FARE Leadership Spotlight - July 2022
Meet Ashley Dinah Koranteng, a member of FARE's Rising Leaders Committee, and learn a little more about her!
A public health specialist for a school division in Northern Virginia, Ashley Dinah Koranteng enjoys coaching girls' basketball and also loves fashion.
- What's your name, where are you from, and what is your food allergy connection?
I'm Ashley Dinah Koranteng from Loudoun County, Virginia. I have severe food allergies and have had them since I was 2 years old. I am allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, milk, soy, sesame, lima beans and halibut.
- What drew you to FARE? Why do you support FARE?
I was drawn to FARE when I was an undergraduate student at George Mason University because I was studying public health and the work of FARE directly impacted my life. Lisa Gable greatly inspired me and I wanted to find ways to be also be impactful in the food allergy space in the same way I saw her being impactful.
I support FARE because FARE is helping improve the lives of people like me with food allergies in such an amazing way. FARE is an organization that is so near and dear to my heart, and I see myself supporting anything I can that is FARE-related for the rest of my life.
- When you think of FARE, what first comes to mind?
When I think of FARE, the first thing that comes to mind is empathy. Before attending a FARE summit. getting to meet more of the food allergy community and meeting with staff members at FARE, I felt no one could really understand what I go through daily. After engaging with many people involved with FARE, even those without food allergies, I felt understood.
- What is one thing you would tell any food-allergic person or parent/guardian of a food-allergic person?
One thing I would tell them is that your life will still be amazing with a food allergy diagnosis! Having food allergies means life may look different in certain instances, but certainly never worse!
- What is the best food allergy advice you ever received?
The best food allergy advice I ever received was to always advocate and speak up for myself. As a teen, I felt my food allergies were an inconvenience to those around me. But, I began to understand that people who really love you will always want you to be safe. If speaking up about your food allergies and about activities that are or are not safe for you is a problem for someone, they don't truly love or care about you.
- You’ll be a presenter and panelist at the 2022 Food Allergy Summit this September 23-25 in Orlando. What has inspired you to participate in FARE’s first in-person Food Allergy Summit since 2019, and what are your hopes for the event?
I feel as though over the past few years, I navigated so many new life experiences with food allergies and I want people to hear me speak and leave inspired and empowered. People with food allergies are some of the most disciplined and resilient people I know, and those are skills that will serve us well in every area of life.
I recently attended FARE's in-person rooftop gathering in Washington, D.C., during Courage at Congress 2022 and loved spending time with FARE advocates on Capitol Hill. Being able to be in a space full of other members of the food allergy community and to be in Orlando, Florida will be so much fun!
- As a member of FARE’s Rising Leaders Committee, you’ve had the opportunity to gather with like-minded people who are working to improve the lives of people with food allergies. What are the social and community-building aspects of Summit 2022 that you’re most looking forward to?
I am really looking to meet the other members of the Committee in person. We frequently connect via virtual settings and platforms, but meeting in person is really exciting! I am also looking forward to exploring food allergy-friendly options with them in Florida and enjoying some delicious Top 9-free food at the Summit. It's not every day that we get to experience dining that is Top 9-free, with all ingredients listed, so I cannot wait!