NBA Canada’s Communications Manager Proves There’s No Secret Formula for Landing Your Dream Job

Ashton Lawrence on how she made it happen

(Photo courtesy of Ashton Lawrence)
(Photo courtesy of Ashton Lawrence)

Name: Ashton Lawrence

Job title: Communications manager, NBA Canada

Age: 32

From: Calgary

Currently lives in: Toronto

Education: Bachelor of design in fashion communications, Ryerson University

First job out of school: Athlete and media relations officer at Right To Play

As the communications manager for NBA Canada, Ashton Lawrence has an all-access pass to the teams and players in the league, whether it’s at an all-star game, a charity event or, most recently, the history making 2019 NBA Finals, when the Toronto Raptors won the championship against the Golden State Warriors. “My job is to not only help grow awareness of what the league is doing but, in the end, really grow the league’s fan base across Canada,” Lawrence explains. She just wrapped up her fourth season in the role, which, thanks to the Raptors’ victory, will go down as a career highlight. “It was really inspiring to see so many people come together to watch those games. At its core it’s a sport, but it can also inspire people beyond what happens in those NBA arenas.”

Lawrence, who has always been a big sports fan, had a somewhat unusual career trajectory before joining the NBA. “On paper, it doesn’t make a lot of sense as to why I would be a good fit there, but it really speaks to the fact that many of these opportunities are about following your passion and working hard,” she shares. After completing internships in the fashion closet at Teen Vogue and a public relations agency, the fashion communications major landed at Right To Play, a global organization that improves the lives of children in need through educational games. From there, she moved to a PR firm where she worked on the 2016 NBA All-Star Game. Shortly thereafter, the organization’s Canadian office had a job opening and reached out to her boss asking to interview Lawrence. “She knew sports was my number one passion, so I really owe a lot to her for allowing [me] to make that move.”

Her unconventional path is why Lawrence believes there’s no secret formula to success or landing your dream job. “It comes down to out-working anyone else regardless of whether they’re male or female and being open to different opportunities, whether it’s with networking or different jobs,” she says. “The most interesting people I’ve met have career paths that zig-zag all the time. Even though the role might not seem like it’s on the path to that dream job, you have to take advantage of that because you never know who you’re going to meet along the way.”

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