Click Here To Listen Nashville Business 100 Leading African Americans Ashford Hughes
Ashford Hughes Sr., in November of 2015 was appointed by newly elected Mayor Megan Barry to serve in her administration as Senior Advisor to Workforce, Diversity and Inclusion through the Office of Economic and Community Development. In this role he seeks to engage, convene and lead in developing workforce strategies that connect residents with training opportunities that lead to career pathways to success. His portfolio is also focused on identifying disparities in city programs and services, and helping create ways for city departments to address these gaps. This role will also work with community groups and organizations to ensure equal access to city programs and service.
Beginning in 2013 Ashford served as the Assistant Business Manager and Political Organizer for the Southeast Laborers’ District Council, an international labor union affiliate of LiUNA! LiUNA! is the acronym for Laborers International Union of North America which represents both men and women in the construction industry. In his capacity, organizing within seven southern states and 26 local unions, he served as a political coordinator, community and worker organizer. He was tasked to lead on a variety of issue and candidate based campaigns while advocating for policies to aid local workforce.
Prior to joining the Southeast Laborers’ District Council, Ashford served as the Political Director for the state Tennessee Democratic Party. Here he was directly responsible for the implementation of constituent outreach programs, candidate recruitment, candidate management and leadership development amongst various party officials and activist. He served as the liaison between the members of the Democrat House Caucus, Senate Caucus and the State Party.
Since 2005, Ashford has worked as a senior political staffer and consultant on numerous candidate, labor and issue based campaigns in Tennessee, South Carolina, Virginia, Mississippi, Florida and Massachusetts. During this period he worked closely with State Legislative Democrat Caucus leadership on high profile Congressional and State House and Senate elections. His main focus has been political strategy, African American political outreach, candidate development, organizational and community development. Most recently during the 2015 municipal election cycle Ashford, alongside the community based organization NOAH, spearheaded the passage of Amendment #3, a local hire provision that changed the metro charter that outlines 40% of the total work hours on publically funded construction projects in Nashville were filled by local Davidson County Residents. This referendum won passage from Nashville voters by a margin of 58% to 42% in favor of.
Ashford’s community service includes formerly serving on the boards of the Martha O’Bryan Center, Fifty Forward, Nashville Emerging Leaders and the Tennessee Equality Project. Ashford also served for three years as Community Engagement Co-Chair on metro government’s Nashville Next initiative. As the 2012 Co-founding member of the Nashville New Leaders Council, he served as Chapter Co-Director for two years. This is an organization that seeks to train, educate and empower the next generation of progressive political and professional industry leaders. To date more than 40 fellows have graduated from this organization, some of whom have held political office or been young industry leaders in their professional fields. He is also a 2012 founding member of Next Up- Martha O’Bryan Future Leader, which serves as the young professional liaison organization to the Martha O’Bryan Center.
Ashford also served as a leading Executive Board Member for N.O.A.H. (Nashville Organized for Action and Hope). N.O.A.H is a forty-four member interfaith and multi-racial organization which seeks power in the public arena to positively address issues affecting the entire Nashville community. Serving as the Economic Equity Task Force Chair and the Public Event Co-chair, NOAH assisted in passing affordable housing legislation within metro government and hosted the two highest attended public Mayoral forums in Nashville history (Over 1,500 residents in attendance at each forum). He most recently was appointed to serve as the Young Professionals Nashville Chairman for the year 2015-2016. YP Nashville offers a strong history of regional leadership, and resources for YP organizations. These avenues of support strengthen the involvement and commitment of YPs to the region.
Ashford has a Bachelor of Science Degree, with a concentration in Political Science, from Tennessee State University.
Ashford is seeking to conclude his Graduate School Degree, where his concentration has been a Master’s in Public Administration, from Tennessee State University.
Family and Personal Life
Ashford is the father of four year old Ashford Hughes Jr.
Ashford is a good standing member of Prince Hall Masonic Lodge #104 in Nashville, where he serves as Chair to the organizations young men’s mentorship program and the District Director of P.R. He is an active member of the Shriner’s Organization, Prince Hall Affiliated.
He is a member of Mt. Zion Baptist Church, were he serves in leadership on the church’s social and political action ministry. Ashford aspires to empower the community through political engagement, civic education and economic empowerment.