Overcoming Adversity and Emerging a Leader

    [fa icon="calendar"] Jun 24, 2024 1:45:00 PM / by Jenny Kakasuleff

    Jenny Kakasuleff


    At the age of 15, Ashley Brummett-Caraway was involved in a devastating car accident that left her in constant pain and a back brace for two years. Her doctors prescribed pain medication to help her cope, but it soon became a source of dependency instead of relief. 

    “By 18 years old, I was completely hooked,” Ashley recalled. “I didn't even know because I never ran out – my doctor just kept giving me more and more.”

    A diagnosis of spinal stenosis led to the harrowing prediction that she would be confined to a wheelchair by the age of 30. 

    “It led me to a very dark place,” Ashley said. “I was numbing myself from the pain that I was dealing with both mentally and physically.”

    Ashley’s perspective began to change when she learned she was pregnant with her first child, bringing a new sense of purpose to her life.



    “I stopped the pain medication because I didn’t want my kids to be affected by my bad decisions,” Ashley said. “But after I had my baby, doctors prescribed narcotics for the pain, and the vicious cycle started all over again.”

    Ashley would repeat this cycle with each of her four children, but when one of her daughters was diagnosed with autism, she made the decision to get clean for good.

    “Once that fog lifted, I realized I could do better, and that’s when I decided to get a job,” Ashley said.

    She joined the Goodwill store in Fountain Square as a part-time associate in 2018, and her hard work quickly led to a promotion to full-time Team Lead. Tragically, on the same day she was promoted, Ashley’s home burned down, destroying all of her family’s possessions. She sought support from her Goodwill Mission Coach, who was able to provide her with Goodwill gift cards to replace some of the items lost in the fire. 

    Ashley’s spirit, tempered by years of adversity, remained unbroken. Later, when the store needed a new Site Leader, she was the obvious choice. Now 36 years old and in her ninth year of sobriety, Ashley is an active mom, balancing her role as a full-time member of Goodwill’s leadership team with her role as a parent of four.




    “When I think back to what I thought my future would be when I walked into Goodwill compared to now – it's night and day,” Ashley said. “I feel like the sky's the limit for me, and it feels amazing.”

    Looking for employment? Join our team! Visit goodwillindy.org/careers to see job openings and to apply.

    Topics: Employment, Success Story, Parents, Retail, Former Addiction, Mission Awareness, Mission Coaches

    Subscribe to Email Updates

    Lists by Topic

    see all

    Posts by Topic

    see all

    Recent Posts