CIRI Spotlight: Tammy Ashley

Helping young people fulfill their potential is a top priority for CIRI shareholder Tammy Ashley. When she is not busy working full-time as a public relations specialist at Southcentral Foundation, Tammy’s work with young people ranges from mentoring preteen and teenage girls through her involvement with the Girl Scouts to co-organizing Alaska First Aid And Safety Training (AK FAAST), a program aimed at encouraging teens to consider careers as first responders.

Born and raised in Anchorage, Tammy has lived in the same Sand Lake neighborhood her entire life. Tammy’s mother, Delores (Ashenfelter) Tuttle, is from White Mountain and Unga Island in the Shumigan Islands on Alaska’s Aleutian Chain, and her father Terry Tuttle, is an American Indian from Yakima, Wash.

In addition to her career at SCF and her volunteer interests, Tammy is working toward a bachelor’s degree in human services from Alaska Pacific University. Tammy’s ultimate career goal is to increase her involvement in working with youth.

“I want to make sure that every kid has opportunities to achieve success and knows that someone is there for them and has confidence in them,” said Tammy. Meanwhile, she keeps her schedule jam-packed by juggling her responsibilities as an Alaska Native Professional Association board member, college student, full-time public relations employee, Girl Scout leader, AK FAAST co-organizer and CIRI Shareholder Participation Committee member. Each year, Tammy donates fish she caught to feed shareholders at CIRI potlatches.

Tammy recently traveled to New York City to accept a coveted Silver Anvil award from the Public Relations Society of America. Tammy’s co-workers call her a “tolerant mentor.” As one of her job responsibilities in the public relations department at SCF, Tammy is heavily involved in the RAISE program, which provides opportunities for Alaska Native and Native American youth to receive on-the-job training in a professional environment that respects and honors Alaska Native cultural values. She is also involved in the SCF Elder Program, which delivers services that enhance the quality of life for Alaska Native elders living in the Anchorage area.

“I like taking care of both the elders and the youth, the youth are going to be taking care of us when we are elders,” said Tammy. For the past 14 years, Tammy has volunteered as a Girl Scout leader. She is currently a co-leader of a group of third and fourth graders, and a leader of seventh and eighth graders. In 1996, Tammy’s daughter Tiare came home from kindergarten one day and announced that she wanted to join the Girl Scouts. To support her daughter’s interest, Tammy remembers thinking that “if she was going to be in Girl Scouts, I would do it with her.”

Tammy, who keeps her emergency trauma technician certification current, says that her involvement with AK FAAST “is rooted in my interest in giving youth an opportunity to look at career options in healthcare, survival and safety” through an interactive camp held each summer in mid-July. Of the twelve participants in this year’s camp, seven happened to be Alaska Native, and five were CIRI descendants. AK FAAST partners with the Alaska State Troopers, Anchorage Fire Department, SCF and the Kenaitze Indian Tribe. Outside of work, Tammy enjoys spending time with her family, genealogy, reading, and camping with her Girl Scouts troops.