When Inspirato went public in February 2022, Ashlee Collins couldn’t help but feel a sense of achievement.
“I got to go to the bell ceremony on the Nasdaq floor with many of the employees, who had been with us forever. It was a milestone I never imagined I would see in a lifetime,” says Collins, who serves as senior vice president of technology and product at the luxury travel subscription company.
To share that moment with her colleagues made it all the more special. “It was a great way to celebrate ten years of success,” Collins adds.
Since joining Inspirato in 2013, Collins grew with the company, and it’s helped her realize that it’s not only important to focus on caring for her team, but herself, too. Her commitment to self-care permeates all aspects of her life and work, including her approach to leadership at Inspirato, where she continues to drive innovation and strive for new heights.
Collins honed her understanding of technology implementation methodologies and solutions in the world of consulting, first at Big Four firm Deloitte, and then at a local boutique consulting firm, RAS & Associates, in Denver. Inspirato became a client of hers—and ended up being her final one.
“It was mutual love, right from the beginning,” she says. “At the time, the company was still a startup, and they were looking to scale to their next wave of growth. I was brought in to help outline their operational process opportunities and come up with a strategic roadmap.”
Collins’s first full-time role at Inspirato entailed building out the organization’s product team. Over the years, she acquired further areas of oversight, such that her purview now encompasses everything from product design, management, software engineering, data, IT, and security. That means toggling between meetings with the Inspirato executive team, her own leadership team, and individual contributors.
“We are always looking to grow the company across the board, but it’s important for us to do so in ways that scale efficiently,” explains Collins. “It’s about mobilizing all of the teams that we’ve built throughout product and technology and pointing them toward key company goals or problems; so that these teams of smart and enthusiastic people can work to implement solutions that make an impact.”
Beyond collaborating with the executive team in preparation for Inspirato to go public, Collins facilitated the implementation of a customer relationship management solution, as well as the end-to-end development of Inspirato Pass, the first-ever luxury travel subscription product.
All the while, she needed to remain conscious of how Inspirato handles customer data. “There is definitely a role for technology in the compliance, controls, competence, and security of the company and the platform,” she emphasizes.
To ensure her team can fulfill that role, Collins leads from a place of authenticity and empowerment. In particular, she strives to set an example when it comes to defining her own priorities around work-life boundaries and self-care. “I was always intermittently focused on self-care, but it became a number-one priority for me after I had my daughters,” she says. “I realized that, as a leader of a big team that I care about deeply, with a family that I also care about deeply, my cup is being withdrawn from all day long as I give out to others.”
To keep her cup filled, Collins begins each day by getting up before the rest of her household and taking time to meditate, read, and set her daily intentions. She believes strongly in practicing self-care first thing in the morning, but urges others to establish a routine that works for them.
“Whatever you can keep up, that’s the thing you should be doing,” she confirms. “If you neglect self-care for a while, it does then require a huge effort to fill your cup back up. But if you take just a few steps every day, it is so impactful in the long run.”
Once she has gotten into the right headspace to begin working, Collins supports her team by showing that she understands and values them as people, not just employees. “I want to know what their hopes, dreams, and fears are, so that I can help them get to where they want to go, while delivering on the results that I need them to deliver on,” she says.
Collins likewise recognizes the duality of the personal and professional in herself. “I’m equally ambitious on both sides, personal and professional. I feel very invested in my family, my personal life, and my personal goals,” she says. “As for Inspirato, there are infinite ways for us to revolutionize luxury travel. We are just getting started, and it’s awesome to have a front-row seat and get to play a big part—and have my team play a big part—in making that happen.”
Credera is a global, boutique consulting firm focused on strategy, transformation, data, and technology. Our 4,000 consultants across the globe unlock tangible business results for our clients. We partner with authentic and people-first leaders like Collins, on a mission to make an extraordinary impact for our clients, people, and communities.