Amber Whittaker-Smith, Wichita State, serves Tri Delta as financial specialist. In addition to giving back to Tri Delta, Amber—who graduated with a Bachelor of Science in aerospace engineering—works for Textron Aviation where she designs propellers for piston and turboprop aircraft.
“During my time in college, I had a couple of leadership roles within the chapter, including vice president of finance,” Amber says. “I learned that I was capable of so much more than I initially thought and Tri Delta provided me with the skills, confidence, and networking opportunities that helped me get the job I have today and to grow and be successful within my role.”
Here is what Amber had to share about her Tri Delta volunteer experience:
What made you want to volunteer with Tri Delta?
My good friend, Maid of Honor and co-worker/fellow Tri Delta volunteer Misti Burch. Misti was my chapter’s finance and administration advisor (FAA) when I was a collegian. Misti has been an amazing role model in my life. Working with her while I was the VPF for my chapter taught me several valuable skills that I have used to be successful at work and in other volunteer roles. Misti encouraged me to hold an office with the local alumnae chapter, which I did, and shortly after she challenged me with taking on serving as a financial specialist. At the time, Executive Office typically wanted members to be out of college longer than I had before serving as a financial specialist, but Tri Delta was in need of financial specialists. Again, Tri Delta presented me with the chance to rise to the challenge, and I am so glad they did. I have learned so much and it is so rewarding to advise the collegiate women I work with, to see the decisions they make, and to watch them develop into young leaders.
Of course, the other and maybe more obvious reason is to give back. Too often I hear members say, “What do I get out of my membership in Tri Delta?” and I am always surprised. Tri Delta offers so much to its members through professional and social development, but I think what stands out the most to me are the values that Tri Delta represents and that we all, as Tri Deltas, have common ground on. Beautiful values that give us purpose to live our life by every day: truth, self-sacrifice and friendship.
What has been your favorite experience as a volunteer?
It’s hard to pick just one, but one of my favorite experiences would be when I traveled to Knox College. As their financial specialist, I was asked to travel to Galesburg, Illinois, and to work with the chapter to address their housing and financial questions. It was such a cool experience to visit a university I had never been to before, finally meet face-to-face with the members I work with remotely, and to address the chapter’s needs knowing that when I left they felt more confident about their chapter’s finances.
What skills has your volunteer role helped you develop?
My leadership and volunteer roles have helped me develop so many skills that I use in my personal and professional life every day. Skills such as communication (how to write and read an email), organization and reliability. From advising the collegiate members, I have developed critical listening skills, patience, and an understanding of the difference between telling and advising. Working with the chapters to establish and maintain a budget has taught me new skills and tricks to use in my own life and when managing my personal finances. Serving in my volunteer roles has taught me how to better work as a team and how to properly leverage the members within your region to complete a task most efficiently. In addition to the many skills I have developed from “on the job training,” there are also the numerous keynote speakers, workshops, webinars and many other resources Tri Delta has invested in its volunteers to show us how much we are appreciated that has allowed me to grow into the confident professional woman I am today.