Desoto Catalytic Community Guide Program Spotlight—Ashley Coone, Co-founder and CEO of Links2success

Desoto Catalytic Community Guide Program Spotlight—Ashley Coone, Co-founder and CEO of Links2success

Posted on April 01, 2024 by Avery Crews Prado de Lima, TPF Fellow 2023/24

Editor's Note: The Patterson Foundation believes in the power of collaboration among individuals, organizations, and communities to achieve shared goals. By working together towards common aspirations, they can not only strengthen themselves but also their communities, shaping a better future. DeSoto County Ahead serves as a prime example of this collaborative approach, where community members learn from one another, share experiences, and collectively grow to build a more robust, resilient community. Explore our second DeSoto Catalytic Community Guide Program Spotlight featuring Carrie Fuller, founder and owner of Grants on Point, here.


As a part of The Patterson Foundation's work with DeSoto County, The Harwood Institute's Catalytic Community Guide Program in DeSoto County is an intensive program for community members who desire to guide their community to create lasting change using Harwood's approach. Catalytic Community Guides are local community leaders trained in the Harwood approach and positioned in the community to help people adopt a mindset and a practice that enables them to step forward, take action, create meaningful change, and unleash the potential of their community. Five DeSoto County community leaders are participating in this transformative 12-week course. In this month's DeSoto Solutions to Actions newsletter, we're spotlighting Ashley Coone, the co-founder and CEO of Links2Success, who embodies years of dedicated service and expertise in the fields of government, education, and nonprofit management.

Ashley Coone is a passionate advocate for children of all ages, especially those from asset-limited families in her hometown of DeSoto County. She is an independent consultant with a wealth of experience in government, education, and nonprofit management.

When asked what she sees as the value of being engaged in the Catalytic Community Guide course, Ashley said, "There are several ways that participating in the CCG Course with the Harwood Institute is valuable to me. It offers me the opportunity to improve how I contribute to my community and more. I'm gaining essential skills in leadership, public facilitation, and conflict resolution that benefit my personal growth and professional life. The course deepens my understanding of community dynamics and boosts my capacity for positive impact. On a professional level, the CCG Course enables me to be a catalyst for change, helping to unite diverse groups and build a more unified community. It is equipping me with the tools to be a more inclusive leader."

Ashley also reflected on how she sees this participation and the work that TPF and Harwood are doing with Desoto County residents as being a spark for positive change, "This course is helping me better understand my role as a catalyst for positive transformation within our community. While I've already worked in a similar role in our community, this course will allow me to work alongside TPF, Harwood, and others by being more catalytic. By utilizing the techniques I'm learning to engage directly with the community, I can be part of a more inclusive movement. These techniques are not just focused on problem-solving or temporary fixes. It's about strengthening how we connect with and support each other, creating a model for collaboration and mutual respect. As we build bridges between diverse groups and foster a more cohesive community, the ripple effects of our actions promise a stronger, more resilient Desoto County. My role in this initiative is more than participatory. It's an opportunity to be at the heart of an important journey that redefines what it means to work collectively toward a common good. And for that, I am excited and grateful."

We are excited to continue to see the growth in these community leaders as the Catalytic Community Guide Course continues and look forward to the impact they will have going forward.

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