We had the good fortune of connecting with Tamara M. Allen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tamara M., what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
My thought process behind starting my own business was feeling purposed in helping the underrepresented to achieve goals that generationally they would not have been able to. With over 15 years experience in higher education and levering my experience as a Director of Career Services, I pursued a certification in Life Coaching to do just that.
Additionally, I wanted to share with the world, through public speaking, what life has coached me on regarding relationships, religion, trauma, education, career, and business.
So, that’s how the T. Allen Speaks and Allen Life Coaching (under the umbrella of my brand management company Speaking Out! Media, LLC) came into existence.
I loved helping students at the colleges or universities I served under, but I wanted to do more – reach more. By starting my own business, I was able to connect with individuals within my community and across this country. It has also allowed me to become global.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Primarily, I function as a Certified Life & Career Coach. I share this experience through authorship and public speaking. One of my specialties is assisting career transitioners – helping people through the process of creating a resume with transferable skills, interviewing techniques, job search strategies, and more.
My last client went from a $60K annual salary teaching high school to a $95K digital learning position that has opened many opportunities for her and her fiancé in Houston, TX.
Another aspect that sets me apart from others is my specialty within the LGBQT+ community. There are a lot of complexities that come with being a member of this community, so I offer a lot of coaching and programming for this specific niche that may not have grown up in an environment that looks and functions like them. The goal is to promote healthy relationships and mindsets for true goal achievement.
This did not come without its challenges. When starting up my business, I had to heavily network, create events that had no turnout, and really maintain a level of patience. However, I knew that if I stayed the course, continued to build my brand, the people would come. As a business, I was able to get to this point through creative workshops, retreats, and social media interactions. With time, the seats started to fill, people tuned in to my social media lives, and emails requesting my assistance started to roll in.
Publishing two books gave me a platform and content to speak on. June 2022, I have my second children’s cookbook and a Coaching the Coach Life Series relationship handbook releasing to add to my collection.
Also collaborating with organizations like Pass Network (founded and operated by April Jackson) that seeks to empower educators to become entrepreneurs and provides children with educational resources. Doing so has helped to boost what I do as a coach because it connects me to those who need my services. Having allies like this throughout Atlanta makes the process easier to navigate for great clients.
Lessons I’ve learned along the way are to remain patient. Not everything will happen immediately, but remaining focused and staying the course WILL produce results. Most importantly, I learned that I cannot always do it alone. Silos only create isolation when we all have an opportunity to sit at the table and eat.
I want the world to know that I am a first-generation college graduate, oldest of my grandparents grandchildren, the first to receive a college degree. Coming from a lower-socioeconomic background, many tried to count me out. However, my mother has worked at the University of Kentucky for over 35 years. Through her, I was able to attend college for free and pull from her talents to become the woman I am today. No matter what my circumstances were, I was able to overcome them, and so can you.
This is what Speaking Out! Media, LLC – T. Allen Speaks & Allen Life Coaching is all about – building individuals, organizations, and communities up to achieve goals for a better world…one person at a time.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If I were to show my best friend a great time in Atlanta, I would take her to some of my favorite places to eat like Ra Sushi in Midtown, Juicy Crab in Duluth, Pappadeaux in Norcross, Original Pancake House in Alpharetta, Tin Lizzy’s in Dunwoody, JJ’s Fish in Jonesboro, and Ray’s on the River in the heart of downtown Atlanta.
I would then select from some of my favorite spots like the World of Coca-Cola, Georgia Aquarium, the Skyview Atlanta, catch a concert at Lakewood Ampitheater, Main Event, VR Bar, the Breakfast Club, Rosie’s, Tom Dick and Hank…
For the nightlife, my stop would be My Sister’s Room (MSR) on Friday night when Kia Comedy is hosting or Apache XLR for a live band experience. Suite Lounge is also a fun spot when you want to turn up. Lol. However, I don’t go out clubbing a lot, so my list is short.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to shout out some of the great friends and mentors from the University of Kentucky – Chester Grundy and Marietta Watts. The two of them taught me about leadership and diversity.
Three other people who have been extremely influential in my career – Charliese Lewis and Charlene Walker from Kentucky and Tiffany Herd here in Atlanta. These are three women who have shown me what it is to be a STRONG African-American female leader, navigating tough rooms, walking through doors not originally designed for us as women of color.
And finally, I would like to acknowledge my mother Tina Buster and best friend Aretta Combs for the background support I’ve needed to make it through some of the toughest times in my life.
My photos are credited to SharpEye Photography, LLC, Tamarah Brooks – Owner