At GiftTree we strive to make each interaction with our customers a positive, friendly experience. One of the key people who helps make that happen is Ashley Beebe, our Director of Call Center Operations. We sat down with Ashley recently to gain some insight into what moves her to be such a valuable leader within the GiftTree Business Team and in the company as a whole.
Tell us a little bit about where you grew up.
I was born in the heart of the PNW- Portland, OR! My parents had always dreamed of relocating to the country and owning a large piece of property, so that’s what we did. By the age of 6, I was living in the small town of Washougal, WA with 16 horses, 2 dogs and 4 cats. I spent most of my afternoons picking apples off our tree and feeding them to the horses and exploring the creek that ran through the back of our property. It was quite the shock when I moved to Portland to attend college in an urban setting. I never realized how many street lights there are on city streets!
Where do your greatest passions lie?
I have always felt a deep emotional connection with animals, and not just domestic pets. I loved watching Jack Hannah’s Animal Adventures on TV and learning all the facts I could. Did you know the Tasmanian Wombat can run up to 25 mph?
In high school, I turned the love of animals into a working passion by volunteering locally with animal rescue groups and working with the Boys and Girls club to educate kids on responsible pet ownership. Today, I volunteer with two rescue organizations in the Vancouver, WA area and am a “failed foster” to two of my own rescue dogs. My next focus for the future will be legislative reform for breed specific laws and lobbying for harsher sentencing guidelines for animal abuse.
Where would we most likely find you on the weekends?
On the weekends, my husband and I love to explore new hiking trails with our pups, even in the rain. After a morning hike, we check out the craft beer and cocktail scene in Portland. As a home brewer, my husband is fascinated by new brewing styles of hard cider and beer, and having the chance to speak with small business owners about their craft is a lot of fun! We also live fairly close to Oregon’s wine country, the Willamette Valley, which is home to beautiful vineyards and lush greenery. A trip out there is something we do almost monthly.
Most of my Sunday nights are spent at the West Columbia Gorge Humane Society medicating and entertaining the cats available for adoption.
What brought you to the position of Director of Call Center Operations at GiftTree? Tell us a little about your adventures!
Well, after graduating from college, there’s only a six month grace period before you have to start repaying all of those student loans. I heard of this local gift company hiring for a call center representative and voila! What was supposed to be a temporary stop on my career path turned into my greatest opportunity. I was valued as an employee and given many opportunities to advance and apply my degree. I stay at GiftTree because of the camaraderie among the different teams, its customer focus and open-mindedness to new ideas. Also, there are LOTS of dogs here!
What inspires you most about working at GiftTree?
We’re all family. Everyone’s ideas and opinions are respected and can be discussed in a supportive environment. It doesn’t matter if you’re a department head or a seasonal employee; all ideas are valued and discussed. Teamwork is always top of mind with everyone! But my absolute favorite thing about working at GiftTree is how encouraging the leadership team is about promoting from within. Several of our managers and department leads started in entry-level positions, including myself, and were given opportunities to learn new skills. Those are hard opportunities to come by these days in the job market and that amount of faith in the entire workforce truly inspires me. Oh, did I mention there were a lot of dogs?
What are some of your favorite gifts offered by GiftTree?
I’m a huge wine lover, so all of my favorite GiftTree gifts include it.
My absolute favorite gift is the Luxe Champagne and Chocolates gift. The little compartments of truffles below a beautiful bottle of Champagne boast sophistication. I’d be honored to receive this gift and it’s my go-to gift for my wine and chocolate friends!
My second favorite is a new gift for us, but also a wine gift. I love to add personalization to my gifts. I’m not a generic gift-card giver. When I saw the design for the Black Tie Duo I fell in LOVE. The elegant pattern paired with the gold personalized plaque ensures this gift will stick around and be used each Holiday season. Also, the wines are delicious. You have to try the Bridlemile Pinot Noir from Dundee!
What was the best gift you’ve ever given?
That’s a tough one! I think the gift that inspired the most emotional reaction was the antique mirror compacts I gave my bridesmaids at my wedding. The compacts were each different and found at a different location and I had an individual quote inscribed on each one. My best friend still uses hers to this day and intends on passing it on to her daughter on her wedding day as a “something borrowed.”
And finally, what was the best gift you’ve ever received?
When I was about 7 years old, my great grandmother took me for a walk in her neighborhood one summer day. We passed by the local skate park and this man had this 5-foot tall plush Mushu dragon from the Disney Movie, Mulan. I was FASCINATED by it. I loved animals and after all, I had JUST seen the movie. I walked up to the man and asked if I could see it. I think I spent almost 20 minutes with that giant dragon before my grandma had to drag me away. I was walking away, heartbroken, when all of a sudden the man came running down the sidewalk to give ME Mushu! I still have him to this day. I’m always amazed at the kindness of strangers.