Lauren West has the ability to make everything look effortlessly sunny. The creative thinker, brand developer influencer, sales and brand manager’s Instagram feed, @laurenashleywest is full of Florida sunshine, delicious food, flirty fashion, and other bits from Lauren’s life. Just looking at the account is as refreshing as going to the beach (well, almost).
Lauren needs some sunshine, because her life is a busy one – but that’s how she likes it, as it is full and complete. With her time management and organizational skills and goal setting abilities, Lauren has learned how to successfully balance a full time sales job with a social media and marketing business, while still tasting and enjoying the lighter things in life.
But this life and work balance and seeing life with eyes of joy was something that was learned, and deepened through a traumatic experience. Lauren says that February 17, 2017 “was the worst and best day of my life.” On that day, Lauren went downhill skiing without a helmet, in Colorado. She ended up crashing into trees, resulting in severe traumatic brain injury, bleeding in her brain and around her spinal cord, and a broken spine. She also had: broken ear bones, a collapsed lung, seven broken ribs, and a broken clavicle.
She was expected to spend three months in the ICU at Colorado’s Craig Rehabilitation Center. Instead, she was out within a month, perhaps partially due to her “positive and determined spirit,” as her mother would say. Lauren says that when she got out, thankful to simply breathe, she “Immediately grew up, grew closer with my family and close friends, learned to appreciate my body and what it is capable of going through, and God. I learned that my life could be gone at any second and to take less risks and be much more cautious. I began to appreciate my fitness, health & well being in an entire new light.”
This experience put her life into two parts: before the accident, and after. It is her constant source of inspiration, pushing her to focus on what she loves, and cultivating relationships and fulfilling moments wherever she goes. Be it in her personal life, work, or branding.That is key to who Lauren is and what she has to offer. The now 27 year old Communication Sciences graduate from Florida State University, and who now lives in the Tampa Bay area, is a self-described people person, she almost effortlessly forms relationships with people, while successfully networking with companies and brands that she values.
Lauren does this professionally, as well. She is the Brand Manager for Peroni Nastro Azzuro, also having worked as a High End Sales Manager and a Trade Activation Manager for Anheuser Busch InBev. Part of her success is thinking long term, and being an innovative and creative thinker. While achieving this, Lauren has continued to influence and network on her social media.
The feelgood take away from her IG has provided opportunities for her to partner and collaborate with a mix of fashion & lifestyle brands. These include Lulus, Princess Polly boutique, OPI, Ulta, Saltwater Luxe & 12th Tribe These long term partnerships enhance Lauren’s social media account and brand. She carefully chooses to partner with those that she sees the value in, while enhancing and further developing her own feel-good lifestyle brand.
As a local to Tampa Bay whose entire family also lives there, Lauren loves taking advantage of what the area has to offer. But she has a hard time sticking to just enjoying it, as her natural desire to support others has led her to create a large network in the local Tampa Bay community, through social and business relationships. She gives back to her Tampa Bay community through networking and working with metropolitan ministries, but also continues to give back to Craig Rehabs Charity Foundation. Thanks to Craig Rehabs Charity foundation, which supports hospital Housing for patients’ family members, Lauren’s mother was able to stay with her the entire time – so this is Lauren’s way of showing her gratitude.
Lauren’s ability to cultivate connections and relationships while setting ambitious goals for herself and those she cares about is evident throughout each interaction she has, be it with a person, charity, or company.