Ashley Williams is a success story.
The Midwest Express Clinic medical assistant has overcome poverty, a difficult upbringing and temporary homelessness. She says she did it by making herself a priority.
“You’ve got to be stingy with your time, stingy with your paycheck, stingy with yourself,” she said.
Williams has been with MEC for about three years. She’s had multiple titles out of multiple locations but is currently at the Munster office doing a little bit of everything.
She’s one of seven siblings raised by a single mother in low-income housing. Her father didn’t acknowledge her for the first 10 years of her life.
“We literally moved every two years to different areas of the south suburbs. Basically wherever we could go and whoever would approve us to live (in government housing), that’s where we would go,” she said. “My upbringing was a little different.”
Williams chose to move out of her mother’s house around the time she started at Midwest Express Clinic. It just wasn’t the type of environment she wanted to be in.
She spent about two months living out of her car, crashing with friends and staying out all night just because she had no place to go. MEC coworkers offered to give her a place to stay but she wasn’t comfortable with that.
“I was too prideful. My dad taught me that I don’t need anybody, obviously, because he wasn’t around,” Williams said. “I never asked anybody for anything because I always knew I could do it myself. I was never one to give up.”
So she worked and saved until she was in a position to get her own place.
“Midwest Express Clinic really transitioned me into the person that I am today,” Williams said. “I’ve been able to be on my own for about two years. It’s literally transitioned my life from being in a place where I was just getting a check to where I’ve been able to move up in the company and be mentored by the CEO.”
That mentorship was instrumental in Williams transforming her mindset and path, she said. The two would have regular conversations about life, her goals and putting herself first.
When she started with MEC, Williams said she was a young person without direction allowing others to take advantage of her. She couldn’t afford rent but was paying bills for friends and family members.
“I’ve learned so much from (those talks),” she said. “I have that work ethic, that punctuality, that loyalty to the company. Now, I make sure that everything that I do puts myself first in the long run.”
She was pregnant with her son Kobe when she started working at the front desk in Munster. He’s now seven months old, the product of Williams having her life where she wants it to be.
“Kobe is definitely a huge motivation,” Williams said. “Since I’ve had that relationship with my parents, my goal is to make sure he would never go without because growing up, we went without water sometimes or gas when it was cold outside. I remember having to use other people’s showers because my mom wasn’t able to provide because she was struggling, herself. That’s one thing I will never have my son go through. My son comes first in everything I do.”
Williams plans to go back to school. She’d like a career in ultrasound cardiography. Her current job is just a stepping stone, she said, but she plans to stay with Midwest Express Clinic.
“I am far from the person that I was a few years ago,” she said.