Welcome to our our Team Member Spotlights! Our team has been changing and growing this past year, which is why we wanted to re-introduce our team members to you, and give you a closer look at who's behind the wheel here at YFFR. We hope you enjoy this monthly blog series.
(location: South Lake Tahoe!)
Ashleigh Miller (Rader)
Title: Public Information Director
Public Information Director
I'm involved in all things marketing and communications on behalf of YFFR. I ensure that our mission and vision are communicated with "on brand" messaging and that our audience is engaging well with our brand. I work to keep the goings-on of YFFR transparent for our audience to follow along on our journey to help first responders process stress, build resilience, and enhance performance. I strategize, implement, monitor, and analyze YFFR's social media content, blog, website content and traffic, and email newsletters. I also communicate with first responder departments and partner organizations across the country to extend our media reach, lift up our partners, and bring the YFFR Protocol into the hands of the first responders who need it most.
I grew up in the beautiful Madison County (Winterset), Iowa - famous for its covered bridges, John Wayne's birthplace, and small town Iowa charm. I pursued higher education at Iowa State University in Ames, where I earned a B.A. in Communications and double-majored in German Language & Culture. After college, I spent several years around the Des Moines, Iowa area, before moving to Atlanta, Georgia with my fiancé. And now wouldn't you know it, we are moving BACK to Iowa! There's no place like home.
My history with YFFR goes back to about 2015 when I became acquainted with YFFR Founder and CEO, Olivia Mead. We both were living in Des Moines, Iowa at the time and I assisted YFFR back then as a private contractor for about a year as its Marketing/Communications Director. That was before YFFR became a legit, all-grown-up, registered 501c3 non-profit organization of its own! I'm thrilled to see the continued growth of YFFR and to be working with the amazing team of people behind the curtain.
My sidekicks are my fiancé (soon to be husband) Matthew Miller, and our two fur babies, Gryffindor and Ralph. Matt supports my work with YFFR and supports the organization as a whole. He is very understanding when I am checking on YFFR's social media all the time or looking up funny yoga memes to share! Gryff and Ralph are also part of the YFFR crew. They enjoy making guest appearances on our Zoom meetings. :)
Do you consider yourself a "Yogi"?
Unfortunately, no! At least, not in the sense of knowing my way around a yoga mat. I have loosely practiced yoga for years, but I definitely still consider myself a beginner. I am learning the breath work techniques taught by YFFR and have begun implementing them in my daily life. I also routinely practice the yogic mindset of self-awareness and self-study.
I want to Help the Helpers.
My grandfather, Gene Trask, was a WWII veteran and a volunteer firefighter in Winterset, Iowa for 30+ years. Working with YFFR has opened my eyes to the mental health crisis amongst the First Responder & Military populations. I like to think that if I brought this up to my grandpa today, he would be in support of the YFFR mission.
Furthermore, there are 2 million+ first responders in the United States today, each of whom may witness more death, destruction, and trauma in one single day than the rest of us will in a lifetime. These people have chosen professions which put them on the front lines, there to help us on the worst days of our lives. I want to help the helpers.
I typically enjoy the audio segments which focus on breath work. I am new to yoga and so I'm still getting used to the basics like the Three Part Breath. A new drill on the Cyber Academy is a brief, 2-min sequence to start your day or calm your nervous system. I've found it useful for a mid-day energizer as well.
5 Sun Breaths: Physical Warm-Up, Calm the Mind
YFFR Instructor and Chief Training Officer, Sara Mills, leads you through a quick practice that includes 5 sun salutations in sequence followed by a brief neurological reset. This is good to start the day or anytime you need to quickly regulate your nervous system.
Something Unique About Me:
Ah, the classic ice breaker question! Something unique about me is that I hold a Bachelor's degree in German Language and Culture from Iowa State University. I speak conversational German and enjoy all things German culture. As a student, I was fortunate to spend a year in Berlin, Germany to learn about the culture first-hand and strengthen my German language abilities. #verliebtinberlin
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor:
Our ice cream budget has expanded exponentially since quarantine. Anyone else?? There's always Talenti in the freezer. For me, it's Belgian chocolate, raspberry sorbet, or butter pecan. Delish!
I may have just watched "Last Christmas" with Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding on HBO. Yes, it's September, and yes, I am ready for the holiday season! I enjoy watching all the Hallmark Christmas movies as soon as they come out, and always have to watch Love Actually and The Muppets' Christmas Carol. #holidayfever
We hope you enjoyed getting to know Ashleigh. Stay tuned for our next Team Member Spotlight in October.
- The YFFR Team