The Student News Site of State University of New York at Brockport

The Stylus

The Stylus

The Stylus

Women in business with Ashley Fico


SUNY Brockport professor Ashley Fico Ph.D. joined the Women in Business club on Thursday, Nov. 18 to share some of her personal experiences and lessons she has learned throughout her career.  

Aside from being a professor at SUNY Brockport, Fico is an entrepreneur. She and her brother are co-owners of a mobile app called “innoquests” that encourages users to explore different cities. 

The app helps people explore cities they might not be familiar with or that they would like to get to know more about. The app draws attention to details within these cities that could easily be overlooked.  

“The idea is a mobile app that takes exploring your city and turns it into something a lot like an escape room. You log into the app, buy a ticket to a story and so that story is like a fully immersive narrative,” Fico said. 

According to Fico, there is a plot or mystery introduced and in order to solve these mysteries, individuals must solve the puzzles on their phones along the way. The whole concept is about moving through a city and experiencing it differently. 

While explaining the app, Fico mentioned some of the lessons she learned throughout her career and things she wished she knew before becoming an entrepreneur. These lessons have helped her grow as a professor and businesswoman. 

At the start of her career, Fico had a hard time saying no to people. She says she wishes to have learned to say no sooner in her career and advised students to analyze the possible outcomes of a decision in future business endeavors.  

“Learn to say ‘no’ to people,” Fico said. “I had a hard time with this. I always wanted to say yes but chose strategically. Think about ‘does this fit with my long-term plans?’ Then make decisions from there. You shouldn’t be doing things because you have to.” 

Fico started the app because she wanted a challenge. She decided to start working on her own business while still accepting that situations could change, and the idea could fail.  

Fico’s brother helps her stay motivated while making sure she doesn’t burn herself out as both a professor and a business owner. He reminds her to take breaks and to take a step back when needed, and she does the same for him. 

“The way my brother and I work together helps a lot,” Fico said. “Only one of us is allowed to spiral at a given time. We are very good at motivating each other and reminding each other to take breaks. I would just go full force, then easily burn myself out, but he tells me when I need to take a step back.” 

Ficos started the app because she was searching for something she knew she would want to dedicate herself to and that she would feel good about.  She wasn’t afraid of failure but wanted to use the business endeavor as a learning experience regardless of the outcome. 

“You only get one shot at life and so go do it and learn from it and if works, great. If it doesn’t that’s totally okay also,” Fico said. 

Fico also mentioned the importance of networking. She advised students to network outside of their immediate circle. Posting content on LinkedIn allowed Fico to spread the word about her app and learn from others who might have already done what she was trying to accomplish.

She told students to use LinkedIn to their full advantage, to create and post content that would allow them to interact with others outside of in-person events. LinkedIn is a large reason her business continues to grow and expand.  

Fico describes the journey of being a SUNY Brockport student to a professor at the college and now an entrepreneur as “surreal.” 

“I’m still on campus in a different sense,” Fico said.” “It’s almost like I just put another hat on so, in some ways it is super exciting to talk about it. Like wow, I was sitting in these same seats listening to speakers talk about things like this. Now, I’m talking about something I created.” 

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Stylus

Your donation will support the student journalists of State University of New York at Brockport. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Stylus

Comments (0)

All The Stylus Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *