I’m your creative strategist.

thorndikeCREATIVE is a boutique strategic communications firm. Expert in embodied leadership and creative strategy, I help leaders become compelling and influential. I draw on 20 years in dance studios, training as a qualitative researcher, and a decade of wellness consulting to make this process empowering and enjoyable.

This work is solution-focused and optimized for complex clients. You manage a high-pressure work life, travel, personal responsibilities, and limited time resources and yet you yearn to do it all more efficiently and with more enjoyment. In short: I don’t waste your time. For both individuals and teams, I teach ways to create sharp, clear, and easeful processes in body and mind whether through physical engagement, creative strategy, or coaching.


Do you want to hold a room, take up space, make people lean in, and develop a personal style? Are speaking engagements or media appearances a stumbling block for you? Do you feel you are good, but not great? Or are you brilliant but you begin to ramble the moment lights come on? Or are you amazing, but that amazingness is exhausting you to your bones? Training the body for performance: that’s what dancers do but it’s not just the domain of dancers. You perform daily, and learning the skills of a dancer: carriage, alignment, efficiency--these tools enable you to feel Flow.

How we work:

Virtually: You send me 3 to 4 video samples from meetings, speaking engagements, television appearances, presentations, or other in situ examples. I will provide both written and video feedback identifying both numerous strengths and three opportunities. After you digest the feedback, we meet via video conference to discuss and practice strategies. This process can be repeated quarterly or in preparation for critical events.

Workshop: We spend 4-6 hours one:one with a you rehearsing and me coaching specific content and teaching specific breathing and embodiment strategies. This can be in conjunction with other consultants, for instance debate-prep, or completely individually. for instance in preparation for a pitch or product announcement.


thorndikeCREATIVE provides a critical eye and ear for program design, branding, workflows, and evaluation to help you launch clear, impactful initiatives. With specialized expertise in creative, interpersonal, and leadership programs, I work with a diverse clientele from podcasts, to leadership development trainings, to wellness start-ups, to education programs.  

Using a choreographic mindset, I help you conceptualize, create, and navigate projects, initiatives, or opportunities.

How we work:

Virtually: You have a communications “project” you are working on: something you are working on that has an inherent time frame or achievement goal post. It could be a competency, a program launch, or an event. Via email or videoconference, we set up a schedule of strategy sessions to give you a sounding board from brainstorming to accountability.

Workshop: We spend a half or full day brainstorming and planning. We use our matrix of Action, Support, Curiosity, Challenge, and Resilience to create connected, impactful, and innovative programming. This work can be one:one, with a leadership team, or with a full project staff.

photo credit: Jenny K O’Brien

photo credit: Jenny K O’Brien


Ashley is the owner and driving force behind thorndikeCREATIVE. She holds a PhD in dance studies from Ohio State University, an MEd in counseling from the University of Virginia, and a BFA in modern dance from the University of Utah. With over 17 years experience in the fields of leadership development, dance, non-profit administration, workplace wellness, and Pilates, she brings to each client a directed, efficient approach to embodiment, creativity, and communication. She is particularly engaged in the intersections of creativity and business: helping executives experience creativity and guiding artists to communicate strategically. 

For eight years she served as the founder and Executive Director of Now Next Dance, a dance education and mentoring organization. She was featured in Dance Magazine, and was described in the Dance/USA journal as a “trailblazing visionary” for her innovative program design. Her prior work included teaching on the dance faculties of American University, George Mason University, George Washington University, and Oberlin College. Her certifications include BASI Pilates with a dance conditioning certificate and Ashtanga/Hatha yoga (200hr level). She is the founder of the somaspring mindbody practice.

A dancer and choreographer, her most recent work with long time collaborator Peter V. Swendsen was performed at the John F. Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, in March 2018. 

Ashley is the mother of dynamic preschooler and a curious first grader and the wife of a conservation-loving economist.