Ash Beckham

Ash Beckham

Accidental Activist, Dynamic Speaker, Storyteller

Today we talk to Ash Beckham, a speaker, author, corporate trainer, and advocate for the LGBTQ+ community.

Ash shares her journey of self-discovery, the importance of building trust through authenticity, and embracing vulnerability as an ongoing two-way conversation, and reflects on the ripple effect of her TED Talk and her road to becoming an accidental activist.


[spp-timestamp time="01:37"] – Dino introduces Ash Beckham, a speaker, author, corporate trainer, and advocate for the LGBTQ+ community.

[spp-timestamp time="02:31"] – Ash introduces herself and shares that she is a busy mom who also does virtual and in-person speaking, executive, and team coaching, and runs a family business putting on girls’ fast-pitch softball tournaments in Ohio.

[spp-timestamp time="03:52"] – Dino discusses the universal experience of having hard conversations, noting how Ash’s TEDx talk from 2013 about coming out of the closet inspired him to invite her to share her framework for authenticity.

[spp-timestamp time="07:43"] – Once Ash chose to be openly authentic, she found it difficult to live any other way, discovering that the potential backlash from living her truth was largely exaggerated in her own mind.

[spp-timestamp time="08:31"] – Ash believes that regardless of whether a threat is real or perceived, the fear response can still arise.

[spp-timestamp time="09:19"] – Ash emphasizes the importance of building trust by being authentic. And shares why she took responsibility for having difficult conversations for those who couldn’t.

[spp-timestamp time="10:45"] – Ash stresses that we all live in the gray middle where we need to find commonalities through our similarities first, then open the door to conversation about taboo subjects.

[spp-timestamp time="11:40"] – Authenticity is not just something one does, but who they are, and that changes over time.

[spp-timestamp time="13:52"] – Authenticity doesn’t have to equate to constant struggle, but being true to oneself and figuring out what authenticity means in different circumstances

[spp-timestamp time="15:28"] – To be an effective advocate, it’s crucial to evaluate the situation’s context, desired outcomes, and personal motivations.

[spp-timestamp time="17:01"] -The importance of having a personal conversation about vulnerability while being aware that it can result in changed relationships.

[spp-timestamp time="18:29"] – Ash recommends three steps to dealing with potential pushback when embracing vulnerability.

[spp-timestamp time="20:33"] – When dealing with pushback when embracing vulnerability, it’s important to make it an ongoing two-way conversation rather than a one-time discussion.

[spp-timestamp time="21:18"] – Dino discusses the process of becoming authentic and evolving to fully embrace vulnerability.

[spp-timestamp time="22:49"] – Ash shares her journey of self-discovery and what inspired her to become an advocate for the LGBTQ+ community.

[spp-timestamp time="26:34"] – Courageously facing the uncertainty of letting go of prescribed life stereotypes and advocating for acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community while hoping for familial acceptance of her true self.

[spp-timestamp time="28:28"] – Dino praises Ash’s empathy, citing her sister’s wedding and her bravery in using her own experiences for advocacy while considering the opposing perspective.

[spp-timestamp time="29:51"] – Ash reflects on her past behavior of excessively expressing her identity while stressing the importance of self-acceptance and progress, even without full understanding.

[spp-timestamp time="32:49"] – Ash discusses the importance of meeting people where they are to help them understand and become allies.

[spp-timestamp time="33:22"] – The importance of authenticity for everyone, not just certain groups, in corporate diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.

[spp-timestamp time="34:24"] – Ash explains the importance of putting oneself in a position where they are the minority to understand how it feels.

[spp-timestamp time="35:17"] – Ash differentiates between hiring markers for diversity and inclusion versus true inclusion and belonging.

[spp-timestamp time="37:39"] – Authenticity is a skill that can be developed through practicing it in places that are easy and gradually moving towards being more authentic with others.

[spp-timestamp time="40:13"] -The price of advocating for authenticity and acceptance and why it’s vital to tap into our truth without worrying about being judged.

[spp-timestamp time="43:48"] – An accidental activist’s journey to becoming a TEDx talker.

[spp-timestamp time="45:36"] – Authenticity opens the doors to leadership: Ash reflects on how being authentic turned her into a leader and inspires others to lead through everyday actions.

[spp-timestamp time="46:14"] – “The ripple effect of authenticity is unbelievable. You are inherently a leader when you are authentic.”

[spp-timestamp time="47:14"] – Ash shares her passion for yoga despite not being very flexible and why she believes it’s important to do things she’s not good at.

[spp-timestamp time="48:28"] – We’re always someone’s mentor, and we’re always someone’s student, and that flows both ways all the time.

[spp-timestamp time="49:19"] – Ash shares the jargon that drives her crazy (with a caveat).

[spp-timestamp time="51:10"] – Ash shares that listening to the podcast “We Can Do Hard Things” with Glennon Doyle, Abby Wambach, and Amanda Doyle is enriching her soul and feels like a therapeutic experience that connects her to others and their struggles, making her feel less alone.

Contact dino at:

Websites: or

Other Ash Beckham links:

Book: Step Up: How to Live with Courage and Become an Everyday Leader


Twitter: @ashbeckham


Instagram: @theashbeckham

Authentic Leadership For Everyday People / Dino Cattaneo

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