Celebrating 45 Years of Love and 40 Years of Success
This Valentine ’s Day, Centre for Neuro Skills is excited to celebrate love and recognize two people who’ve shaped the warm and caring work culture of CNS. Dr. Mark Ashley, CNS Founder and CEO, and Sue Ashley, CNS Executive Vice President of Clinical Services, established CNS nearly 40 years ago and are in the unique position of running a business together. The married couple, who celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary this year, is the heart of our organization, and their strong family values are integrated into our unique approach to patient care.
Mark and Sue met in grade school and continued their educations alongside one another from 5th grade through graduate school. “We were always competitive about grades,” Mark recalled. “Sometimes Sue would have the better grades, and sometimes I would,” he laughed. “We still tease each other about that.”
Mark shared his admiration for Sue’s intelligence and capabilities, “I think it’s very important to marry your equal, and I did,” he said. “There’s only been one or two years since we’ve known each other that we haven’t been in school together or working together, and we’re very fortunate to have been able to work together for almost 40 years. We’re still discovering things about each other, and it’s very much still a love affair,” he continued.
The couple has many fond memories and lots of funny stories about working together. Mark shared a particularly funny memory, “I made a classic error and did a performance review for Sue once,” he teased. “I gave Sue glowing remarks and ‘exceeds expectations’ ratings in every category apart from one: timeliness,” he recalled. “I thought, how can one exceed timeliness? So, I gave her a satisfactory rating, thinking it was the best mark for the category. When Sue got her results back, she marched into my office and put the review on my desk, and said: I’m resigning,” he laughed. “I explained my intentions to her, and we learned not to do that again!”
Mark and Sue had a vision for a daily, intensive brain injury rehabilitation program, after Mark’s brother, Steve Ashley, experienced a traumatic brain injury in 1972, which left him completely disabled. Their ability to recognize the need for this level of care led them to form CNS and demonstrates the importance they place on the family. Bringing family values and core business values in line with each other is reflected in our company’s mission and have become the cornerstone of our brand. “One of our guiding principles is that we treat people like our own family,” says Sue.
At CNS, we're sensitive to what families experience when a loved one has a brain injury because our founders have experienced the catastrophic impacts first hand. Because of this, our programs are designed to treat the whole family, and we provide services to support families from the very first day of treatment to the last, as well as ongoing services after discharge. “It isn’t just the person whose injured it affects everyone in the family, and everyone needs to be treated,” says Sue.
Sue and Mark’s dedication to each other, and CNS, has enabled the company to build trust and respect in the communities we serve. Their commitment to exceptional patient care has earned CNS a reputation as a world leader for providing intensive, postacute, community-based brain injury rehabilitation - allowing us to expand our presence to six locations in California and Texas.
As we approach our 40th anniversary as a company, we reflect on our growth, corporate milestones, and move forward to progress in future goals. We wish everyone a happy Valentine’s Day!