Leah Wong Ashburn – Highland Brewing Company

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What was the lightbulb moment that inspired your entrepreneurial journey?

When my father told me that his team of managers got together without his knowledge and discussed the next generation of leadership for Highland. To my father, they recommended me.

How is your life philosophy expressed through Highland Brewing?

Engaging in and contributing to greenways efforts speaks to my love for the outdoors and my need for physical activity. Our seasonal beer release parties and associated fundraising for Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy supports my love for the mountains and water that inspired the idea of Highland. And we’re intentional about our giving plans for people in need and animal welfare – two other focus areas of giving.

What is the superpower you personally bring to the table every day? What makes the dream work?

Culture. How we conduct ourselves and our business is as important as what we accomplish.

What is your vision for female entrepreneurs in Asheville in the next few years, and what advice would you give to women thinking about starting their own businesses?

I think Asheville is a great place for female entrepreneurs. I expect more representation in business and politics.

The best two pieces of advice I’ve been given are: “Surround yourself with people who want you to succeed.” A toxic relationship depletes so much energy. Positive relationships multiply energy.

And “Make it yours.” To thrive as an individual, put your personal stamp in your work. Be you.