Meet Ashley Gangloff
by Phillippe Diederich
Many of you have seen the name, Ashley Gangloff, on USMS publications and correspondence. You may even recognize the last name as that of a certain Olympic breaststroker. We thought you might want to know a little bit more about someone who has been an integral part of many exciting transitions that have occurred within U.S. Masters Swimming during the past year and a half.
When Gangloff accepted a job offer in late 2008 from newly hired Executive Director Rob Butcher, she knew it would be a unique experience. Since its inception in 1970, U.S. Masters Swimming had always been a volunteer driven group. Volunteer passion and a dedication to the sport allowed the organization to flourish. But with membership growing to nearly 50,000 members, the need for more full-time, professional staff to support the behemoth volunteer effort became evident, and it was up to Butcher and Gangloff to start putting it all together under one roof.
“That first day we worked in an empty office. There was nothing. We just sat on the floor and talked of goals and direction,” Gangloff recalls of that small, two-room office they rented in Charlotte, South Carolina.
Slowly, they put it all together like a puzzle. “The position was vague. It was administration stuff, marketing coordinator, editorial work, no two days were the same,” Gangloff says.
Gangloff was no stranger to swimming. She had been on the diving team at Auburn University in Alabama, and had just ended her professional diving career. Both U.S. Masters Swimming and USA Diving exist under the umbrella of United States Aquatic Sports. “They are very close in organizational structure so it was an easy transition. People in both organizations are very involved,” Gangloff says and is quick to point out that, at the meets, “The Masters swimmers seemed to have more fun than anyone else.”
In 2007 Gangloff married her college sweetheart, two time swimming Olympic medley relay gold medalist, Mark Gangloff, before moving to Charlotte where he would be training under a new coach. A few months after working with U.S. Masters Swimming, Gangloff officially joined the organization. She participated in her first meet at the short course nationals in Clovis, Calif. in 2009.
Much of the work at the new office was communications and marketing, but Gangloff did a lot more than that. She started projects like the e-newsletter, which debuted in the first week of 2009, and added a permanent features section to the front page of the website. “I wanted to raise the bar of expectations for our members,” Gangloff said. She explains the organization already had some great ideas, but it’s difficult when you have volunteers scattered around the country trying to implement new concepts. “I was helping to evolve something. The staff and volunteers made it easier and more exciting to start these new projects,” she says.
When Sarasota, Fla. won the bid to house the first national headquarters for U.S Masters Swimming, Gangloff and her husband decided to move back to their alma mater, Auburn University, so he could train for the 2012 Olympics and she could pursue a PhD in management.
More major life-changes were soon to follow for the Gangloffs: on November 28th 2009, Gangloff gave birth to a nine-pound baby girl: Annabelle Scout. Yet despite being a new mother and graduate student, Gangloff continues to work for USMS part time. “It’s a fantastic organization. I didn’t want to give it up,” she says.
Gangloff currently works directly under USMS Editor-in-Chief Laura Hamel, gathering and organizing content for the e-newsletters, and, as Gangloff puts it, “Anything else she needs me for.” Although Gangloff is no longer working full-time for USMS, the contributions she has made and continues to make are truly appreciated.
“Ashley is amazing; her sunny personality, can-do attitude and impressive skill set have had a lasting impression on many of our members and all of our staff,” shares Hamel. “We are very fortunate in that she has decided to stay on with us part time; her assistance is invaluable.”