ASHLEY FISHER M ’19

She Can

By Paul Hyde ’16

When she was very young, Fisher lost her right arm, a tragedy that she’s turned into a source of motivation for herself — and others

Several years ago, Ashley Fisher discovered her personal motto, written by novelist R.S. Grey: “She believed she could, so she did.”

“I was so glad to find a quote that matches me so well,” says Fisher, who graduated in December 2019 from Clemson’s Master of Real Estate Development program. “Now I put it everywhere — in my email and even on my graduation invitations.”

Fisher owns a supremely confident, can-do attitude despite what many would consider a serious limitation: When she was 16 months old, she lost her right arm in a traffic accident.

“When people see a person with a disability, they may expect them to be sad, but I’m the exact opposite, a positive and happy person,” she says. “I have an amazing support system with my family, friends and my daughter. And I find joy in making other people happy.”

After growing up in Greenville, N.C., and graduating from North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro with a bachelor’s in landscape architecture, Fisher started looking for possible graduate programs. A trusted professor and Clemson alum said, “Go to Clemson.”

“[My professor] could see me doing real estate development because everything I was doing for my senior project was geared toward that,” Fisher says. It wasn’t long before she moved from one Greenville to another, finding an apartment a short distance from Greenville ONE, a towering building in the bustling downtown of Greenville, South Carolina, that houses Clemson’s graduate real estate development classes.

“Ashley was an excellent student with a dynamic, positive attitude,” says Robert Benedict, a Clemson professor of practice and former director of the Master of Real Estate Development program.

Now, Fisher works full-time for Guess Construction Company in Winston-Salem, N.C. She started working for the company several months before graduation and is a first point of contact for clients, working on site plans and real estate development.

Fisher has not only overcome her early challenges; she’s become an admired advocate for the disabled, with 12,000 Facebook followers and 25,000 YouTube subscribers. In more than 70 videos, she demonstrates how she successfully navigates life with a physical limitation.

“I show people how I drive, make food, do my hair, change my daughter’s diaper, how I exercise and how I put up wallpaper in my kitchen,” she says.

Some of her videos have been viewed by more than 100,000 people; one video has racked up more than 1 million views. Fisher’s social media presence, however, is merely a sideline. Her ultimate goal is to create her own real estate development company.

As her favorite quote suggests, she believes she can, so she will.