Dr Ashley Gluchowski

Ashley joined Prosper as a Research Associate at The University of Manchester. Working within the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, Ashley’s research is
centred on ageing and evidence-based strength training interventions for older adults. She is passionate about making a difference in peoples’ lives through finding ways to improve physical, social and mental wellbeing

Ashley went on to secure an Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Fellowship from the University of Manchester, and an ECR Engagement Fellowship with the ATTAIN Network. She has now secured a University Fellowship with the University of Salford. Ashley is also building and developing her own business, STRONGER
with AGE, which she founded during the course of her time with Prosper.

Role on starting Prosper cohort

Research Associate, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, The University of Manchester. 

Case study conducted

May 2023. 

The challenge

While Ashley has always enjoyed working in academia, she first joined Prosper because she couldn’t envisage herself continuing down the 'traditional’ academic career pathway of research and teaching in the long-run.

She had always been interested in working with older adults, in finding ways to encourage and enable them to exercise, and knew that eventually she wanted to have a more direct role and impact in this area than a ‘traditional’ academic career might allow for. Prosper offered an opportunity to explore her options.

“Although I love academia, I wasn’t quite sure about continuing in the same way I had. What’s great about Prosper is that it gives the ‘permission’ to think about our careers in this way, to really look at and consider the question of where we’re going in the long-term, and the practicalities of getting there.

The Prosper journey

Ashley found the ‘Explore’ element of Prosper – with its focus on the careers landscape and the options available to postdocs - particularly engaging. She took a particular interest in Prosper’s career cluster resources relating to entrepreneurship and policy, as they spoke to her ambition of becoming an academic entrepreneur.

Not long after starting with Prosper, Ashley founded her own company, and Prosper’s resources – including those relating to growing a new business – provided insights that she could put to immediate use as she began laying the foundations for the project.

“The Prosper portal was a treasure trove of useful information relating to careers and the different pathways open to postdocs. As well as being useful for me, a colleague of mine was able to get a job in industry using all the career cluster materials. She wasn’t on the pilot but still benefited greatly as I was able to relay all the information.

As she focused on building her new enterprise, Ashley continued to work on her own professional development
through Prosper’s resources relating to networking and marketing. She found Prosper’s LinkedIn masterclass
particularly useful for flagging up improvements she could make to her profile, and before long she was able to pass it on, helping her peers to improve theirs in turn.

The pandemic had meant that Ashley, like many, was out-of-practice when it came to in-person networking.
Prosper’s networking sessions were a great help on this front, and she found herself leaning heavily on the tips
and methods she learned as she returned to the conference scene to start making the necessary connections for her new venture.

“I’ve never been a ‘natural’ networker – but networking is so important if you want to be an entrepreneur. You need to do a lot of networking, and the general skills and support that Prosper offers truly boosts your confidence in this area.

Next steps

Ashley is passionate about empowering and encouraging older adults to engage in physical exercise. In April 2022 she founded her own wellness and fitness company, STRONGER with AGE, to pursue her vision.

As well as helping her with the various challenges of building a new business, her time with Prosper led Ashley to get a deeper sense of what her business could develop into, and the different directions she could take it in down the line.

While preparing her new venture for launch, Ashley is continuing to pursue her academic career. In January 2023
Ashley secured an ECR Engagement Fellowship with the ATTAIN Network, exploring interdisciplinary ways to
tackle the challenge of raising awareness and disseminating evidence-based exercise guidelines to older adults and their exercise providers. In August 2023, Ashley will start a University Fellowship with the University of Salford where she has deliberately designed a project that aligns with her innovative nature.

“Prosper was an eye-opening journey for me. It changed my perception of academia, and I now actively seek out research projects that encompass both innovation and impact. I was very fortunate to be a part of it, and look forward to the future with confidence. My tip for other postdocs? Be scared and do it anyway!

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