor I’ve spoken into existence. She offers an ear and a place to work through all my ideas no matter how big or small. My two amazing little girls, Erin & Jojo, their faces, their crazy energy, and their presence is a motivator like no other. I thank them all. Shoutout to my girl squad!