Marketing executive Tara Coyt on being a woman of excellence

tara y coyt

When she was 10 years old, Tara Y. Coyt, president of Coyt Communications/Stash 24 Multimedia, dreamed that she’d be the first black woman to own a television network and production company, and host a talk and entertainment show. That was in the 1970s, long before BET, TV One, Oprah or OWN. Fellow Chicagoan Oprah Winfrey beat her to the punch, but that hasn’t stopped Coyt.

Read what she has to say about following her dreams and her advice on how you can make a difference in your community.

How did you determine your career path?
But instead of following that path [owning a television network], I listened to the adults in my world who were much more excited about my potential career as a medical doctor. After earning a biology and chemistry degree, I tried to find an MBA program in television management, and settled on an MBA in marketing. After graduating, I was selected as a Walter Kaitz Foundation Fellow and went to work for the largest cable operator in the country at the time. When the company downsized, I moved into advertising and managed accounts for Sears, Sony, Kodak and McDonald’s. That world really made me long for the creative side.

When I moved to Atlanta from Chicago, I became an entrepreneur and spent more time creating marketing programs, writing promotional copy and books. In that time, I’ve received a business achievement award from The Atlanta Business League and was recently a part of the Atlanta Daily World’s “Women of Excellence.”

Today, I develop marketing programs, TV concepts, and write books and screenplays.

Name your favorite role models for success in two industries.
Television: Shonda Rhimes
Technology and philanthropy: Bill Gates

Names three books that changed how you saw life and that you would recommend to others.
The Prophet by Khalil Gibran, Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch, and The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison.

These three books are extremely different, but they all address how we see ourselves as individuals, in relationship with other people and in relationship with God.

What does community mean to you? How does it influence your measure of success?
We are all members of multiple communities, which only becomes significant when you’re an active participant instead of a passive one.

… If you want to claim a community you have to share its values and workload.

Where do you enjoy vacationing? 
I like exploring new places, preferably where the weather is warm and the culture and history are rich and colorful.

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