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Remembering Ashley Sheppard, Lightbearer and Hall-Of-Famer

Ashley Sheppard, Zoo Collection Manager at The Rosamond Gifford Zoo, passed away in November 2023. She was one of the most kind, charismatic leaders, I have ever met. She was a mom, a partner, daughter and a friend to everyone.

She completed her leadership coaching program in fall of 2021 with her fellow collection managers and beamed with pride. Often time in the workplace, those of us who are the "glue makers" are not recognized as leaders because what we do is bring everyone together. This is a very qualitative experience and you cannot measure it with your five senses. However, Ashley's ability to empower everyone around her was palpable.

The day that the twin elephant boys were born, all I could think about was how happy Ashley was in being the manager of the elephants and having this unique phenomena of twins for the first time in our hemisphere on the planet. I don't believe this happened accidently or by coincidence, Ashley's leadership and power extended beyond the physical plane but in her tenacious spirit. I think that the twin elephants are of our divine significance and give us hope and awareness to love each other more. Ashley will forever be connected to this epic occurrence and researchers might do themselves a favor to examine the environment created by Ashley for the elephants and the team.

Being at the reveal party of the new elephants, I turned to Ashley and said she was responsible for this miracle and true to i-style magic form, she just winked at me. Her and I were very connected, not because we were very similar in leadership styles but for the love of the elephants. Elephants are symbols of luck, prosperity, wisdom and vitality but they are also powerful beings that use their mighty strength to remove obstacles and negative forces.

Ashley was (still is) a mighty strength that has contributed so much for good in her community that we are all a little better having known an engaged with with her love.

This is an excerpt of one of Ashley's coaching assignments:

"This quote speaks to me as empower me to be the change. At times it is easy to hit a wall and feel as though you must rely on others to move forward. In what we do here at the zoo I feel it is important personally to come to work each day and choose to be a leader for conservation and positive atmosphere." - Ashley Shepard, Rest In Love


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