The career path taken by Tabitha Ashura after graduating from Sarah Lawrence College outside New York City was definitely not linear. It started in a small Colorado town, where the main street is still a dirt road and the entire Pre-K-12 population is 300 students.
Wanting to expand her horizons, Ashura applied for a government scholarship that allowed her to study abroad. Completing her sophomore year of high school with a host family in Germany was definitely not typical for a 15-year old from her hometown. The experience opened her world and ignited a desire to explore the unknown.
While at Sarah Lawrence College to study Theater, Ashura was assigned a mentor, Carol Pelletier, from the costume department. “Carol taught me how to be a New Yorker and push on even when things felt hopeless,” says Ashura, emphasizing the importance of having people in your court that are supporters. “Carol passed away a few years after graduation, but I think of her daily. People like Carol leave a lasting memory on us.”
“Take the chance and give it a strong try”
Due to unforeseen financial circumstances, Ashura moved back to Colorado and enrolled at the Community College of Denver. One of her classes, international relations, was transformative. “I still use many of the lessons from that course today,” she says. Once she completed her program, Ashura returned to NYC and finish at Sarah Lawrence College with a focus on German Language and International Relations. She now works for TransPerfect, the largest privately owned language services provider, as a manager of the Executive Support team.
Ashura initially applied for a proofreader position at TransPerfect. A recruiter offered a different position, however, which turned out to be a rocky start to her career. Ashura quickly found a supporter in Cortne Edmonds. “She was willing to talk me through situations where I felt frustrated or confused both at work and in my personal life,” she says. Cortne became not just her supervisor, but a friend and a mentor at TransPerfect. Her natural curiosity and talent led to her current role, learning how a large company operates, grows, and improves over time.
Ashura uses mentoring as a way of hearing people’s stories, to learn about the world from those around her, and to help others find their best path. Her advice to aspiring young professionals: “Try anything that makes you curious, and then commit – for at least a year.”
To illustrate her point, she tells a story about her love of dance and movement after trying cheerleading. She disliked it after the first week, but her mom asked her to stick to it. “Sometimes you won’t like what you’re doing, but that’s okay, because you’ll learn from it if you let yourself,” she explains. “Take the chance and give it a strong try.” Tabitha Ashura is part of the CFES National Advisory Board (NAB) and is excited for the opportunity to mentor young professionals as their path.