MY DAUGHTER TAMARA
Who is the person behind the scenes? It is always said that a parent’s pride is one which masks the negatives and brings forth only the positives in their children. Yet, what if the child is everything that they perceive and more?
From the day she was born, my daughter showed maturity and logic beyond her years. Many children are brilliant and she definitely brought forward a new meaning to the word. Not only could she recite the alphabet and read by the time she was two and one-half years old, but she could carry intellectual conversations with those adults around her. She loved to act, sing, dance and entertain at an early age with her first acting performance in a kindergarten school play. Where the other children were fearful of the audience they faced, that was not the case with Tamara. Instead she projected her voice in total earnest and without fear, reciting her parts as if it was a natural part of her.
Even as a Brownie Girl Scout, she was inspired by her parents, to sell cookies by going door to door. Although one or both of her parents accompanied her, she made her own sales pitches, and upon organizing the cookie orders for delivery, provided each client with a “Thank you” note. She made record sales and she had only her own efforts in which to attain pride.
At the age of ten, she assisted me at my insurance office for special events and acted as a receptionist for the agency’s open houses. She commanded the same respect as if she were an adult, using correct business introductions and taking charge into those areas which most adults would not be as comfortable.
She showed no fear and always has been decisive so that she could forge on to accomplish whatever was necessary, including becoming her mother’s right hand in the pre-parade show of the Minneapolis Aquatennial. The fact that she was young did not prohibit her from making certain that the performers were on the field in a timely manner to assure the pre-parade show was a success.
She could always sense what needed to be done and has had the ability to frequently assign roles to those around her who she felt could handle the situation on her behalf. She has had a natural tendency to lead and direct with the charm and finesse of a world leader with political correctness. She requires very little encouragement to execute or make a plan and always feels compelled to carry them out to fruition.
Quick to learn any given subject matter, she gained fundamental insurance criteria from her mother’s profession, sufficient enough to assist another family member in studying for a licensing exam at the age of thirteen.
Having excelled at German as a second language, she made her way to Essen, Germany in a foreign exchange program through Tartan High School, at the age of sixteen. She visited the many sights of Germany from the Koln Cathedral, to Wurzburg, Rothenburg, Wandern, Dinkelsbuhl, Memingen ,Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau,. She also visited the Alpspitz region. She traveled the Autobahn while in route to the Guttler family’ home in the Mosel wine region and used the rail system as well as staying at youth hostels with her group. It was a time when the Berlin Wall had not yet been torn down and she photographed, first hand, the military guards whose rifles were pointed at anyone who dared cross the fence lines. This trip set precedence for Tamara’s entrance into Knox College to study International Relations (German). She joined the Tri Delta sorority, Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity and earned a swim team scholarship and also played water polo.
Tamara shadowed her parent’s aspirations by her involvement as chairperson and coordinator in the Minneapolis Aquatennial. a civic celebration for the City of Minneapolis which brings to its spectators one of the ten largest parades in the nation She followed her father’s and step-mother’s footsteps by first becoming a Vice Commodore for the Minneapolis Aquatennial in 2001. Then in 2002 Tamara served as one of the two captains for the Aquatennial. As a captain she served as an ambassador throughout the state of Minnesota and the region, as well as attending festivals in other States and in Canada. She was also responsible for escorting the Princesses and in the absence of the Commodore, the Queen of the Lakes. Each Captain is chosen by a nomination committee based upon their overall performance and leadership abilities.
One of the princess commented “the best way to describe you (Tamara) is not only as a captain and leader, but as a big sister: The Commodore stated “Captain Tamara. You have done a sensational job this year! Thanks for keeping us pointed in the right direction.”
As an ambassador of the Minneapolis Aquatennial, she attended the Cherry Blossom festival in Macon GA, where its executives were so impressed with her background that they hired her as their event coordinator to manage all events including but not limited to the Balloon Fest and Air show, Parades, Children Events, the International Food Fair, the Health Fair, the Marathon and 5K races. She was responsible for all aspects of event planning, permitting, logistics, food and beverage licensing and management, volunteer management, crowd control, public safety and budgeting. She also served as a primary event contact and liaison between the various city departments, military installations and the country, state and federal agencies. She also generated external communications and collateral event applications, volunteer training presentations, assisted with website development and was the copy editor for the Festival publications as well as compiling year-end cost benefit analysis.
Tamara secured Festival sponsorships of over $120,000 annually, by developing award wining sponsor presentations and proposals.
Although she has repeatedly told me that she does not enjoy being a salesperson, her abilities may be expressed as salesmanship, a spokesman with the ability to articulate based upon sheer insight, to utilize the ease of emulation when necessary, as well as a natural propensity to determine the correct action. That in combination with her ability to design innovative projects and proposals makes it very difficult for the customer or client to decline.
I recall shortly after she accepted a position with Macon GA’s International Cherry Blossom Festival, she had contacted me regarding her presentation to an unnamed sponsor. She was concerned about losing the major sponsorship because of a lack of performance in the year prior to her being hired. She provided me insight into the proposal she had provided the client as well as a play by play of her presentation. I remembered saying “Congratulations! You have given a $10,000 presentation”. She of course, told me that she was hoping she would successfully receive $5,000 in spite of non-verbalization by the client at the conclusion of her presentation. She wrote off my compliment as being that of a proud mother, which I reflect. Within a week, the sponsor, after contacting his home office, promised the festival $10,000 in return for its proposed program.
It certainly helped her cause that she had at one time worked with an advertising agency handling everything from media buying, production management and ad placement for print media by television and radio for clients with advertising budgets in excess of $250,000. Not only did she execute special events including program launches and annual meetings but she prepared press kits, distributed materials to the media and conducted follow-up calls for the ad placement.
Tamara has the ability to remain resolute in conflict, always wearing a smile while solving one dilemma after another. Quick to assess any situation, she excelled in her marketing and event strategies for a large national corporation, Ecolab, Inc. where she provided business trend and product analysis support, the calculation of promotional costs, evaluation of promotional effectiveness and cost comparisons.
She was responsible for contract program management, the set-up of new accounts, maintenance and tracking of contract data, the resolution of billing, credit and order issues, qualified business leads and analysis of profitability of existing business as well as assisting within field sales. Her performance was so proficient that it necessitated the hiring of more than one individual to fulfill her position when she resigned to join the staff of the Cherry Blossom Festival in Georgia.
Not only has she excelled in sales, management and quality control positions from retail to industrial companies, she once accepted a part-time position at a well known casino, where she served in hospitality for its high rollers, a position not for the weak hearted or incompetent.
Today you will find her at the Ocala/Marion County Chamber of Commerce as its Vice President of Business Development and Public Policy. She oversees the implementation of a comprehensive economic development program working with the Chamber staff and local partner organizations to support develop and implement the initiatives needed to grow and sustain local business, stimulating job creation and retention. She is instrumental in the development of wide-ranging public policy strategies to enhance advocacy for Chamber members by direct business expansion and retention programs to preserve the community’s existing business base, to promote business expansion and connect businesses with resources.
She was also responsible for the revision and overall management of The Chamber’s communications plan, development of Chamber publications and policies, ensuring that members receive timely, relevant communications on key issues impacting the business community. Tamara has managed Chamber brand, image and advocacy efforts, assisting the Chamber board and staff in the development and implementation of effective public relations and communications.
She has provided leadership and professional expertise in the direction of its planning of high quality Chamber special events such as the Annual Meeting and Dinner, Business Expos, Stars Over Ocala Awards and the Chamber Golf Classic to name a few. She has developed complete operations planning for events, budget, timeline logistics, volunteer activities, staff roles, marketing and sponsorship.
In her time-line with the Chamber she has planned and executed a comprehensive government relations program including the budget process, logistical details, marketing database building and collaborative relationship building. She has coordinated candidate and legislative events, the Ocala/Marion County Day at the Capitol, the Legislative Delegation Hearing Lunch, Candidates Forum and Hobnob, Legislative Briefing and Awards. She has also managed tourism initiatives and applied for and managed grants.
Her involvements in the community are many, including, but not limited to the American Red Cross of Mid-Florida Region Council, the Marion County Springs Festival, the Black Bear National Scenic Byway Corridor Management Entity, Emerging Leaders Ocala, and has attended her first year of U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute of Organization Management. She is also completing her education through Rasmussen College.
In summary Tamara is the essence of one who loves everyone, trusts a few and paddles her own canoe. Tamara is the one who has the ability to plan and organize, expecting much more from herself than she expects from others. She doesn’t “hope for” but expects success. She thinks big and in terms of seeing the complete picture. She relies on her own decision making skills and inspires others with the overview that leads to success. She enjoys the kind of success born from a just discriminating drive to preserve and is completely self reliant, while always showing self-control and helping others achieve their goals.
She is constantly on the move, with the essence of a shaker-mover personified. She completes most projects from start to finish with the gusto and determination only those close to her may understand. Her interests are many and she has a natural curiosity with the drive to succeed. You will find her at the center of any business community on every committee and in charge of or being instrumental in facilitating great successful organizations. She has received numerous awards including awards with the Georgia Jaycees, not anticipated to be given to a first year member. Watching my daughter resolving challenges, one after another, is an inspiration for even a mother to behold. And yet, she makes the time to assist her family members and has become a trusted mentor to more than one who requires her assistance.
It is my pleasure to be introduced as “Tamara’s mother” or just “Mom”. When many have approached me singing her accolades as to how terrific she is or what a dedicated hard worker she is, I can only respond by smiling and saying “I know. With her background and temperament, I would expect nothing less of her.” No, I am not arrogant nor expressing only those sentiments of a proud mother. I have had the pleasure to follow her path early on and everything said is based upon facts and observations. She is not only my daughter but my friend and mentor.