Ashley Wolford’s return to Powell River is so recent that her husband Spencer and young children Alexa and Wesley are still living in Victoria.
“My family hasn’t moved yet so I’ve been commuting back and forth right now,” said Ashley. “I’m staying here and they’re eventually going to move up but it was tricky with COVID, especially with schooling.”
The new BMO branch manager was born and raised in Powell River and after 16 years on Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast welcomed her back in October.
“I left to take additional schooling down at Camosun [College], then I stayed there; my husband was actually born and raised here as well but we met after high school,” said Ashley. “He moved away and then I moved away and we actually started dating in Victoria. We ended up getting jobs and working our way up.”
Recently, an opportunity came up resulting in a transfer back to her hometown. With a son in kindergarten and a daughter in grade two, the couple is still working on figuring out the logistics of the move.
“The plan is for them to come up, it’s just a matter of when,” said Ashley. “This is my first branch manager posting and so I am working all the time, so if they had to come up right now I wouldn’t be seeing them much anyway.”
Ashley said she has always wanted to get into management and has been in banking for 17 years.
“I became a financial advisor and then I had my kids and it was so much easier to just be in charge of your own customers,” she added. “Now that they’re a little bit older I was sort of poking around and then this opportunity came up with the Bank of Montreal. I only started with Bank of Montreal in July and I was hired into this manager training program.”
Ashley had two weeks of training before being placed at a branch in Victoria due to a short term situation. She was with the branch from August until this current opportunity presented itself.
She said she is enjoying her new position and after travelling back and forth from Victoria to Powell River, she is enjoying being surrounded by family again.
“My mom and dad and my sister are still here, my aunt and uncle and my grandma are still here; everybody is here,” said Ashley. “This is quite the homecoming.”
She is staying with her parents for the time being.
“It’s actually been delightful, I haven’t had to make dinner in a month,” Ashley said with a laugh.
Her husband is an insurance adjuster who’s been working remotely since the start of the COVID pandemic. When the family does make the move they will be fortunate he can stay with the same company, she added.
The couple plans on waiting until the spring to figure out what to do with their home in Victoria. They’ve owned rental properties before and aren’t sure if they want to hang onto it for now or sell before they buy in Powell River. Both of their children were raised in the house; Ashley joked that a lot of downsizing needs to happen.
She grew up here in Westview, but with the time of year, they’ll wait until the spring before looking for a place to settle down and continue raising their young family.