30 In Their Thirties: Ashley Bulat, Executive Director, Fox Run, Novi

Ashley Bulat, executive director of the Fox Run senior living complex in Novi, knew she wanted to be a businesswoman at a very young age.
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Ashley Bulat // Photo by Trever Long

Ashley Bulat, executive director of the Fox Run senior living complex in Novi, knew she wanted to be a businesswoman at a very young age.

“I have a picture of myself at 3 years old wearing a suit,” Bulat says. “I always wanted to carry a briefcase around. I was kind of an entrepreneur in elementary school, making and selling things on the playground.”

At the age of 16, as a young high school senior, Bulat would get out of school early to work full time leasing apartments. But it wasn’t until she was in her late teens, while in college, that she got an opportunity to work with senior citizens.

“I absolutely fell in love with helping people take that next step in their life,” she says. “These (were) people making decisions about senior living, assisted living, memory care. It was an area where I could take my love and passion for business and match that with something purposeful (and) rewarding, and giving back.”

Her passion for working with seniors led her to pursue an MBA with a health care focus.

While she was at Oakland University, she worked at Singh Management in West Bloomfield Township. Then she became executive director and director of operations at Ashford Martin Corp. in Madison, Wis. After that, she took a similar position with United Methodist Retirement Communities in Chelsea.

She joined Fox Run — first as associate executive director, and then as vice president and executive director — after earning her master’s degree.

Fox Run is one of 20 continuing care retirement communities developed and managed by Maryland-based Erickson Living. Its 108-acre campus in Novi is home to more than 1,300 residents and around 800 employees.

“I think there’s a misconception out there about what retirement living looks like,” Bulat says. “I enjoy Fox Run because it’s a very active and engaging community. These aren’t your typical grandpas and grandmas. These are educated, cultured, well-traveled people. Some are former CEOs. We have so many clubs and activities. They want to give back and mentor.”

Bulat says her emphasis is on the future of Fox Run.

“I’m focused on the strategic plan for the future of Fox Run and leadership development, coaching, and developing our talent. We’re looking at how to attract talent and introduce them to this industry, and how (to) retain them and inspire them. This is special work.”