Ashley Davidson is a writer, photographer, filmmaker, and creative director. She launched Citizen in 2017 with the conviction that there's an alternative to the traditional ad agency model: one where collaborators form a nimble community, where members team up to produce quality work across the clients and media that engage them the most, while expanding to explore individual interests; sharing tools, knowledge, and resources for the mutual benefit of all.
For Ashley, community bonds have always been at the core of her work. Since childhood, she has felt the power that a nurturing community can have in shaping one's future. Her unique upbringing inspired a natural interest in exploring the ways that family can form outside of bloodlines, and through her exploration, she realized these connections are typically forged through shared values.
Guided by this understanding, she started her career in urban planning and design, working to restore blighted downtowns across the United States. She was drawn to the stories of the community members, their hometown pride, and the ties that bound the most diverse among them. This curiosity eventually led her to pursue a business degree in Milan, focusing on luxury, experiential and symbolic goods – the things we consume to demonstrate identity and attract our tribe – and now resulting in over 15 years of experience in advertising and storytelling for “communal industries” including fashion, automotive, hospitality and tourism. These are the industries that create and sustain communities around the world.
Ashley’s content work spans from experimental formats across social channels, to scripted commericals and documentary work that uncovers the true values of the individuals and organizations profiled. She has led content development for a national tourism campaign highlighting the stories of community leaders and small business owners across the country, and has served as Creative Director and Director on dozens of award winning campaigns and films. She led the development of social and lifestyle content for the relaunch of Lincoln Motor Company, and created and helmed the first Brand Publishing Lab for WPP Group. Her brand identity, design, and content work has been recognized by UNESCO, and awarded Effies, Lions, Webbys, a Clio, film festival laurels, and Vimeo Staff Picks. She has spoken widely at industry events, institutions and universities, including SXSW and the London Film Festival.
Ashley is co-founder of The Broad Exchange, a global professional organization dedicated to advancing the interests of women in the creative fields, now more than four thousand members strong. She currently resides in Detroit where she leads her creative studio and has opened a couple of community gathering places: a restored neighborhood bar and a new coffee shop.