Ashley Bland Manlove was born and raised in urban Kansas City, MO. Although raised in a two-parent home, one of her major and most consistent influences was being in the presence of strong women, particularly her grandmother, former Senator Mary Groves Bland.
Since her youth, summer months were spent working actively in voter registration drives, knocking on doors, encouraging adults to vote, and various election activities. This was integral to learning how to become effectively engaged in her community.
2010 saw her acceptance into the Army National Guard as an Intelligence Analyst; scoring in the top 20th percentile on the military entrance exam. While in the Army National Guard, she was awarded the Army Achievement Medal for outstanding service as an Intelligence Analyst.