Wildcats@Work: Ashley Houk

Ashley Houk '07 earned her bachelor's degree in journalism, which prepared her for her role as the Americas public relations manager for PA Consulting. Read more about her career and networking tips.

What is your current job and what are your day-to-day responsibilities?
I am the Americas public relations manager for PA Consulting, an innovation and transformation consultancy. Based in New York, I liaise with U.S. and Latin American reporters and secure impactful press coverage on key trends and industry insights.

My day-to-day activities include story mining discussions with my team of experts, content development, news monitoring, and rapid response media outreach on behalf of my spokespeople. 

How did your time at the UA prepare you to make networking connections and be successful as a professional?
The UA School of Journalism taught me how to pull together a publishable article based on interesting developments and breaking news. It forced me to cold call sources, a skill I’m now very grateful for. It also allowed me to maintain my naturally curious personality, understanding that anyone can be a potential source.

Once I moved to New York, my ability to chat with nearly anyone and develop friendships has opened doors to super cool jobs. For instance, a UCB improv class I was taking when I first got to NYC led to a conversation with my current mentor. He asked me to join his PR firm and taught me everything I know about media relations. Had we not had that funny touchpoint, I’m sure my career path would have been very different.  

What is the best piece of career advice you have ever received?
Network! Keep in touch with your friends at old jobs. Get a mentor and learn everything you can from them. Finally, take on reach assignments to ensure you are always learning new skills.