Would you move into a RV with your three young children and spouse? That is exactly what CBS 42 Chief Meteorologist Ashley Gann did more than four months ago and calls it an amazing family experience! Here’s a look into the life of this trailblazer who gives God all the glory.
Life as a Meteorologist. Gann recalls always having a respect and wonderment with weather. She grew up in Atlanta, Ga. and at the age of thirteen attended a space camp that included weather classes. “I finished up space camp and told my mom, ‘Hey, Mom, when I grow up, I want to be a meteorologist.’” Gann pursued her goal, majoring in aerospace engineering at Auburn University and earning her master’s degree in meteorology from Mississippi State University in 2007. Gann admits she faced many obstacles when she went into the field of meteorology including a large gender gap, since only eight percent of chief meteorologists are female. She was often the only female in her math classes and did not have a female mentor to look up to in the field. With gratitude she shares, “The challenges and hurdles made me who I am. It’s made me stronger, more resilient and compassionate toward the adversities others are facing.” Because of her perseverance, she became the first female Chief Meteorologist in the state of Alabama and is still the only one in Birmingham. Gann is also passionate about being a mentor to anyone interested in or preparing to enter the field of meteorology. “Reach out to me if you have any questions because I love to walk students through what that journey looks like.”.
“It’s not all roses,” Gann reflects about being a meteorologist on television. She explains that she may have to wake up at crazy hours or cut a family trip short if a hurricane is coming. Her least favorite part of her job is centered around social media and the negative comments people leave on her feed. “People are very opinionated on my look, my hair, my clothes, my pregnancy,” she says, “I could do without that, but adversity makes for stronger people.” There are sacrifices Gann makes, but she shares that being a meteorologist is an extremely rewarding job too. Her favorite part is being able to serve people by making them aware of severe weather threats. “When people say, ‘When that storm came through and I got to my safe place, it was because I heard you say my street name or my city. I did what you told me to and that’s why I’m here today.’” Gann adds that those messages remind her, “Why I do what I do.”
Life as a Mother. Of all of Gann’s titles in life, being mom is her favorite. Gann and her husband Derek have three children: Reagan (6), D.C. (4), and Rhett (18 months). “As a Christian, I get to be one of the first people to teach my children about Jesus. I literally have the opportunity to live my life in a way that leads them to salvation,” says Gann, admitting that this responsibility can be overwhelming as well as joyful. Ashley recalls that when she and Derek were expecting their first child, a mentor shared with them, “Teach them about Jesus and have fun. If you do those two things and do them well, your children will be just fine.” Those are the words the couple still lives by as parents of three. “If Jesus is my model in how I parent, that’s all that matters.” Gann adds she believes it is important to give yourself grace as a parent. She has learned that balance is key, so she doesn’t try to be perfect. She also is passionate about incorporating her children into the simple, necessary things like cleaning.
Life as a Woman of Faith. Gann and her husband, Derek, both accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior at an early age. She says they strive to live by the mantra “How are we making the biggest impact for the kingdom?” They both believe that wherever you are in the world, that is your mission field. “We want whatever message we are giving people at church on Sunday, on television during the week or at the grocery store to match,” she adds, “We want to be light in the world. We want to be Jesus people.”
Life in the RV. The Ganns decided to purchase a camper to have fun with the family on the weekends. “My husband and I have no camping experience at all,” Gann admits but they thought it presented a great way to be more intentional with their time with their children with little or no distractions. Fast forward one year. In the midst of trying to sell their home, the couple quickly discovered how difficult it can be to live in a house while it is on the market. They decided, after six months of planning, to upgrade their camper to an RV and live in it while selling their house. Gann shares that she always dreamed of living in a tiny house, “but my husband isn’t a tiny person 6’6.” Living in the RV was the next best thing. Gann shares that her family spends most of their time at Oak Mountain State Park but have found great spots all around Alabama to call home for the last four months. Gann says the adventure has been fun and enlightening. As they downsized and decluttered, she says the family gained a new understanding of what is truly important to them. For instance, most of the Gann kids’ toys can now be found outside! “They get to explore the woods and we get to go on two-hour hikes anytime.” Gann believes that living in an RV has also given her family more time to invest in each other since less time is needed to do things like cleaning the house. When will the RV adventure end? The Gann’s aren’t exactly sure, but you can keep up with their journey on Gann’s Facebook page.
Enjoy this story? Click here to read the full May 2020 issue!