Women tell Women

How to design your own work culture?

— Ashley Sharp

I truly believe that having a unique work culture is at the core of the success of the non-profit I run, Dwell with Dignity. We are far from any definition of traditional, from our work hours to our office attire even to our team building activities. I have intentionally created a space where my team and volunteers feel that they can bring their authentic selves to work with no fear of judgment – each person is welcome as they are, and as they want to be. Our unique backgrounds and characteristics make us stronger – our differences allow us to be more empathetic and bring us closer.

You don’t have to adhere to anyone’s definition of what a work culture should be – as a leader you have the opportunity and, in truth, the obligation, to create the culture that works best for your people and your mission. To find your culture persona is to define your values: what are non-negotiable traits in your team, how do you approach work life balance, and even defining your leadership style. Experience other workplaces – meet with other leaders to find how they run their organizations, read books on culture and values, or ask a mentor if you can shadow them for a day. You must expose yourself to many various ways of thinking in order to find those core ideas that resonate with your personal and professional values. 

Ashley Sharp –

Ashley Sharp spends her career in public service. As Executive Director of Dwell with Dignity, Ashley has helped the organization reach new heights, including being awarded 40 Under 40 by the Dallas Business Journal, Social Innovator of the Year and the Best Place to Donate by D Magazine. She has attained national recognition through their innovative Decade of Dignity dining series. She has also served Interfaith Family Services as the Chief Development Officer, was the Manager of Patron Relations at the Nasher Sculpture Center and worked with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. In addition to her professional career, she currently serves on the KERA Community Advisory Board and Mayor’s Star Council as the Engage Dallas Chair.