In less than 10 years with the Jacksonville Port Authority, Aisha Eccleston has worked her way up from entry-level administrative secretary to an essential leadership role at the Port Authority, handling the accounts of several Fortune 500 companies and generating new business while simultaneously volunteering her time to local startups interested in expanding their businesses to the global marketplace. Rather than looking back at her time fulfilling entry-level tasks as forgetful stepping-stones, Eccleston said she feels the lessons learned during those early years continue to bear fruit as she tends to a vast array of responsibilities today.
“Starting from the ground level gave me an added advantage as I moved up,” Eccleston said. “I still today know things about things work within the company that maybe someone higher up doesn’t quite understand.”
For a short time, Eccleston served in a secretarial role under JAXPORT Executive Vice President Roy Schleicher and credits him with providing her the earliest opportunities to advance her career. Since then, Eccleston has impressed at every step of the way, as she was recognized by her colleagues for the prestigious “Golden Sail Award” – which honors Jaxport employees who exhibit consistent dependability, community involvement, willingness to take initiative, and go above and beyond in their daily work — and she was selected by port leadership to collaborate directly with White House staff to organize George W. Bush and Barack Obama’s presidential visits to Jaxport. Today, through organizations like the UNF Small Business Development Center, Eccleston volunteers her knowledge and expertise in service of lifting up dreamers like herself.
What inspired your success? A person that works here that has been really special has been Roy Sleicher (executive vice president.) I was his executive assistant. As much as he liked the work I was doing for him, he pushed me out of there rather quickly so that I could keep moving up. Every opportunity I’ve been afforded has been because of him. I can’t say enough good things about him as far as what he’s done to provide me opportunities for growth.
How do you inspire others? Just being a regular person. Nothing was given to me. I didn’t even know how I would pay for college, but I worked three jobs at a certain point. It was hard, but I just worked at it. Hard work does pay off. If you haven’t dug all the way in to make something out of your life, then you can go deeper