Ashley Biggar is the Director of Downtown Brookings with the Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce. She received her BA in Consumer Affairs from South Dakota State University in 2008. Ashley’s career path stems from her love of art and people. In 2004, Ashley started her own business, Creative Impressions, utilizing her artist and event planning skills. Her recent art projects include A World of Hearts window murals and two wall murals on the wall of the Register this summer. In Ashley’s current role at the Chamber, she utilizes her creativity, problem-solving, development, and event planning skills in a non-profit setting to help downtown Brookings businesses succeed while providing things to see and do to citizens and visitors alike.

Name: Ashley Biggar

Title: Director of Downtown Brookings

Hometown: Brookings, SD

Company: Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce

What are your responsibilities?

Connect, promote, enrich and advocate for Brookings area businesses. Ashley’s position also works with tourism and economic development. There is no typical day, but some regularly performed tasks are:

  • Marketing and promotion for Downtown through various channels; graphic design work
  • Working with committees and community leaders to create a strategic plan and actions with that plan
  • Communications with businesses to see how she can best serve them and actions after
  • Event planning and execution
  • Develop educational training and/or collaborate with agencies creating training opportunities

How did you find your way to where you are today?

Ashley has lived in Brookings for the past 20 years, graduating from both BHS and SDSU – go Bobcats and Jacks! Her journey started as a stay-at-home mom that needed to get out of the house and landed a part-time gig with a fantastic downtown business which led to volunteering with an outdoor concert music series, Downtown at Sundown. Volunteering is a huge part of Ashley’s journey and has taught her so much about herself and this community. That volunteer opportunity sparked a fire in her for events, and she has been involved with them ever since, starting with the Swiftel Center and continuing into her role today with Downtown Brookings and the Chamber. She also has always had a passion for serving, especially small businesses, and the community. That passion for serving her community has provided many opportunities to network and lead, open many doors in both her professional career and personal life. Ashley provides leadership on serval boards and committees, serving as the President of the Board for the Brookings Regional Humane Society, Chair of the Brookings Public Art Commission, and Vice-Chair of the City of Brookings Planning Commission. Ashley’s motto is to say yes as long as it doesn’t jeopardize another commitment. It never ceases to amaze her how much can be done in a day with planning, a positive mindset, and passion.  

What role has education and training played in your career path?

Ashley loves to learn new things! In fact, “learner” is number 4 on strengths. Biaggar is a huge advocate for continuous education, whether that’s formal or watching a YouTube video.

What qualities or characteristics do you find are necessary to be successful in your role?

Ashley shares, “Our motto around the Chamber is, ‘We eat change for breakfast.’ I would have to say adaptability, creativity, passion, patience, listening, understanding, and positivity.”

How would you recommend someone interested in the same career/occupation pursue a similar path?

The path from high school to college to where Ashley is today has not been linear, but she finds that each experience has prepared her for the next and has shaped who she is today. It is important to stay open-minded. This mentality has brought Ashley always to a place where she never would have thought 20 years ago.

“I feel we have our own unique paths to get where we want, or don’t even know we want, in life. I would recommend to follow the path that leans into your strengths and ignites your soul.”

– Ashley Biggar

What extracurricular activities helped you develop professionally?

Volunteering and networking events – anything to get connected with people with different backgrounds, ideas, viewpoints, careers, and strengths.

What are other skillsets (perhaps unconventional) that thrive in this field?

Being a jack of all trades – that line at the bottom of the job description, “other duties as assigned”, comes in to play frequently.

Want to learn more? Connect with Ashley!

Ashley Biggar | Director of Downtown Brookings | Downtown Brookings | 605.692.8922

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