We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashley La Russa and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ashley, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
As a young girl growing up in rural Southeast Texas, I was taught a ‘proper roux’ was essential for success. A hot seasoned cast iron skillet, a heaping scoop of fresh butter and powerful patience. I would hear the sizzling pan in the kitchen and smell the butter melting. Discovering my father gracefully sprinkling the flour into the pan and with a whisk stirring the bubbling mixture. “If you let the roux cook too long, it will burn” he would say out loud as a reminder to himself and as a life lesson to me. I founded Roux Events LLC in Tucson, Arizona. My management experience and life lessons help me provide organizations and community leaders with creative solutions based in diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m currently working on the Blax Friday project, we created an accessible list of Black Businesses in Arizona and met the goals of building a website, app, and online event this past June 2020. I serve on the Local First Arizona Steering Committee, WFSA Annual Luncheon Committee, and Board of Directors at the CITY Center for Collaborative Learning (CITY CCL). I partner with owners of hotels, co-working spaces, and event venues to strategically plan how to serve the community as a whole. In 2018, I was the Projects Manager at Downtown Tucson Partnership (DTP) where I actively communicated upcoming events and programs to the community. I’ve coordinated over 80 parade entries for the 24th Annual Parade of Lights and Festival. In collaboration with the Merchant & Retail Council, I strengthened relationships between Downtown Tucson stakeholders, owners and staff. In 2008, At Arizona Theatre Company (ATC), I was an Assistant Stage Manager who would oversee stage crew/technicians and track intricate transitions. After six years, I was promoted to Company Manager, the main point of contact for guest artists. In the Spring of 2016, I was offered the position of Management Associate/Board Liaison tasked with administrative support to the Artistic and Managing Directors, Board of Trustees and Manager of community rentals at the historic Temple of Music & Art.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
N/A SOCIAL DISTANCING 👍🏾 I would encourage them to check out the Blax Friday website and app.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
As a Black business owner in 2020, I want to pay homage to Black Wall Street in Tulsa, OK and my ancestors that paved the way for this generation to continue the fight for equality and economic justice. These business owners organized and built enterprises out of dreams. Unfortunately, their dreams existed in a hateful nightmare but that dream was passed down and fuels the passion behind Roux Events.
Photo Credits: Film Fest Tucson Sofia Batiz Photography Creatista BRINKmedia Elle O Studio