MUSH Co-Founder & Blair Alumna Ashley Thompson Returned for Society of Skeptics
Paula Hong '16

Ashley Thompson 08 co-founded MUSH in 2015 with the conviction that convenient, delicious and nutritious food can elevate the world in powerful ways.

At a young age, Ashley took great interest in the growing health crisis in America. She developed the belief that better outcomes in life begin with better food and knew, someday, she’d make her life’s purpose to shape the world positively through this lens.

However, Ashley’s early career path did not exactly put her on a health-and-wellness trajectory. After earning a degree in economics and mathematics from Columbia University in 2011, Ashley worked on Wall Street as a trading analyst at Goldman Sachs. During the first few months, Goldman’s intense, fast-paced environment and long hours shed light on the difficulty of eating well in modern-day America. A huge white space of delicious and portable nutrition existed, and it intrigued her far more than Eurodollar futures. After contemplating her own desire to buy snacks that balance simplicity, flavor and sustenance, she decided to commercialize what she initially created as a “hack” as a kid: cereal and oatmeal soaked in milk. That hack eventually became MUSH, a fast-growing brand on a mission to make a difference.

On Tuesday, October 26, Ms. Thompson returned to Blair to talk to students about entrepreneurship and lessons learned along the way. Watch her presentation below:

“I started MUSH because I believe that easy, delicious and nutritious food can elevate the world in powerful ways. Better outcomes in life begin with better food, so I wanted to help improve the physical and mental health of people everywhere,” said Ms. Thompson, whose goal is to help people unlock their highest potential through good nutrition.

For an audience of high school students, Ms. Thompson particularly emphasized the importance of health and wellness and how to maintain a good balance, all while reminiscing about her days as a former Blair Buccaneer. 

“I like to think of it as work/life harmony because there’s nothing equal about work and life when you’re running a business. The lines become so blurred at times; it’s hard to distinguish between the two. In fact, they often become one and the same,” said Ms. Thompson. 

“I truly enjoy it, though. I derive so much happiness from pursuing my highest potential, and that’s exactly what this journey enables me to do. I’ll always be driven by my desire to improve, evolve and achieve even more today than I did yesterday. I think this quote from ‘El Enemigo Del Pueblo’ really sums it all up: ‘At the end of the journey, we remember only one battle: the one we fought against ourselves, the original enemy, the one that defined us.’ ”

When asked for advice on how to reach Ms. Thompson’s level of achievement, especially after leaving the halls of Blair, the alumna had one key message: Trust your instincts. 

“Listen to your gut. As a founder, you’ll gain the power of intuition, plus tons of critical data, through observation. You might not realize it, but your natural instincts as an entrepreneur will give you a tremendous advantage. Listen to your gut and lean into it, with conviction.”

History of Skeptics
The Society of Skeptics was established as a forum for students and faculty to discuss and debate important global issues; it has grown to become one of the premier high school lecture series in the United States. Each week, speakers from the political, social, scientific, economic and literary arenas share their unique perspectives with students, who are encouraged to engage with presenters, asking questions and debating points of view.

The program, which is funded in part by the Class of 1968 Society of Skeptics Endowment Fund, is an outgrowth of the Blair International Society, begun in 1937. Forty years later, former history department chair Elliott Trommald, PhD, Hon. ’65, established the modern Skeptics program as a regular forum for student discussion and debate; history teacher Martin Miller, PhD, took over in the mid-1980s and molded the program into a weekly lecture series, one that has since continued without interruption. Under the tutelage of Dr. Miller and his successor, history department chair Jason Beck, Skeptics has featured a wide variety of speakers who are thought-provoking, engaging, accomplished in their respective fields and often controversial.

For a listing of upcoming Skeptics programs, please visit Blair’s website.

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