Ashley Greene on how she got involved with NESA and the impact she is making on families everyday
Describe your business in a few words?
NESA is a sensitive, supportive and personal surrogacy agency.
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
NESA was first launched in the UK by best friends Rachel Westbury and Ursula Pandoo as a non-profit surrogacy agency.
I have always been passionate about surrogacy having been a surrogate to three babies. I wanted to learn more and become a case manager following my last journey and came into contact with Rachel on Facebook who was looking for someone, ideally a surrogate, to be the Case Manager for NESA in the USA. The timing was perfect and the opportunity was exciting.
What was your background prior to NESA?
I am a mum of 3 and have always been in the human services field but becoming a surrogate opened my eyes to an entirely different world that I wanted to become more involved in.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
As a surrogate I can only help one family at a time, as the case manager for NESA, I can help multiple families and build on the amazing work of Rachel and Ursula.
Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?
As we’ve only just launched in the US our marketing strategy has been to get our name out there to as many people as possible. We are doing this through a combination of digital marketing, and PR using our experts to raise awareness to both intended parents and surrogates and break stereotypes.
We want to normalize surrogacy and move away from the idea that surrogacy is exclusively for celebrities and those who are wealthy. NESA is a more affordable option and run exclusively by people who have had extensive experience around surrogacy journeys.
We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?
The biggest challenge for any surrogacy agency is a lack of knowledge. Problems can arise when people are not well informed. Our job is to be completely thorough and provide a really honest and personal experience ensuring that both the surrogate and intended parents journey is as stress free and well supported as possible.
What is the accomplishment you are the most-proud of to date?
NESA is a trusted and well established surrogacy in the UK who take pride in providing 24 hour support to both the surrogate and intended parents. NESA in the US shares the same values and mindful approach as the UK. The trust people place in us is something I am so grateful for and a huge accomplishment.
When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?
There isn’t a particular question we ask; it is more about listening and getting to know someone to ensure that they have the same empathy and approach to surrogacy as we do.
How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
There are so many limitations regarding who can be in a room for the scans or the birth which is heartbreaking. As a surrogate, the best moment for me is seeing the faces of the intended parents when they meet their babies for the first time and the pandemic has taken that away. However as a surrogacy agency we have a duty of care to approach each hospital to do our best to explain the circumstances and try to have exceptions made.
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
Growth. As NESA grows as an agency in the US, we look forward to helping as many families as possible.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?
Even if something takes time, the end result is still worth it.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first became a surrogate?
I wish I knew that not every journey was going to be the same and I wish I knew what an emotional rollercoaster it can be and how important having a great support system around you can be.
How have you managed to stay grounded this year?
For me hearing people’s stories keeps me grounded as it is a constant reminder of how important and valuable our work is.
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
Having the perfect work life basis is of course ideal. However, when it comes to surrogacy this is not always the case, sometimes you are needed round the clock to provide support and care and that’s what NESA prides itself on, being there for both the surrogate and intended families throughout their journeys and beyond.
What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?
People are all surprised to hear that when my husband and I started dating I didn’t actually want children. I now 3 children of my own. After having my 3 I understood the pure joy children can bring. This led me to surrogacy, I now have been a surrogate now to 3 babies and have never looked back.
What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?
1. Make sure you eat.
2. Remember why you started.
3. Have fun and love what you do.
What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?
Building relationships and connections and meeting new people, helping us to constantly grow, learn and improve enabling us to help people as best as we can.