We had the good fortune of connecting with Tameka L. Williamson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tameka, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
As long as I can remember, owning my own business has always been a dream. It was initially my own engineering firm because I wanted to solve large-scale problems and transcend the norm as an African American woman operating across the African diaspora. Of course, it evolved over the years, but the common thread was being a solution and making a difference. Little did I know, my business would do that and so much more. After enduring the economic downturn in 2009, I was challenged with examining my value-added skills and seeing how to parlay them into offerings that would benefit others. In doing so, I tapped into my network for creative opportunities to explore ways to reinvent myself during a time where job opportunities were limited. Because I was faced with two layoffs within 3 years during that time, I had to engineer my own opportunities. So, when the 2012 layoff came unexpectedly, it was literally me being pushed out of a plane and I had to learn to build my wings on the way down to keep from crashing. That push led to me working my consulting and coaching business full-time, with little distractions. As a result of my faith and strong relationship currency, opportunities began to unfold. Now, it didn’t happen overnight, but I kept working the process and diversifying my revenue streams. Ultimately, I was allowed to solve problems, just in a different fashion. God positioned me to use my training and gifts to solve problems for people at all levels: corporations, families, non-profits, and individuals via my corporate training, consulting, executive coaching and college coaching service offerings.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Not many people can say they get to live their purpose and life out loud and have fun doing it. I can, regardless of the role I play. When people ask what I do, I often laugh and say it depends because I wear many hats. At the end of the day, all roles boil down to me developing either people or businesses. My role rotates from Adjunct Professor, Consultant, Executive Coach, Corporate Trainer and College Coach and there may be times where all roles play out in one day. So maybe, I should add magician, LOL. But the thing that makes me unique is how my background in management and engineering has shaped my thinking and approach to systematically solving problems with a sustainability focus. It’s not just about the here and now, but 10 years from now, the impact, potential risk and ability to withstand the peaks and valley life will present. Having this mindset is part of what allowed me to take risk and publish books and launch a business during a recession, while being unemployed. The lessons I learned along the way enables me to provide insight to my clients that’s authentic, tried and true. It was definitely not easy, but worth it. Here’s an example of my ‘Why’ and what keeps me going…..Emails of ‘Thanks’ from parents and/or scholars and their referrals to other families because they are one of the families who garnered over $40 Million in scholarships and/or their child was able to attend college with little to zero student loans. Helping students graduate from college without debt is a game-changer and we need more of these outcomes. Living a life of significance is what drives my business, community engagement and philanthropic efforts.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I may be the worst person to ask this question. For so many years, the airplane was my vehicle, as I traveled the world facilitating training classes. So, relaxing at home and doing nothing was my thing. But when I think about some of the areas I’m familiar with in Atlanta, we would probably go to the Ponce Market area to eat, shop and attend a show at City Winery. Then, we would factor in some of my favorite eating spots like Poor Calvins, Stoney River Steakhouse and Twisted Soul Cookhouse. From there, do something that’s been on my todo list for a while, enjoy a wine tasting event at Chateau Elan, stay the night so we can drink all we want and then have spa treatments the next day. These are the activities that come to mind.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Man, this is a challenging question because there’s no one person I can attribute my success too. The answer to every problem is always a person or persons. God blessed me with a tribe of people who helped connect me formalize my vision and bring it too life. These individuals served as a mentor, coach, accountability partner and/or connector to opportunities that furthered my business. The top individuals who come to mind are Luis Castro, Dr. Taunya Lowe, Michelle Sourie Robinson, Jai Stone, Dr. Felicia Phillips, Shanterria Early, Jack A. Daniels, Dr. Theresa Price and Tracey Mosley. No man can claim success alone, there’s always a team of individuals to help them get there. It would be a huge miss on my part to not acknowledge those instrumental in helping me get to where I am today.
Other: www.crushcollegedebt.com www.collegeforfree.info
The photo of Tameka Williamson by Kim’s Photography