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October 06, 2014

Where Talent Matters | A Bold Faced Blog Series … Meet Ruta Jaks

Posted 4 years 137 days ago by Gretchen Hirsch

Of course Ashton212 Associates are excellent at what our clients expect of them. But our consultants are so much more than their work, and we love to find out they’re like away from the office. Today we’ve caught up with Ruta Jaks, who came to the United States from Lithuania to pursue her American dream and is well on her way toward realizing it.


Ruta has expertise in product messaging and positioning, project management, online campaign management, investment management, and marketing communications, to name only a few of her capabilities. Ruta recently began her first engagement with Ashton212, working with a major financial services organization on a marketing/rebranding project.


When did you get your first taste of American life?

During an exchange program. It was to bring international students here to work and travel. Then we were to return home to use what we’d learned. I was assigned to a wonderful resort in Telluride, Colorado. I felt so welcomed and at home there, and in my soul I knew this was where I belonged. It was a very hard adjustment for me to return to Lithuania. The next year, I was part of the program again and I ended up at another resort, this one near Lake Tahoe. After that, I stayed.


What was your background before you arrived here?

Lithuania had been occupied by the Soviet Union for 50 years. When the Berlin Wall came down, the capitalist structure replaced that of the USSR. My mother earned her master’s degree and became a successful businesswoman, and she urged me to follow her in economics and business. I had a rebellious spirit, however, and wanted to study journalism. That was a priceless experience because I learned to ask good questions and how to listen well so I could write the best story. I was on Lithuanian television, both local and national. I was producer, director, and writer. Sometimes I even hung the lights.


You’re far from television now. Why did you make the switch to business? Is the message here that we should all listen to our moms?

When I came to this country, I was so fortunate to study at Mills College, a wonderful school for women in the Bay Area. Although I was interested in Berkeley, I knew I would need access to professors and some support along the way. I’d been on my own here for only two years, and Mills was the perfect choice for me. It was one of the proudest days of my life when they accepted me, because the school is dedicated to nurturing and empowering women to be successful whatever path they choose.


I thought I wanted to go into public relations, but one of my mentors at Mills said that while I was strong in qualitative skills, English was my second language—and language was the most important tool in PR. I’ve always loved the quantitative side, too; I was good in math and I’d learned a great deal about business from my mother, so I went into business and economics, just as she had. It was a practical decision, and I love what I do.


Away from work, how do you spend your time?

I studied dance when I was growing up and I still love it. I use it to meditate and to build creativity. I’m a cyclist, too.


What would be your perfect weekend?

To meditate in the morning and have tea. Then to cycle across the Golden Gate Bridge and go somewhere in Marin to breathe in all the air and beauty there. Then, if I’m not too tired, to have dinner with friends.


I understand you have cycled for charity.

Yes. I’ve been part of the AIDS LifeCycle ride. It’s been life-changing in so many ways. First, it’s taught me to stay in the moment, both mentally and physically. If I thought about having to ride 100 miles one day, then 80, and then 90, it might seem like too much, but doing it one step at a time is possible. I also love being part of a community of people who are involved in taking care of others. At one point, there are literally thousands of us standing and praying for those who are sick.


If you had one piece of advice to offer others, what would it be?

Follow your dreams and enjoy the ride. Make the best of wherever you are. I’m thrilled to be working with Ashton212 because they really take care of their clients—and their consultants. I’ve been blown away by how welcoming everyone has been.

Tags: Ashton212 Associate associate consultants Jaks Lithuania Ruta Where Talent Matters

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