If you are one of the millions of Americans who watches network TV as part of your morning routine, you may have seen a face that is familiar to Arvest Bank recently.
That’s because Ashley Ellis appeared during a “Good Morning America” segment as part of National Love Your Hair Day on Oct. 10. Ellis has been an Arvest associate since 2005 and has served in a variety of roles. She currently works in the Arvest Credit Card division as an onboarding specialist for the corporate credit card department.
National Love Your Hair Day is the creation of Carolyn Aronson, CEO and founder of It’s a 10 Haircare.
“Our hair is our crown … so we need to celebrate it,” Aronson said during the segment.
Little did Ellis know that she was about to be celebrated, too. Ellis and two other women were in the studio audience as part of a prize package associated with an It’s a 10 social media contest. Contest guidelines said It’s a 10 was looking for three hard-working go-getters who are “pushing the boundaries, working toward their dreams, and truly making a difference.”
“You thought you were here as guests, but we want to share your stories with America,” co-anchor Lara Spencer said while calling Ellis and the two other guests onstage.
Ellis’ story in a nutshell: She was a divorced mother of two who had never lived on her own when she decided to take self-defense classes as a way to boost her lagging self-confidence and self-worth. Fast-forward several years, and Ellis now teaches Brazilian jiu-jitsu classes and offers free self-defense seminars for women.
Ellis and the other guests then got an even bigger surprise: $10,000 checks to start a new business or further their current pursuits. Ellis said she plans to use her money to become a certified jiu-jitsu instructor and maybe even take law enforcement training.
Her goal is to be able to reach more women and share the empowerment she uncovered by taking those first self-defense classes.
“I would love to go around to our trade areas and provide women at Arvest (and others) an opportunity to come to free seminars,” Ellis said.
And she plans to keep her day job, too.