Growing up, Ashley Westerberg Salzwedel, Washington State, was surrounded by the legacy of her parents’ experiences at Oregon State University and her mother’s experience as a member of Pi Beta Phi. Her childhood was filled with stories of how they met as a football player and a cheerleader and the importance of school spirit and Greek life. This propelled her to consider Greek life while attending Washington State University, knowing that joining a Greek organization would provide an instant sense of community and a platform to continue her leadership journey.
“Joining Tri Delta was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. The organization and its members always saw the potential in me before I even saw it in myself. Still does! They chose me and so I was determined to make an impact. As an active member, being part of the leadership team, serving as president, risk manager and new member educator, my experiences in my collegiate chapter helped shape my years in college and lead me towards my career goals.”
Currently Ashley serves as Tri Delta’s collegiate chapter coordinator (CCCo) for Region 9. As a CCCo, Ashley is a supports the collegiate volunteers throughout the Northwest U.S. She monitors chapter progress, supports chapters in need of change and works with their volunteers to improve communication and provide training. Prior to being the Region 9 CCCo, Ashley has held many volunteer positions in Tri Delta including recruitment specialist in the Southeast, recruitment specialist for the emerging chapter team, collegiate chapter coordinator for Region 4 and alumnae chapter president for the Atlanta Alumnae Chapter.
She lives in Spokane, Washington, with her husband of 17 years and her two school-aged children.
What made you decide to volunteer for Tri Delta?
After taking a 10-year break to raise her two kids, Ashley realized she missed being involved in leadership and being part of the Tri Delta community. She decided to reconnect with something she loved and make it even more fulfilling in this new phase of life—and after a cross-country move. She took the skills and knowledge gained from her personal life and merged them with her Tri Delta experience.
“I am now leading a team and encouraging volunteers and collegiate leaders to see the goodness in themselves and others. I am using everything I’ve gained from my engagement and involvement in Tri Delta to speak goodness into people. It’s such a great feeling to watch Tri Delta volunteers and collegiate leaders in action—reminding them that they have everything they need to be a phenomenal leader within their own communities and thanking them for the work they are doing within the chapters they serve. It is so fulfilling to know I am making a positive impact within the organization through mentoring and modeling what a gift lifetime membership is in Tri Delta.”
What do you get most out of volunteering?
Ashley says that being involved in Tri Delta enriches both the professional and personal aspects of her life. On the professional side, the many growth and development opportunities Tri Delta provides members have added to her success. On the personal side, volunteering has blessed her with incredible relationships and connections with women who share Tri Delta’s values.
“The opportunities provided by Tri Delta are not just for women with specific jobs or experiences; they are for every woman. Giving back to Tri Delta with my time, talents and treasures is my thank-you for everything Tri Delta has given me.”
What is your most memorable experience as a volunteer?
“Some of the most impactful experiences to me were helping collegiate leaders and volunteers navigate challenging conduct situations and tragic events, such as the shooting that impacted Florida State University in 2018. I mentored and encouraged them so they knew they were more than capable of leading their peers through difficult situations. Through these experiences, I have been able to stay connected to women I have worked with and get to speak into their life long after college is done. For example, through the one challenge, I formed a bond with the collegiate chapter president and am still her biggest cheerleader to this day.
“Another way Tri Delta has influenced my life outside of college is my love for philanthropy—specifically giving to childhood cancer charities. When my husband and I started our real estate business we knew we wanted there to be a large philanthropic component to the business so we established a partnership with a local childhood cancer organization where we give a portion of every house we help someone buy or sell to American Childhood Cancer Organization of the Inland Northwest (ACCOIN) to help local families fight childhood cancer. It is all thanks to Tri Delta and the passion for philanthropy they instilled in me.”
What advice do you have for other Tri Deltas who are thinking about volunteering?
“Through volunteerism in Tri Delta, I have made connections with incredible women all over the country in totally different phases of life. One example being Karen Doran. I would not be the coordinator or person I am today without Karen Doran, national collegiate volunteer coordinator (NCVC). Karen has been my ‘boss’ and my mentor for the past 6 years, and I have the utmost love and loyalty for her. She has done so much for me and, for that, I will never be able to repay.
“Karen is proof of the impact that volunteerism can have on someone’s life. She has given so much of herself to Tri Delta and to the volunteers she serves, and her example is something I will carry for the rest of my life.”
Another great piece of advice Ashley shared is, “You never know what’s on the other side of a ‘yes’ when it comes to Tri Delta. You don’t know what impact saying yes to even a small role can make within the organization, someone else or even yourself unless you try. For me, it has been life changing and I can’t imagine not being involved with Tri Delta in some way, after the last 9 years of experiences and knowledge I’ve gained.”
Your time as CCCo is coming to an end. What’s next for you?
Ashley has served the maximum of three 2-year terms as CCCo. As she prepares to leave this role, says she is not even close to being done volunteering!
“If you’re looking for someone who wants to give back and be involved, I’m your girl. I want to put my gifts and talents to use in a way that’s a mutual fit for both me and Tri Delta. It is a joy for me to raise my hand and step up. I believe in the organization and the impact it can have on generations of women, and I pinch myself I get to be a part of that for the rest of my life!”