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A native of S.C. and survivor of sexual abuse, Ashley Olayinka is a transformative leader, philanthropist, and innovator who has dedicated her voice and service to ensuring that all Black and Brown women and girls impacted by gender-based violence are safe, seen, and supported. Through Ashley’s efforts as a healing justice advocate, she is the founder of the only culturally specific peer advocacy organization in S.C., The Hive, where she leads alongside fellow survivors to decrease barriers while increasing access to equitable socio-emotional, trauma-informed, and economic-based services fostering safety, wellness, and economic mobility.

As a lifelong advocate for survivors, Ashley draws from her experience and academic and professional background to help survivors reclaim their mental health, self-worth, and autonomy. In a society that often ignores, misrepresents, or otherwise devalues their shared experience, Ashley stands as a staunch advocate for women and girls of color who are less likely to be supported through the trauma of sexual abuse or relationship violence.

With a natural skill for problem-solving, innovation, and mobilizing people and resources to effect positive change, Ashley earned her B.A. in Psychology from Columbia College and a Master of Social Work from the University of Washington. Ashley’s philanthropic efforts include formerly serving as a Board Member of Prisma Health Hospital Foundation, Central Carolina Community Foundation African American Philanthropy Committee, and Chair of Richland County Domestic Violence Coordinating Community Council. Currently, she serves on the S.C. Victim Services Coordinating Council. Ashley is a 2022 Global Aspen Soar Fellow and has received several awards, including The State Class of 2022, 20 Under 40, and 2022 Jefferson Award recipient. Having appeared as a guest speaker and facilitator at the 2022 Essence Festival, she is a sought-after national speaker and trainer on topics such as social and racial justice, gender-based violence, and leadership. She has been featured on local and national media outlets such as Black Enterprise. Ashley is a mother to three beautiful, charismatic children: Corinne Elizabeth, Caleb Josiah, and Collin Noah.

Ashley Thomas, ED and Founder The Hive CC.JPG
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