Executive Interview: Aly Ashford

Image Source: Aly Ashford

As a recent Chapman University graduate who is beginning her career as a Social Media Coordinator at Fender, Aly Ashford has been given the opportunity to channel her creativity into a company that she has loved since she was a child. I have always been interested in the Fender company myself, so I was eager to hear from Ashford on how she was able to secure this job in hopes of potentially securing a similar job. During the interview, Ashford provided me with extensive knowledge about her career path at Fender and just how important social media content creation really is. 


Why did you become interested in working at Fender? Is this the career that you aimed to have in college and if not, how did you come about it?

I have been a Fender fan since I started playing guitar at 10 years old. I remember seeing artists that I love playing these sleek electric guitars, and I knew I wanted to get my hands on one someday. When I got to college and discovered Fender had internships, I immediately applied and wrote the most heartfelt cover letter that I’ve ever written for a job. I ended up getting the position and had an amazing summer working as an intern on the Fender PR team. It taught me an incredible amount about the industry and ignited my passion for the business side of the music industry. After the summer was over, I knew I wanted to work at Fender once I graduated. 


What is your current job position at Fender, and what responsibilities do you hold?

I’m a social media coordinator for Fender. Some of my responsibilities include brainstorming new content ideas, creating content for all of our channels, writing copy, managing the content calendar, and filming TikTok content. Working in social definitely changes on the daily, so you have to be constantly adapting to new updates and keeping an eye on the state of the world. 


What do you love most about your job, and what are you most looking forward to accomplishing or doing at Fender?

I love brainstorming new content ideas and filming TikToks on our various shoots. Being able to interview artists in person, attend festivals, and see a ton of live shows is a huge perk of the job. I was so excited when we hit 1 million followers in under 6 months of being on TikTok, so I look forward to growing the channels, even more, this year and working with an array of amazing talent. 


What are the biggest challenges you have faced so far in working at Fender or in your journey of applying to work at Fender?

As a recent graduate, learning to balance having a life while working 40 hours a week definitely takes time. Social media is a job that keeps you on your toes 24/7, and It can be tricky to stay on top of the ever-changing social media world and not get overwhelmed by the amount of time spent online. 


What was your major (and minor, if you had one) at Chapman University?

I majored in Public Relations and Advertising with a focus on Entertainment Advertising, and I minored in Production Design. 


Since you just recently graduated from Chapman University, how did Chapman help to set you up for this position? What specific classes or internships did you have to do in order to work towards applying for this position?

Chapman was a great place for networking and finding great mentors. I heavily relied on my professors and found ways to get involved on campus, which in turn led me to build a great community. I took a music business class that gave me fantastic insights on navigating the music industry and I was able to use my presentation for my interview process at Fender as my final project in the class. Chapman professors gave me recommendations for jobs and connected me with professionals in their industries as well, which was a huge help. 


What other experiences or internships have you held that helped to prepare you for this role? 

I worked at a  film and tv agency called Impact 24 PR, a music lesson company, interned at Fender, and did a lot of freelance design work during my time at Chapman. They all gave me experience working in a corporate environment and taught me how to manage my time while I was still a student. I felt very prepared for the role after all my work experiences and classes in the PR and AD major. All my courses focused on preparing us for the real world work environment, which I’m very thankful for.


What is some advice that you have for people who are interested in pursuing a career/job similar to yours?

My biggest piece of advice would be to seek out internships in the field you are interested in and spend a lot of time on LinkedIn talking to people with the jobs you want and asking them about how they got there. Never underestimate the importance of having people that can refer you for positions because it gives you a huge leg up. I made sure to stay close to all my colleagues at Fender after my internship and that really helped me land the job after college. For working in social and music specifically, staying on top of trends and the industry is crucial. Companies are looking for people with fresh ideas and great knowledge of what’s happening online.


Overall, speaking with Aly Ashford was such a valuable experience for me and I was able to learn many enriching lessons and experiences from her. Being a Chapman student myself, I hope that I can utilize similar resources that Ashford used during her college journey to set myself up for a successful future – hopefully in the social media content creation field as well.