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40 Under 40 - Class of 2020
Business Observer Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020 9 months ago

Ashley Drummonds, 32

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Founder, ABS Protein Pancakes
by: Brian Hartz Tampa Bay Editor

On her company’s website, Ashley Drummonds writes that the secret to her success is “delicious food products, great workouts and wine.” Her eclectic business background includes stints as a certified professional trainer and a fine wine consultant, but it’s her latest venture, ABS Protein Pancakes, that has taken off and seems likely to stick. 

In 2016, Drummonds landed a coveted appearance on the hit TV show "Shark Tank" and won a $120,000 investment from Daymond John, the founder, president and CEO of FUBU, a clothing company. “That was an incredible experience,” Drummonds says, “just awesome.” 

Courtesy. Ashley Drummonds at home with her dog.

Drummonds had always enjoyed working out and helping other people get in shape, but the dietary restrictions that came with fitness regimens left her frustrated. “It’s all protein bars and protein shakes and bland, boring food,” she says. “I felt like I have to basically starve myself and deprive myself of anything that I enjoy, food-wise, six days per week. And then I get that one cheat day that results in me overeating. … I was just really frustrated.” 

Drummonds’ frustration festered to the point she started experimenting with recipes in her home kitchen, hoping to come up with something that might sate her appetite and cravings while also not crashing her diet. The result was ABS Protein Pancakes. 

“I was on my own journey trying to find solutions to my own problems,” she says, “which is how I think a lot of businesses start.” 

Pancakes, Drummonds says, are just the beginning for her and the ABS brand. She’s already creating and selling meal plans and recipe books, and she’s a frequent guest on podcasts, a medium in which she shares her expertise in social media marketing, fitness, e-commerce and entrepreneurship. And, of course, her goals include the creation of her own wine brand to be sold under the ABS banner. 

“It is such a huge passion,” she says of wine. Drummonds’ label “would incorporate the same concepts [as ABS Protein Pancakes]: clean, good, natural wine. And you won’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on it.” 

Name: Ashley Drummonds

Age: 32

City of residence: Tampa

Employer: ABS Pancakes

Title: Founder

Birthplace: Brandon

Years on the Gulf Coast: 30

Marital status/children: Single

Alma mater/degree: Liberty University/ bachelor's degree in business

What's the weirdest job you've ever had? The weirdest job would probably be working at Sweet Tomatoes when I was 16.

What's your top tip for being productive? What has always worked for me is fitness/wellness. I started out incorporating fitness and strength training in my own life prior to being an entrepreneur, and I quickly saw how the skills and mental discipline I was practicing in the gym translated to other areas of my life as well. Exercise has so many health benefits, but when it comes to productivity, it helps you be more efficient and intentional with your time. When I go to the gym, I walk in usually with a plan, a routine warm-up, and then I do my workout before doing anything in the business. This sets the tone for my whole day. The focus, the discipline, the showing up consistently is the same practice that goes into building anything worthwhile. 

A very small tip: When I do my work on the computer or I'm on phone calls, I am always standing. Mostly because standing gets more blood flow and oxygen to the brain, so I can think more clearly.

If you could have a side hustle, what would it be? I'd be a wine maker, or I'd own a bunch of pets that needed fostering. I love animals, and I love wine.

What's your favorite off-hours activity? I love lifting weights, trying out new restaurants and recipes, and anything outdoors.

What's your favorite board game, game show or video game? I'm not big into video games, but I do love interactive games like Catch Phrase, Heads Up and Cranium.

What’s your go-to delivery service (DoorDash, Uber Eats, GrubHub, Bite Squad, etc.)? I actually don't use any go to delivery services. Crazy, I know! If I eat out, I always enjoy the experience of going out. Otherwise, I enjoy cooking at home.

What do you use most — Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams or Google Meetings? Definitely Zoom for most of my calls

What’s the best binge-worthy show you have enjoyed during the pandemic? There's a lot! I really loved "Imposters," "Life Sentence," "Married At First Sight" and "No Tomorrow."

What’s the longest virtual meeting you’ve been on since mid-March? Two hours. It was a great podcast call, though, and the conversation was so good that we lost track of time.

How many times had you used video for a work meeting prior to the pandemic? At least once a week, so easily 30-plus times.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned during the pandemic? I think the main thing that's happened to a lot of people during the pandemic (myself included) is we have been secluded to our homes and forced to take a look at a lot of things that usually we might not pay attention to or acknowledge because we distract ourselves with constantly going out and doing things. This pandemic has been a huge time of reflection, going inward (both physically and mentally) and really just prioritizing what's important. The most important lesson for me really has just been how much I value my relationships and the people in my life.

What do you miss most about the world pre-pandemic? Coffee shop work spaces. I don't do a ton of traditional networking events, but I do love great coffee, so a lot of my connections have come from just chatting with fellow business owners and coffee lovers at local coffee spots.

What have you been spending more time doing during the pandemic? Working out at home and reading some really great memoirs.

Do you prefer working from home or working from an office? I like a good balance of both. It depends on my mood and if I need to be super focused or if I have some flexibility and want to socialize.

How have you kept up camaraderie with colleagues during the pandemic? Social media and Zoom. I've done a lot of podcast interviews during the pandemic and a lot of Zoom happy hours that have helped just with some sort of socializing that has kept me sane.

What’s the first thing you’ll do after the pandemic? Probably take a trip to Paso Robles wine country and knock off some of my bucket list wineries I have been wanting to see.

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