How Ashley Schroeder, as a New Mom, Found Balance in a Cannabis Career
Reinventions profiles people who've made big pivots. Ashley Schroeder had an awakening after her daughter was born in 2021. Here's how she shifted from working at Pinterest to joining the cannabis industry as head of marketing at Jane Technologies.
What were you before?
I've always been a B2C and B2B marketer. Before joining the team at Jane Technologies, I spent five years at Pinterest wearing a variety of marketing and creative hats, including starting their first-ever creator marketing team and strategy.
Prior to Pinterest, I worked in product management at a dog fitness tech company, Whistle, which in retrospect made me a better tech marketer and product marketer! I originally was at creative ad agencies for years before entering tech. I held positions such as a producer, brand strategist and account supervisor for clients ranging from Walmart and Idaho Potatoes to actuarial consulting firms.
What triggered your reinvention?
I became a mom in 2021, and that time away from my career was so enlightening—it was more than a career at the time, it was an all-consuming job that WAS my identity. I had been heads down working so hard for so long, on a path I thought was right, and after having my daughter I realized a few things:
- Not everything is a reactive fire drill. We work in marketing, mostly digital, making things on the internet! We are not saving lives.
- Given the passion I have for branding and marketing, I knew I could be a force for good but had to find the right thing that energized me every day.
- Exploration is key. I explored being a full-time mom, starting my own baby loungewear brand, consulting as interim CMO, and started building a house, too!
- Be open. In that time of exploration, I had come across the amazing folks at Jane just as I was rediscovering cannabis as a new mom. Being a new mom, I didn't think there was room for motherhood and a full-time job, but Jane has provided me with that opportunity.
- Sometimes it takes another's opinion. My husband had to ask, "Wait, isn't this your dream job?!" and that's when I knew I had to go for it!
What did the first steps look like?
The first step was making the hard decision to leave my career at Pinterest to consult and rediscover what I wanted out of my career again now that I was a parent. I had never left a job without another one lined up, but knew it would be best in the long run. I needed to pause and consider what would make me happy as a human—not just a marketer—and ensure I was prioritizing my own emotional and physical well-being.
What was one hard obstacle to overcome?
The hardest obstacle had to be leaving a company I loved after five years to pursue an unknown next step! While on maternity leave, I was able to reflect and realized how much I had tied my identity to that position.
What was easier than you thought?
Striking a balance between work and motherhood in my new role. I assumed I wouldn't be able to be a leader in tech AND be a present mom—and I think that is a fair assumption, given the work culture and expectations of many companies.
But at Jane, my boundaries have been respected and I have been MORE efficient and impactful in the time I can give. Working in an industry where I know I am making a positive impact on people—both 1:1 and at scale—really gets me excited about the work.
What I've learned in my first few months is that "good company culture" is more than a bullet point on a job description. Jane is the first place I've worked that delivers on that through incredibly kind and empathetic leadership, absence of politics, humility and so much more. I feel so lucky to have found Jane and joined the "dark green side"!
What's something you learned along the way that other people, hoping to do something similar, should know?
Trust your gut. I always knew I had it in me, but fear and imposter syndrome, something many women suffer, held me back. It comes down to if you're uninspired or not empowered in your role, or you don't feel aligned with the broader company vision, you don't have to stay. You are enough, and you are worthy of a role and team where you feel valued and respected.
Did anyone or anything inspire you along the way?
My daughter really inspired me. She forced me to be so present in ways that I hadn't been in over a decade—much due to my career. She is so full of joy and curiosity, and I asked myself why am I not?! I wanted to be more like her, and it reminded me that I had the agency to make that change. I also want to make her proud, as a woman, so she can see that we are capable of so much. I want her to see me happy and present and proud of my career, not anxious and unfulfilled.
What has this fundamentally changed for you?
I will always care about my career; it fills my cup and gives me a broader purpose outside of my family. But since moving into the cannabis space, I have a new appreciation for balance.
Jane represents cannabis and all the amazing wellness benefits it brings. I want to represent Jane by ensuring I am taking care of myself too, so I can be my best version for Jane, my daughter, and everything in between.
Do you think you could go back/do you want to?
I hope to be at Jane for a very long time! I get the best of both worlds—a tech company that also supports safe access to cannabis.
If I do leave cannabis, it will be as a refreshed person and leader, carrying with me the amazing things I have learned and the new healthy habits I have gained from being at a company—and in an industry—that works towards something bigger and better.
Tell us your reinvention song.
If it was 2013, I'd be fast to say "Roar" by Katy Perry, but after watching WeCrashed I'm not so sure … who am I kidding, it's still a bop.
How would you define yourself now?
Since March 2022, I have been the head of marketing at Jane. This includes:
- Building an entire marketing function at Jane!
- Launching Jane's first ever consumer iOS app
- Demonstrating the value of marketing among internal teams
- Engaging with all the audiences we serve including brand partners, retail partners and consumers
- Overseeing all evergreen channels, messaging, and content (email, social, events) across all audiences
- Partnering with Mattio on all things PR and comms
- Defining go-to-market strategies and internal processes, including product marketing
- Paid campaigns to drive acquisition and full funnel engagement and retention
- Channel strategies to tell a consistent, integrated 360 brand story
- Developing Jane's brand narrative and B2C and B2B positioning