A Letter From Our Co-Founder: Leadership, Impact and Immense Gratitude

When we started Buie & Co., there were a million things running through my mind, but leaving was never one of them. I thought about our logo and client pipeline. I thought about which coffee shops had plugs and wondered where I would print my next proposal. I thought about hiring and office space and all of the people who needed to hear from us each day. Leaving was never on my radar. Failing, perhaps. But leaving? Nope (and honestly failing wasn’t either). But here I am, making a decision that is infinitely harder than the one it took to jump in. I am leaving Buie & Co. after nearly 10 years, taking with me the decade of adventures, memories and laughs I’ve had along the way.

The challenges and lessons from growing a firm like ours is something that will stick with me forever. This journey has brought out an entrepreneurial spirit, a passion and resiliency in me that I never knew existed. 

Our firm’s reputation and its body of work are something of which I am truly proud. The projects I’ve had the opportunity to work on, the clients (and friends) I’ve made along the way, the services we’ve grown and the team members I’ve mentored are immeasurable. They speak to not only what I’m passionate about, but demonstrate my creative point of view. This experience has been such a pleasure and brought me tremendous joy. 

One of my personal values has always been growth. I’m constantly trying to be better and do better. Those who know me, know I love to create, design, strategize and analyze. I love story-telling and problem-solving and bringing big ideas to life. And, there’s no organization I’ve loved doing that for more than Buie & Co. I legitimely loved every challenge that came our way, and I tackled each not just from a professional perspective, but a personal one, too.

Jed and I have been sprinting since the end of 2012. We’ve had our heads down and been laser focused on our clients and growing this firm since that first day. In 2020, like many others, I lifted my head to reflect. Looking around, the thing that I had been building and molding was strong and stable. And, with a fresh perspective, the company I had poured so much of myself into was not only changed for the better, but my relationship to it had also evolved.  

As with most startups, Jed and I initially took on every task ourselves – splitting responsibilities based on our individual strengths. I owned the branding and creative components, led marketing and ran operations for the firm. Jed was the other side to that coin, leading business development and the government and public relations practices. Our skill sets, while different, were incredibly complementary, and no two people genuinely enjoyed working together more than we did. In fact, one of the most apparent and tangible aspects of our partnership has always been our friendship. 

As our company grew, we built teams to support all areas of our work and partnered with our clients to ensure what we delivered was always qualitatively unique and quantitatively impactful. We are now a well-oiled machine. The quality, consistency and service our clients have come to expect (and love!) is now the gold standard, and our projects are much better for it. But, it is that routine and predictability that leaves the seeker in me searching for more.

The truth is, entrepreneurship is addictive and I have, for quite some time, felt restless  — stuck between my desire to create and the firm’s need to steadily execute. I have always loved creating the magic that made our company run more than I enjoyed working on its day-to-day. 

Being a good leader is not about being indispensable. It is about creating an environment that can transcend you and being humble enough to acknowledge when it does. It is about inspiring people to live up to their potential, trusting them with responsibility and supporting them through challenges.

I love this company more than ever. It is substantially better and far more interesting today than it has ever been, mostly because of the talented and passionate people behind the scenes; they are rockstars. Our firm, through its clients, has literally and figuratively changed the fabric of Central Texas, and I am proud to have had a hand in that; my personal style and aesthetic reflected in almost every project. I’ve made my mark, but the time has come to step away. 

As a co-founder of Buie & Co., my job has been to hire amazing people, share my vision and teach them what I know — I couldn’t be more proud of this team, and I hope my leaving is nothing but a springboard to launch them forward. 

Doing the right thing is hard. Really (f*ing) hard, but I am at peace with my decision. I am so proud to have built Buie & Co. with – and had the privilege to work alongside – Jed. I will always be the biggest cheerleader and fan of this firm, our team and all our incredible clients, both past and present. 

While I’m not quite sure what the future holds, I am excited to explore new opportunities. I’m looking forward to taking what I’ve learned from this incredible ride and applying it to something new, because that’s what’s crazy: it’s not me leaving, it’s what comes next. 

With gratitude and ambition, 

Ashley Kegley-Whitehead

A Note From Jed:

Having had the good fortune to partner with Ashley has been one of the most significant events of my life and career. Her relentless pursuit of excellence in our work and her tireless mentorship of our team over the years are two of the primary drivers of our success. Ashley has been instrumental in too many ways to count…from the creation of our core values and the development of the company’s internal systems, policies and procedures to the birth of, what is today, a thriving creative practice, and an incredible team of professionals that shares our vision. Not only has she made our team better every day, but she has made me better; she has supported me, as well as pushed and challenged me, and for that, I will be forever grateful.

Buie & Co. is excited for its next chapter. We are committed to our clients and will continue to partner with them on the impactful work they lead in our region. We are grateful for the opportunity to play a small role in their success. That is what Ashley and I set out to do from the beginning and what Buie & Co. remains dedicated to moving forward. And, of course, our goal will always be to leave things better than we found them.

Thank you, Ashley. Words cannot express the impact you have had on our firm, our community and on me. Thank you for taking this chance with me. I think we’ve honored the commitment we made to each other when we drew up our partnership on that paper napkin many years ago.

I know the Buie & Co. team and our clients join me in wishing you all the best in your future endeavors. Our paths will no doubt continue to cross because of our mutual love for and commitment to this community.