March 2024 Guest Editor, Ashley Chaney (LT 40)

Like many, I moved to Tallahassee as a post-secondary student. Being a native of Canada, maybe it was the warm weather, the unique trees and landscape or the people, but every time I traveled away something kept pulling me back to our beloved city. It didn’t take long to fall in love with Tallahassee.

Before long, I was pulled into the community and fortunate to become involved in various projects and organizations. The PACE center for Girls and Tree House Tallahassee are a named few organizations that stole my heart. Ten years later, I am proudly serving as President of Tree House Tallahassee and reminded regularly, by the generosity and selfless acts of our supporters and volunteers of why this community stole my heart.

Now a mother of two, I am raising my children in this very same community. My family is proud to have set down roots in Tallahassee, where my girls can enjoy the incredible parks, outdoor amenities and receive a gold standard education. I can’t imagine a better place to raise a family than right here.

Although, it wasn’t until my time with Leadership Tallahassee – LT 40- that I really got to know the depth that Tallahassee offers. The experiences of this forum will never leave me and proved to be a formative year for me, both personally and professionally. We were immersed into the beauty and challenges we face together as a community- from the local justice system, public education to preserving the natural beauty of our city.

As fate would have it, LT 40 was one year before I started a business in Tallahassee. Hayward House opened in December 2023. The announcement of the opening came just before the Tallahassee Chamber Community conference. Sue Dick, the Chamber team and my LT 40 family wrapped me in support and helped to promote and encourage my new business. From concept to conception, my fellow LT 40 classmates were alongside this journey every step of the way. The support I have received from LT 40 and the Chamber has truly been a gift. I am honored to be the March guest editor and to share my Leadership Tallahassee experience, an organization which I believe the Tallahassee cultural, business and non-profit community are all represented in one way or another.

As a full circle moment, Hayward House is delighted to host the LT 42 Preview Party on March 21st. We look forward to sharing our love affair of Tallahassee and opening our doors to the next generation of Leadership Tallahassee- LT 42