Ashley Zeckman

“Make Good Choices!” And Other Reasons Why We Celebrate Ann Handley

Ashley Zeckman     B2B Marketing, Online Marketing


Ever so often, you come across someone that inspires and motivates you to be better, to reach for more. Sometimes this will be someone that you know, but often, it’s someone that you admire from afar. For me (and many other marketers), that person is MarketingProfs’ Chief Content Officer, Ann Handley.

In addition to being an incredibly talented and brilliant B2B marketer, Ann is a wonderful person. Her wit, charm and friendly demeanor will wrap you up in a ball of marketing love and make you feel like you’ve known her your whole life.

Our team has had the distinct pleasure of partnering with with Ann on several projects. As busy as Ann is making B2B marketing magic, she is a fantastic collaborator and co-creator. I have been given the opportunity to work with her on several ocassions and have reveled in every minute of it.

This post is a tribute to Ann, the work she’s done and the inspiration she gives to today’s marketers (as well as my official announcement of my candidacy for President of the Ann Handley fan club). Here’s to you Ann!

How Does Ann Handley Inspire Other Marketers?

Lee Odden
CEO, TopRank Marketing

This one is a throwback!

This one is a throwback!

There’s a certain magnetism to Ann Handley that has attracted people to her for all the years I’ve known her. Or maybe she has a giant magnet hidden in her jacket. It’s hard to say. She’s truly genuine, thoughtful, super smart and has a great sense of humor. And she loves Instagram. Anyone that loves Instagram is insta-inspiring in my book. Oh yeah, she doesn’t really like made up hyphenated words though. Sorry about that Ann.

I think Ann inspires marketers most by walking the talk with her own content and bringing a reasonable voice to the overload of marketing information we are all confronted with on a daily basis. Ann’s empathy for others and a high standard for herself are what inspires me and many others to be better at marketing and how we communicate with each other. Happiest of Birthdays Ann!


Michael Brenner
CEO, Marketing Insider Group


Ann Handley is the humblest, kindest, smartest, and most creative person you will ever meet. Which is surprising because she’s kind of a big deal on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and a host of other social sites where she has amassed 7 billion followers. That’s right, even unborn babies and dead people follow her every word. But what I admire most about her is how she keeps it real all the time. She has a quirky sense of humor that is just so darn relatable you almost want to hate her for loving her so much. Happy Birthday to the one and only Ann Handley.


Jay Acunzo
Vice President of Platform, NextView Ventures

Really Jay? [This selfie was manufactured by me]

Really Jay? [This selfie was manufactured by me]

What do I admire most about Ann? Probably her abilities to power clean and squat like a champ. I remember one time, during the 1996 Olympics, Ann competed for the gold. Granted, she’d power cleaned her floor and then squatted to pick up a cookie she’d dropped, Olympics playing in the background on TV … but you really gotta admire the effort. I mean, with such a clean floor, I’d say she had at least 15, maybe even 20 seconds before it was inedible. But that’s Ann for you — always going above and beyond to move fast and eat things. (That’s the Facebook motto, yes?) I mean, sure, she hasn’t won an actual medal in these things, but Ann Handley is my gold standard, that’s for sure.


Andrew Davis
Founder, Monumental Shift


This totally counts as a selfie

Sure, Ann Handley is wonderfully kind, amazingly accomplished, and ever-inspiring. But no one person has shaped the way I write or express my ideas than Ann. (And I’m not the only one.) Happy Birthday, Ann!


Rob Zaleski
Marketing Manager, MarketingProfs


Aside from Ann’s quirky nature, which I think draws a lot of people to her, I love that she treats everyone like a friend. You could be a fan she’s never met before or a speaker she crosses paths with often, and she’ll make you feel like you’re the only person in the room. Though this actually makes it difficult to get her out of a room sometimes, I do find it to be one of her most endearing qualities—and probably why so many people really like her. She’s about as human as it gets, and a pretty great human at that.


Doug Kessler
Creative Director & Co-Founder, Velocity Partners

I don’t admire Ann. I hate her. She’s great at everything I struggle with and is effortlessly better than me at everything I pride myself on. That’s not admirable, that’s just mean.

If people knew the real Ann instead of the ‘Ann’ she presents to the world — the one everyone ‘loves’ so much — they be horrified (at how identical they are).

Happy’ birthday, Stupid. If it really is your birthday.


Jason Miller
Group Manager, Global Content and Social Media Marketing


I admire Ann’s eclectic style, quick wit, savvy marketing advice, and unbridled generosity. She’s my number one inspiration for becoming a marketer, and I celebrate her wisdom daily.


Tamsen Webster
Founder & CEO, Strategic Speaking

What do I celebrate and admire about Ann? That she lives the integrity she wants to see in the world.

B2B Marketing Words of Wisdom From Ann Herself

Make the customer the hero of your story. @annhandley Click To Tweet Great marketing starts with great stories. Be unique, inspire and connect. @annhandley Click To Tweet Good content isn’t about storytelling; it’s about telling a true story well. @annhandley Click To Tweet

Make good choices! @annhandley Click To Tweet (Ann says this in real life and it also happens to apply to marketing).

In an online world, our online words are our emissaries; they tell the world who we are. @annhandley Click To Tweet If you aren’t having fun creating content, you’re doing it wrong. @annhandley Click To Tweet Good writing serves the reader, not the writer. @annhandley Click To Tweet

Happy Birthday Ann Handley!

Thank you again for all of the good that you bring to the world and to marketing. It has been an absolute pleasure getting to know and work with you.

Has Ann inspired you in some way? If so, please feel free to share in the comments. Also, as Ann would say; “Make good choices!”.

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Ashley Zeckman About Ashley Zeckman

Ashley Zeckman is the Senior Director of Digital Strategy for TopRank Marketing. In addition to finding innovative ways to showcase the exceptional work of her team, she is also responsible for creating digital marketing programs that drive customer acquisition and growth for the agency. Her background includes expertise in everything from content marketing strategy to branding, account management and social media.

Outside of her role at TopRank Online Marketing, Ashley prides herself on being a great home chef, painter, prankster and dog mom.


  1. WOW. Wow. Wow. Wow!!!!

    I am both deeply honored and deeply embarrassed. Thank you SO MUCH for the warm wishes and the love. I couldn’t ask for better friends. (Except Kessler. He’s a jerk.)

    And Ashman: You have a special place in my heart. (So much love to you!)

    Thank you for this generous gift! This is all I could want today.