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I’m Ashley Carter, Beyond Perfect's founder and lead trainer. And I’m incredibly passionate about the topic of perfectionism and helping others move beyond patterns of perfectionism in their own lives.

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My Story

As is often the case for high-achieving perfectionists, my perfectionism served me well in my young life. It helped me get good grades, and it set me on a path to college at Harvard and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business – all of which gave me the foundation I needed to take on big jobs and lead organizations that created a really positive impact in the world. 


Even though my high school friends referred to me as “Monica” – as in Monica Geller from Friends – I didn’t necessarily think of myself as a perfectionist as a young adult. I perhaps felt more aligned to descriptions like “Type A” or “high achiever.” Regardless of the specific label, operating in the way I did was rewarded often by the world around me – and I started strengthening my perfectionist muscle without even knowing it.


In my early 30s, I began to see the limits of my perfectionism – both in terms of how effective it was as an approach and in terms of the toll it took on my satisfaction and on the people around me. As the professional work I took on became more complex and ambiguous, my superpower related to working long hours with extreme conscientiousness was no longer enough to solve the thorny social challenges my organization was tackling, and I was burning myself out in the process. And as I became a mom, I found that no matter how perfectly I followed the instructions of the books I read, it didn’t mean my children would react in the ways promised (something I’m sure many of you with little ones at home can relate to!) So I found myself falling into a cycle of trying harder, working harder, sleeping less, blaming myself, and looking to others to try to figure out what I must be doing wrong.


Thankfully, I hit a breaking point one day and realized there must be a better way. I launched a period of study and experimentation related to perfectionism – something that helped me reconnect with the topics I had researched as a college student and that I continue to study as part of a popular life satisfaction survey I lead for my business school class. In the process, I began to experience the relief of going beyond patterns of perfectionism in my parenting, my work, my marriage, my exercise, my spiritual life, and my friendships. I started living out of a place of greater authenticity, genuine connection with others, and deeper joy. Not only did I feel so much lighter and like myself again, but others noticed too. My husband saw the change within me. My parents saw the difference and were so proud. My kids loved laughing more with their mom. And my friends told me they were grateful I was showing up in a more real and connected way.


And that’s why I’m energized each and every day to lead our work at Beyond Perfect: Not because I’ve figured out all of the answers, but because I’ve experienced the joy that comes with helping other high-achieving women take first steps in the direction of the lives we so deeply want to lead. I’ve learned along the way that we don’t have to do this work alone – and that the most lasting change comes when we have a thoughtful community around us to turn to for support, encouragement and insight.


I can’t wait to get to know you and help you on your journey to go beyond patterns of perfectionism! 

My experience


Harvard University

AB, Social Studies

During my time at Harvard, I studied the conditions that support human and social flourishing as part of an inter-disciplinary degree, comprised of coursework in social theory, economics, political science and anthropology. As part of that work, I had the amazing opportunity to conduct original field research in Tanzania. I graduated summa cum laude and served as Co-Captain of the women's cycling team. (All of which unknowingly strengthened my perfectionist muscle!)

Stanford Graduate School of Business


I spent two years learning from world-class professors and business leaders. As part of the GSB's "Work and Family" class, I developed and launched what has now become a very popular, in-depth "life satisfaction survey," which helps high-achievers in my class (and now other classes) reflect on what helps them to build and lead satisfied lives! Much of what I have learned as part of that survey has informed my work at Beyond Perfect.

Professional experience


Founder and Executive Director

Board Member

As a teenager, I started and built a nonprofit organization that supports women's education in East Africa. I'm incredibly proud of the teams in the US and in Tanzania that continue to lead our work today -- providing UNESCO-award-winning mentoring programs to thousands of high school girls each year. This work has caused me to be passionate about the power of women coming together to support one another to achieve life-changing results. Take a moment to learn more about the organization's work!

Boston Consulting Group

San Francisco

I spent several years working for BCG in their San Francisco office. I was fortunate to work for some amazing people on some pretty fascinating projects (think: helping tech entrepreneurs launch and manage social impact work.) And yes, I very much strengthened my perfectionist muscle while here!

CareerWise Colorado 

Chief Operating Officer

Board Member

I had the privilege of serving as the first official employee and Chief Operating Officer for CareerWise Colorado, which has built the nation's first modern youth apprentice system. I learned so much from the experience of growing our work from Colorado to a national footprint as part of CareerWise USA. And I also experienced how mission-oriented environments can bring out one's inner perfectionist - when working in service of others, it often feels like there is no margin for error!


Director of Business Operations

Excited for a change, I took a leap into tech and had the privilege of working with an all-star team. Unfortunately, the combination of the pandemic, related ongoing childcare instability, and my own perfectionism caused me to leave a few months into the job. Which gave me the gift of the time and study needed to launch Beyond Perfect!

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