Ashley Brundage

President & CEO

Company: Empowering Differences
Role: Session Presenter

Ashley T. Brundage is the founder and president of Empowering Differences. While seeking employment at a major financial institution, she overcame harassment, discrimination, and homelessness to empower her differences. Not only her status as a transgender woman but also missing the chance to go to college growing up due to her transition, gender, education, ability, and religion played key parts in her journey of empowerment. Starting her second career as a part-time teller, she rose to national vice president of Diversity and Inclusion in fewer than five years. She captured the four-step process of using empowerment to cultivate change in her new book and online leadership course, both called “Empowering Differences.” Ashley credits her success to those closest to her for providing actionable allyship including her two teenage sons, Bryce and Blake.

Since beginning transitioning in 2008, Ashley has worked tirelessly to promote awareness and acceptance of gender identity and expression. She works to accomplish this goal by volunteering in the community and holding education sessions for corporations. Ashley serves on the Corporate Advisory Council for the NGLCC (National LGBT Chamber of Commerce) and is the immediate past chair for NGLCC’s global TGX Initiative. She chaired the successful bid to host the NGLCC convention in 2019, and Visit Tampa Bay named her their Tourism Champion for 2017. In 2018, she started serving on the board of the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts. In 2019, Ashley was voted on the National Board of Directors for GLAAD. GLAAD works to accelerate acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community through media advocacy. In 2021, she was the vice chair and led the Development Committee for GLAAD.

Ashley speaks locally and nationally about her transition, workplace equality, leadership, change management, and empowerment. She has also been interviewed in several publications and media outlets including InStyle magazine, The Female Quotient, Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, The Business Journals, Miami Herald, Fox, ABC, CBS, Las Vegas Review-Journal, BizTimes Milwaukee, The Daily Beast, Fairygodboss, and Tampa Bay Times.

Ashley has been recognized in many areas and has received numerous awards including: The University of South Florida 2014 Community Pride Award; 2015 St. Pete Pride Grand Marshal; 2015 Commendation – City of Tampa; 2016 Tampa Bay Business Journal BusinessWoman of the Year; 2016 Voice for Equality Award from Equality Florida; and LGBT Leadership Award from the Florida Diversity Council.

In 2017, she was awarded a Leadership Award from Metro Inclusive Health, she was a winner of the Inaugural People First Award by Tampa Bay Business Journal (TBBJ), and was named to the TBBJ Power 100 list, the most influential and powerful people in business. In 2018, she was given the Champion Award from international nonprofit Out & Equal as well as named one of Florida’s Most Powerful and Influential Women from the National Diversity Council. In 2019, she was named one of the top 40 Leaders Under 40 in the LGBTQ community nationally by Business Equality Pride magazine, TBBJ Outstanding Voice for the LGBTQ community, and the Inaugural Transgender Rising Star by TransNewYork.

2021 was a banner year for both Ashley and Empowering Differences as the four-step empowerment process was used to win Linkage’s Executive Impact Award and the Stevie Awards Global Social Change Maker – LGBTIQ Gold Stevie. In 2022, she was named a Forbes Compassionate Leader and has been a proven researcher and expert speaker on leadership and empowerment.

The Forum on Workplace Inclusion®
2211 Riverside Ave, CB 54
Minneapolis, MN 55454
(612) 373-5994

Photos by Sarah Morreim Photography
Privacy Policy