Ashley Cotton, 35(Emphasis added)
Chief of staff and senior vice president of external affairs, Forest City Ratner Companies
Government affairs pro Ashley Cotton made the leap to the private sector three years ago, and quickly found herself in the middle of every significant project at Forest City Ratner.
...Less than a year after landing at the firm, she was promoted to CEO MaryAnne Gilmartin’s chief of staff, a position created specifically for her.
In that role, she oversees personnel and develops key communication strategies.
“Ashley is superb at it,” Gilmartin said of Cotton’s role in senior management.
Cotton’s trump card is her government experience....Andrew Cuomo... the Bloomberg administration...
“She’s really smart, and she’s someone who’s got relationships on both the city and state level,” said Suri Kasirer, a top real estate lobbyist, who counts Forest City as a client. “She’s worked in politics and she’s worked in government. I always personally think that’s a great mix, because anyone who thinks there’s no politics in government isn’t being realistic.”
When Cotton jumped to Forest City in 2012, the firm was getting ready to open the Barclays arena. Cotton was immediately charged with overseeing the company’s wide-ranging hiring agreement with the community that called for bringing on 2,000 employees, many of them local.Gilmartin said when Cotton started at Forest City she had no private-sector experience. But, she noted, that didn’t hold her back.
“Ashley stepped into Pacific Park at a challenging and tender inflection point when we were launching Barclays after a decade of litigation, economic turmoil and delays,” Gilmartin said. “In short order, she mastered an uncanny command of the material and molded her roles and responsibilities in a way that allowed her to take on a key position of leadership.”
It's not surprising that Kasirer, a client, and Gilmartin, her boss, would enthuse about Cotton. But how about that "wide-ranging hiring agreement with the community"? What agreement? What community?
Forest City pledged to hire part-time arena workers locally, and to recruit from public housing, which it did... but the "agreement" never included any information about, say, what a worker might earn in a typical week. Note Cotton's rather incomplete answers when asked about benefits for those workers.