Founder and owner of JDB Hospitality and public-relations pro Ashley Jernigan acts as a hospitality and tourism consultant for her clients, filling multiple roles and doing multiple jobs.
But the focus of every function is the same for Ashley Jernigan: help every city, tourism department or organization increase their ability to effectively and efficiently market, advertise and promote themselves. She advises on media relations. She connects influencers. She emphasizes customer service for stellar visitor experiences. She designs hospitality workforce training programs. And she builds brands on the foundation of a strategic plan. Lucky for Montgomery, she’s doing all of this and more for on the capital city’s behalf as Hospitality and Tourism Consultant for the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce’s Experience Montgomery department.
I’m passionate about driving tourism to Montgomery. I plan to continue to help the city get its story in front of the eyes and ears of their target markets. But I am expanding that to the entire state. I want to open up opportunities in the Selma to Tuskegee corridor, focused on Civil Rights, and make it easy, accessible and exciting for everyone to experience what this area has to offer. I also own an event venue, Venue 901, and want to really grow that and build a venue management program for other venues too in the coming year. Plus, I’m partnering with some colleges for customer service and event planning training to grow our hospitality and tourism workforce.
I’ve been doing some speaking engagements to share with people how to walk into a room and sell themselves and to teach them how to be more confident in telling their own story. I also work alongside the mayor’s Young Professional Council, and I’m excited about that. I love helping the next generation grow and thrive. And I was appointed by the governor to serve on the state tourism department, and that’s thrilling, to play that part in boosting the state’s tourism efforts.
I have contracts with the Chamber and the City of Montgomery. For both to invest in me and recognize that I can bring fresh, different perspectives to the city’s brand and lead in making good changes is amazing, and I’m proud of that. It’s been cool to say I wish Montgomery would do “X” and then be a part of making that happen.
I’ve had two main mentors in my life—professionally, Charles Anderson, who was General Manager at the Capital City Club When I walked to start my first job at age 21, I told him my dreams, and he told me how to reach them. He gave me a play-by-play list of recommendations on how to build my career. He’s more than a mentor. He’s what I call a sponsor because he’s invested in me and advocated for me so many times. And then my parents, who taught me fiscal responsibility and how to plan from a very young age. I learned how to hustle from them.
Volunteer to advance your career and network for net worth. The relationships I’ve built are the sole reason for my success, and I’ve built them by networking and volunteering.
The most rewarding part of my job is seeing communities thrive as a result of my work, watching them, and all the people and businesses in them, benefit from a changed brand.
My husband keeps me grounded. He’s my safe space. I am constantly running, and my brain just goes wild. I have a hard time slowing down, but he makes me sit down and breathe. I knew I needed that person the moment we met.
Love List – Ashley’s all-time faves
- Clothes shop: BeYOUtiful Boutique
- Local eats: Café Verde at MMFA. “I can’t stop ordering the Southern Sampler!”
- Motivational music: “Just Do You” by India Arie
- Motto: Plan the work and work the plan.