Current Role: Director of Training and Internships
Hometown: Downers Grove, IL
Songs that get Ash fired up: “This is how we do it” by Montel Jordan and “Ace of Spades” by Motorhead
A 2008 alumnus of our organizing fellows program in Colorado, Ashwin is now Director of Training and Internships. We sat down with him to learn more about his experience.
Q: Why would you tell someone to apply to be an organizing fellow?
A: The fellowship is more than just a summer program. It is an introduction to the core skills needed to be successful in any organization. The program goes out of its way to ensure that each fellow receives the tools to become successful and highly productive members of our organization.
It helps in other areas too. As a community organizer, you are often asked to achieve goals that are seemingly impossible with minimal resources. Organizing fellows is a structured, thoughtful program that helps you to develop the management skills that can help you succeed any situation. As a former fellow, I was fortunate enough to have gone through the experience and come out better because of it.
Q: How did being a fellow prepare you for your current leadership role?
It is a truly unique experience that offers real-experience and opportunity for personal and professional growth while contributing to an important cause.
During my fellowship in 2008 I was able to build and run two fully functioning volunteer-lead offices from scratch. Ultimately, the system I created was home to thousands of volunteers.
The direct management experience helped me understand how to run an organization. Organizing fellows are entrepreneurs. They manage people, set up office spaces, find and allocate resources, train volunteers, and develop the infrastructure to execute a high level.
Q: What’s the best part of your job?
Besides waking up everyday and working towards getting President Obama and other Democrats up and down the ticket elected, I have to say the people I work with are amazing. From neighborhood team members, fellows, and co-workers, I am surrounded by brilliant minds that are dedicated to a common cause.
While we come from diverse places, our values are often the same. Personally, I like knowing that I am working towards an America where families like mine are able to secure loans to go to school, start and run innovative businesses here in the United States, and invest in their future by building here at home.
Q: Tell us one unique fact about yourself
I can cook some mean Indian food. All credit goes to my mother for showing me the way!