In this employee spotlight, meet Ashley Hayward, web developer at GraVoc!

Since she started her career in web development at GraVoc in 2017, Ashley has evolved into a creative force, designing powerful, responsive, and visually engaging WordPress websites for our clients. She even played a key role in reimagining our own company website! Staying true to the GraVoc mantra – our business is your success – Ashley works hard to understand and deliver on our clients’ goals and vision for their new website!

Check out the video and Q&A below to learn more about Ashley!

Tell us a little bit about yourself & what you do at GraVoc:

My name is Ashley Hayward, and I am a web developer within the Creative Technology team at GraVoc. I grew up in Everett, and I currently reside in North Reading with my husband, our son Theo, our dog Bowie, and a little baby boy arriving in April this year!

As a web developer, I design and develop websites for clients that range from big corporations to nonprofits and mom-and-pop shops. We are responsible for creating custom designs for our clients that really bring their brand alive on screen, as well as providing custom code for seamless front-end and back-end user experiences.

WordPress is our main CMS, and we also use WP Engine, AWS, CSS, HTML, JavaScript, and WooCommerce. Although we know and love WordPress, we are also open to other platforms, which gives us lot of opportunities for growth.

What drew you to pursue a career in web design and development?

It’s funny how things fall into your lap sometimes! I started my career in television, doing editing, after graduating from Merrimack College in 2013. I worked for Everett Community Public Access station and did a lot of on-and-off camera work. But from that experience, I explored a lot of opportunities such as web design and just fell in love with the idea of creating something amazing digitally. So that’s how I started.

How did you find GraVoc?

While I was working for ECTV, we hired GraVoc to build a website for Everett’s 125th Anniversary, and that’s where I met Brian Gravel, VP of Creative Technology at GraVoc. Shortly after that meeting, I saw Brian again at a friend’s barbecue, who happened to be his neighbor. We instantly connected and both felt like it would be a great fit for me to join the Creative Technology team. And the rest is history!

What do you enjoy the most about working for GraVoc?

For one, the client interactions have been something that I’ve enjoyed over the course of 6 years. I’ve built friendships with these clients. Building these relationships with clients and seeing them come back with another idea or project in mind has been great.

Also, I feel like part of a family here at GraVoc. You can feel and sense that your colleagues and management really care about you as a person. They’ve not only watched me grow as a confident web developer, but also been able to celebrate milestones with me, from buying my first home to having my first baby. The support here is amazing, and I feel so blessed to be part of the GraVoc family.

Favorite projects you’ve worked on so far?

Over the course of 6 years, it’s so hard to pick and choose my favorite projects, but a few come to mind. One is the Thomas E. Smith Foundation website. I’ve always enjoyed asking the questions and getting to know our clients so I can bring their story, mission, and branding to life on screen when designing the website. When I heard Tom’s story, it really touched me. He suffered so many injuries and overcame those circumstances to create a nonprofit and bring attention to paralysis awareness. I knew this was a special project and I wanted to go above and beyond.

We started off by revamping the entire website. We began with the design, then we focused on the content, creating a clear sitemap so it’s very easy for users to find what they’re looking for. After a successful website launch, I have heard from Tom that he loves the website and has seen an increase in traffic.

Another one of my favorite projects is working with the Light Foundation on designing their online raffle/giveaway websites. We work directly with Matt Light, who is a former NFL player and Patriot. We have also partnered with Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski, which is exciting. It’s always such a thrill for me to work on these online raffle sites because I can design something unique and out of the box.

Where are we likely to find you outside of work?

You’ll most likely find me at home with my husband chasing our toddler around, or spending quality time with friends and family.

What’s one feature/functionality every website should have?

Businesses should ensure their website is fast, user-friendly, and has an intuitive navigation system. You want your visitors to engage with your content and if your website looks outdated, has a slow load speed, and is hard to navigate, they may bounce off your site quickly without exploring your offerings. By focusing on these elements, you contribute to a positive user experience, making it more likely that visitors will stay on your site, find what they need, and potentially engage further with your content or services.

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