2019 40 Under 40: Ashley Hinkle, Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge

Ashley Hinkle

Ashley Hinkle, 35, is director of meetings and conventions at Visit Virginia’s Blue RidgeAs a 2019 40 Under 40 honoree, Hinkle discusses her passion for the events industry.

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What I do: My primary goal is to bring as many conferences, programs or events to the area to enhance their programs to its fullest protentional in our destination. It is such a pleasure to go out and inform as many planners of our hidden gem of a destination, being a perfect mountain-metro mix of nature and the largest meetings mecca in western Virginia with a value better than most.

How I got here: About four years ago I met my former boss, Alex Michaels, at a conference in Arizona. We kept in touch throughout time, so I was honored that he thought of me for a remote position in creating his new team at Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge and to have worked with such an unbelievable influencer in the industry.    

Greatest career accomplishment: One of my greatest career accomplishments was working from start to finish with one of the largest groups that my property had ever booked within the first six months of the start of my career. It ended up being a half-million-dollar piece of business and, I am fairly certain, I worked 120 hours that week and ended up crying with the planners when it was all over. It was one of the most influential moments of my life and countless lessons learned throughout the process. 

Impressive stats: In the past two years that I have worked in sales at Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge, we have grown by 300 percent. We are hosting more meetings now than ever.

What I do outside of work: Outside of work, I am fully focused on learning how to become the best mother as possible. By far, parenting is the biggest adventure that my husband and I have taken on yet to date.