Miss Continents 2014
On June 22, 2014, Ashley Schmider (Pennsylvania) was crowned Miss Continents 2014
After graduating from Duquesne last spring and placing first runner-up at the Miss Pennsylvania America pageant, I was motivated to start my career. I was hired by KPMG LLP, one of the largest professional services companies in the world and one of the Big Four accounting firms, in September 2013. I work in the area of regulatory risk consulting for the financial industry, specifically geared towards large bank clientele. Just coming upon my first year with the company, I have been able to travel to New York City, Delaware, and Baltimore and work with high profile clients. These experiences have allowed me to really build on the skills I learned while at Duquesne and understand the important role consulting plays in the business environment.
Strong Women, Strong Girls: My platform since my freshman year at Duquesne University has been the Strong Women, Strong Girls mentoring organization. The great part about this organization is that is truly promotes mutual empowerment for women of all ages, specifically among three generations: elementary-based girls, undergraduate women, and professional women. Since graduating from Duquesne, I have been able to transition from a college mentor to my new role of mentoring the college women about the opportunities in their professional careers as well as sharing my mentoring experiences. While working in NYC, I was able to be part of the discussion about the pilot chapter of SWSG they were building in the city. SWSG is truly making there mark one city at a time. I am truly excited to continue to promote Strong Women, Strong Girls throughout my year as Miss United Continents. SWSG has just recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. I am so proud of where this organization has come from and where it is going and I am thankful that I've had the opportunity to spend the past five years with the amazing women that keep this program growing.
I have never been one to sit still for too long, and even with a busy work and travel schedule I knew that pageants were a part of my life and opportunity to share my story and positively impact my community. The Miss United Continents pageant is fairly new to the pageant world. The national director, Gaspar Cruz, has truly built an amazing organization geared towards recognizing strong and confident girls and women from across the country. Not only is he the director of the pageant, but he also has his own line of pageant gowns called Crown Couture and a line of cosmetics, Gaspar Cruz Cosmetics. He is extremely talented in the pageant world with his most recent success of designing the gown for the reigning Miss America, Nina Davuluri. Just having the opportunity to work with him has been a great experience! I met Gaspar four years ago when I competed as a teen in his pageant. My experience as a teen was one of the most rewarding pageant experiences and I knew I wanted to come back and compete for his program again as a Miss contestant. I had the honor of representing Pennsylvania in the 2014 Miss United Continents pageant held this past July in Houston, Texas. I met so many amazing women and accomplished my goal of walking away with the crown. It was such an exhilarating moment being one of the last two contestants standing and then hearing my named called as the winner! One of the great aspects of Gaspar's organization is that he has amazing sponsors. The sponsors include, Park Lane Jewelry, Maui Babe Browning Lotion, Larabar, Fleet Physique, Lea Journo Cosmetique High Performance Hair Care, Discreet Prete, Candleberry Candles, The Pageant Shop, The Artisan Center, and See What Develops Photography. Not only did every contestant receive a goody bag of products, but as the winner I receive products for my entire year!
I am truly blessed to have the opportunity to promote my platform and the values of the Miss United Continents organization throughout my year. I know I'm going to be very busy, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I am extremely excited to make appearances with my sisters queens, Abby DePhillips and Ashley Southern. They are two amazing young women and I'm proud to call them my sister queens. After every pageant I do, I tell myself that maybe that was the last one for me. But each experience I gain more confidence and learn a lot about myself. I definitely see myself competing again in the future, so you'll need to check back to see where my current title takes me.