Reinhart Guest House Visit 2019

Left to Right, Top to Bottom: Ashley, Vivia, Brenna, Taylor, Shaila and James
Our Build-Your-Own Breakfast Sandwich Bar
Astyra hosted a staff volunteering day at the Bon Secours’ Evelyn D. Reinhart Guest House in April!
The Reinhart House provides lodging for families of patients in the hospital for an extended period. Throughout their stay, various volunteers offer to come and cook a meal for the families to help ease some of their stress.
Astyra has volunteered every year for the Reinhart House since 2014! Prior to this, our last visit was in August 2018. This time, the Astyra volunteer group decided to have a Build-Your-Own breakfast sandwich bar complete with various breads, meats and toppings.
This was Ashley and Shaila’s first time ever participating in a group volunteer experience with Astyra. Both ladies offered to help with everything including baking bacon, slicing avocados and washing dishes.
Ashley said she is excited for our next volunteering event!

2019 MBL Awards

The 2019 MBL Awards Ballroom Decor
Astyra President Sam Young
Imagine: large groups of chatting professionals dressed in suits, mermaid aerial silk performers and multiple servers walking around with tasty hors d’oeuvres.
Astyra didn’t have to imagine as this is what we encountered at the Metropolitan Business League Awards Reception and Dinner! Many of us were attending the awards for our first time and did not know what to expect.
After mingling for about an hour, we headed to the ballroom to enjoy dinner and cheer for the winners. There were 24 nominees and only six categories which kept everyone on the edge of their seats wondering who the award winners could be.
Our President, Sam Young, was given the opportunity to introduce special guest speaker Chiedo John. Both men were able to keep the crowd entertained with witty jokes and their captivating speeches.
Chiedo John is a rising entrepreneur who founded Chiedo Labs, a tech advising and web developing company, in 2012. Mr. John recently became an MBL member and was honored to have been able to speak in front of such a large crowd.

National Kidney Foundation

Volunteers at the For Your Heart Women's Expo
The National Kidney Foundation hosted their annual For Your Heart Women’s Expo in February. 
Our Recruiting Assistant, Jody joined with other volunteers to help the organization hand out surveys. The questionnaires assess attendants health and offer advice on how to promote healthier lifestyle decisions.
What non-profit missions do you support?

Email Etiquette With Brittany

Brittany with VSU students

Our Human Resources Manager, Brittany, was invited to run a workshop at her alma mater by one of her former professors! 

Although Brittany had many topics she wanted to go over, she focused on discussing email etiquette. She brought in print outs of her responses to real emails to give students an example of the professionalism used in corporate emails.

The workshop attendees listened carefully to her words and mentioned how much more prepared they feel to enter an office environment.

Brittany hopes for an invitation in the near future from Virginia State University to help with another workshop or event!


#MLKDay2019 Logo
Virginia Union University hosted the 41st Annual Community Leadership Breakfast on Friday, January 18th. Our CEO, Ken Ampy, and approximately 700 attendees heard from Governor Northam, Mayor Stoney, Congressman Scott and many more influential speakers.
The presenters challenged listeners to “Make it a Day ON, not a Day Off” in reference to the #MLKDay movement. The #MLKDay movement strives to use the national day of service to empower individuals, strengthen communities and bridge barriers to help create solutions to social problems and pass on the message of Dr. King to future generations.

“One of Astyra’s founding principles focuses on community service and community leadership. We encourage everyone to find an opportunity to be of service to someone else this #MLKDay,” Astyra’s CEO, Ken said.

Petersburg Fall Fix-Up Day 2018

Pam from RTR and Tianna

Our Operations Admin and Executive Assistant, Tianna volunteered with Rebuilding Together Richmond (RTR) one rainy Saturday this month.

The organization hosted their third annual “Fall Fix-Up Day” in Petersburg to help repair over ten homes and community spaces and clean up trash around the area. This day is similar to RTR’s “National Rebuilding Day,” which is a full day of home repairs and community revitalization in the Spring. 

Tianna acted as their Communications Specialist by managing their social media platforms. She spent the day taking pictures and videos, creating posts and interviewing volunteers and homeowners on the event.

Victor Offers Career Advice


The Urban League of Greater Richmond Young Professionals (ULGRYP) and Thursday Network (TN) partnered together to host a panel discussion on career advancement and invited our Technical Recruiter, Victor to speak!

Victor has been a member of the ULGRYP for several years now and was honored to be chosen as a guest speaker.

This discussion was held in September at the Second Annual Maudine Cooper Leadership Retreat. Both organizations strive to develop young black professionals’ leadership skills.
Victor said he enjoyed speaking to the young professionals as well as attending the insightful informational sessions.

Ken’s LMR 15 Year Reunion

LMR Class of 2003

Our CEO, Ken Ampy, attended his 15 year Leadership Metro Richmond (LMR) class reunion earlier this month. Classmates gathered to reminisce on how the class shaped each of them into more experienced and prepared leaders. Since attending, each person has served and positively affected a board of their choice, thanks to the training.

Ken served on the reunion committee and was scheduled on the agenda to provide remarks. His comments were recorded and included on LMR’s blog and the most recent newsletter. In this blog post, Ken talks about his career of board services and its ties to LMR.

Helping Richmond’s Youth

Future Young Leaders of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Carmen partnered with the Upsilon Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., in the organizations eighth annual Induction Ceremony on September 8th to welcome 11 sixth graders into the Future Young Leaders program.

Through this program, young girls will develop upon their skills and talents to help them become contributing citizens in their community.

Carmen looks forward to seeing how the girls grow and benefit from this program!

VSU Profession Enhancement Workshop

Professor Jonathan Young and Taylor
Our Recruiting Assistant and Virginia State University alumna, Taylor helped teach a one-day profession enhancement course in August.
She lectured students on crafting elevator speeches and sparking interest in the person they are speaking with. Taylor also coached the students on proper handshake techniques and body language. The students received tips on how to improve their overall demeanor when marketing their professional skills.
Following the course, students felt more confident in their abilities to meet and speak with professionals.

August 2018 Is The Month Of Giving!

Carmen posing with eggs
Vivia, Melissa, Carmen, Tianna, Ken and Taylor
Jody, Melissa, Tianna, Brenna and Carmen
Carmen at the YMCA Bright Beginnings Program
Cutting bagels, organizing donations and greeting everybody with a smile was the job of six Astyra employees on an early Tuesday morning.
At Shepherd’s Way Relief CenterAstyra helped prepare and serve breakfast to 133 people in need.  Sigmund Collins founded the center in 2012 to provide relief from the afflictions of poverty in the Richmond area.
That morning, the kitchen manager Richard Lepper, showed up at 6:30 to make seven pounds of grits and about 25 dozen eggs. At 8:30 a.m., Astyra volunteers arrived not knowing what to expect but excited to work and help out in the community.
On one side of the kitchen, Carmen handed out hard-boiled eggs while Tianna passed out a variety of bagels. Our CEO, Ken, got an intense arm workout from scooping the crowd’s favorite: cheesy grits drenched in butter.
Just past the serving table, Melissa sweetened everybody’s day by giving them sugar packets for their coffee. Vivia helped flavor the bagels by providing jelly, cream cheese and butter. Lastly, Taylor was in charge of ensuring everybody had the utensils they needed to enjoy their hot meal.
Astyra also had an office drive the month before that led to three large bags of clothes, jewelry, shoes and a box full of canned foods and toiletries being donated to Shepherd’s Way Relief Center.
Later in the month, six Astyra employees participated in another staff volunteering day at Bon Secours’ Evelyn D. Reinhart Guest House.
The Reinhart House is a place for patients’ families to stay as opposed to driving far distances to and from the hospital. As a way to support the families, the lodge allows volunteers to come and cook a meal for the residents.
Astyra has been a long-time volunteer for the Reinhart House, which made it easy to prepare for the day. The Astyra volunteers made vegetable breakfast casserole muffins, home fries, bacon and biscuits.
Melissa multi-tasked between supervising and frying the home fries. Carmen and Jody focused on cutting the onions and tomatoes while Tianna whisked the eggs. Brenna was on bacon duty ensuring they were just the right amount of crispy. Our CEO, Ken, baked the biscuits to a golden brown.
The breakfast turned out to be a hit!

“The breakfast flew out of here – loved by everyone,” said Elisabeth Rigsby, house assistant.

Carmen was a superstar this month!

In addition to attending our volunteering days, she also volunteered with the YMCA’s Bright Beginnings program to take a child back-to-school shopping just like Victor did earlier this month!

“As a 1st time participant in the YMCA Bright Beginnings program, being able to help kids feel good about themselves in school and beyond was rewarding. It reminded me of how incredibly blessed I am, and that encourages me to want to give back even more,” Carmen said.

She plans on helping out with this program again next summer!

Back To School Program

Victor at the YMCA Bright Beginnings Program

Technical Recruiter, Victor Rogers participated in the YMCA Bright Beginnings program one evening in August.

The program matches children with a Shopping Buddy for one day to buy clothes and enjoy a meal together to prepare for school. Throughout their time together, the volunteer also offers advice and gives the child a positive outlook on the upcoming school year.

Victor paired up with a 2nd grader and they bought two new outfits before the start of his buddy’s new school year.

Bowling With The Washington Redskins

Astyra's Bowling Team
River City Roll along with TMG and Rob Walker and Associates planned and hosted a private networking and bowling night featuring the Washington Redskins this month.
At this event, sponsors and attendees could meet and bowl with Redskins teammates such as Anthony Lanier, Chris Thompson and Jamison Crowder.
The bowling alley was anything but quiet with loud crashes between the ball and pins, chatter from business professionals and the clink of glasses. A live DJ kept the crowd entertained by playing the latest hits.
We all had a great time!

Tied To Greatness 2018

Izaiah and Ken
Our CEO, Ken Ampy, joined with the local organization Partnership for the Future for his second time to help provide high school males with a valuable lesson.
The one day event began with Mr. Alex Ellis’ powerful message to “never underestimate the power of your image.” Mr. Ellis has been featured on CNN, Black Enterprise, The 700 Club, BET and the Steve Harvey Morning Show for his influential speaking. He uses his experiences and knowledge to educate others on how to be successful.
Ken participated by speaking with and mentoring his Varina High School protégé, Izaiah, and teaching him how to properly tie a tie. This experience serves as a gateway, leading the high schoolers towards a professional life path.
Partnership for the Future’s focus is to help high school students with limited resources transition from high school to become successful, contributing members of our community.

Congrats 2018 Grad!

Our Director of Operations, Melissa Silver, is Astyra’s most recent Leadership Metro Richmond (LMR) graduate from the Leadership Quest program.

 “I am very honored to have gone through this program and have the opportunity to meet so many wonderful Richmond leaders,” Melissa said reflecting on the experience.

On this ten-month journey, a diverse group of leaders are brought together to receive formal leadership workshops and improve upon their ability to make a lasting impact in the Greater Richmond area.

The program creates an environment for encouraging bold conversations about issues facing our region and helps to broaden perspectives among the group. Part of the program includes a group immersion project that tackles a particular regional issue. Melissa’s group researched and presented on Criminal Justice.

Congratulations Melissa!

2017 Lead Virginia Class

Astyra President, Sam Young is a member of Lead Virginia class of 2017. The program aims to educate proven leaders about regional differences, opportunities and challenges across the Commonwealth.

Lead Virginia participants have a unique opportunity to travel to different regions in Virginia and meet with regional leaders to learn about assets and innovations unique to each region, best practices and how each region contributes to the whole of the Commonwealth.
Sam highly recommends Lead VA to others. His favorite part of the experience has been meeting new people, and it has helped him to learn more about Virginia and its history.

Tied To Greatness 2017

Founder and CEO, Alex Ellis.
Mentors teaching students how to tie a tie.

Click here to learn more, or to register for an event. 

With his powerful message to men and women alike to “never underestimate the power of your image”, Mr. Ellis has been featured on CNN, Black Enterprise, The 700 Club, BET and the Steve Harvey Morning Show. Astyra executives participated by speaking with and mentoring young men while teaching them how to properly tie a tie.

Partnership for the Future helps motivated high school students with limited resources transition from high school to college and employment, so they can become successful, contributing members of our community.

A Day At The Ballpark!

Account Manager, Brenna Caton won the competition to select our new office pet fish. The prize was to throw the first pitch at one of the Flying Squirrel games! Astyra made an afternoon of it, and enjoyed a day game on July 26.
Do you think Brenna has discovered a new talent?

Girls For A Change Workshop

Brittany and former professor Jonathan Young
Brittany Brown, HR Specialist, hosted a workshop for middle school and high school girls for the “Girls for a Change” program held at Virginia State University. Girls For A Change is a non-profit organization whose mission is to help girls develop key skills needed for their success.
The title of Brittany’s workshop was, “Girls Chat”. The 411 on Make Up/Professional Attire, Career Goals, Life Balance, and Maintaining Relationships.
Brittany her aim was to have an intimate conversation with the young ladies, discussing certain topics of she could provide feedback and advice on, based on her personal experiences.
“Each topic that was discussed talked about things that women encounter on a day-to-day basis in both our professional and personal lives” says Brittany.
She appreciated the opportunity to speak with the girls and would be honored to participate in the event again next year, if asked.

Bring Your Dog To Work Day

Dionne, Melissa, Michelle and Mary Alice
On Friday, June 23, 2017 a few of the employees in our office participated in the Pet Sitters International’s Take Your Dog To Work Day®. Five dogs in the office was a lot of fun and chaos!
Four of the adorable pups attended a very important meeting!
Employees who brought their dogs to work made a donation to Pets for Patriots, Inc. We hope that this will make a small difference to the lives of pets in need.