Tammy Edwards is vice president of Community Development and Strategic Engagements and director of the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion for the seven states of the Tenth Federal Reserve District, which include Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Colorado, northern New Mexico and western Missouri. She leads engagement initiatives for strategic stakeholders and directs research and programs that address challenging community and economic development issues that affect underserved individuals and communities.
Currently, Edwards provides strategic leadership for the development and implementation of workforce and inclusion strategies. She also regularly presents on various leadership, community and economic development topics and coedited the 2015 book Transforming U.S. Workforce Development Policies for the 21st Century.
Edwards joined the bank in July 2008 after holding various leadership positions at Sprint Corporation. She earned an undergraduate degree in marketing and a M.B.A. in finance from the University of Missouri – Kansas City.
Rolling out spoke with this female powerhouse to glean some nuggets of wisdom and success. She spoke on her superpowers, her success habits and the importance of women of color being in leadership roles and decision-making capacities.
As a Black woman, what do you consider your superpower to be?
My superpower is transformation. I excel at transforming people, places and processes to maximum levels.
What key skills or qualities make you unique as an African American female leader?
- Authentic developer of others
- Confidence in who I am
- The ability to help others without neglecting myself
- Inclusive personality
- Ability to concentrate on the right things /Priority management
What thoughtful or encouraging piece of advice would you give to your younger self?
- Don’t feel guilty about your successes.
- Playing small won’t help anyone play big.
- You honor God and yourself by owning, living and sharing your blessings.
Why is it important for women of color to lead or work in leadership roles and decision-making capacities?
It’s important for women of color to be in leadership roles because of the diverse skills and perspectives we bring to the table. Organizations that maximize diversity in all forms and embrace inclusion have better outcomes and impact.
If you could thank any Black woman history maker for her contributions to society, who would it be and why?
I’d thank Michelle Obama. In my lifetime, our former first lady demonstrated to the world what many of us see in our communities every day: a Black woman who is well educated, articulate, beautiful, with high integrity and who is committed to her family, friends, community and the causes she cares about. On a daily basis, she conducts herself with grace and charm. During her time in the White House and now, she consistently shows others an opposing view to the negative images of Black women often seen on various media outlets.
Why is it important for seasoned and experienced Black women to reach back and help younger women of color?
Luke 12:48 sums it up for me perfectly: “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” I have a responsibility to lift as I climb. I’m the beneficiary of women and men who invested in me and I must do the same for others.
How do you feel about the hashtag #CollaborationOverCompetition? What qualities or values do you deem indispensable in your business partners or collaborators?
I believe and support the hashtag. More can be accomplished for the good when people work together towards shared goals. Qualities and values such as integrity, service to others, keeping your word, doing your best and respect for others are critical to healthy and productive collaborations.
What are your thoughts on taking risks? Making mistakes?
Taking calculated risks are essential for change and growth. Mistakes are inevitable. When a mistake is made it must be acknowledged and lessons should be learned.
What are three success habits you implement into your daily routine to maintain your success, sanity, peace of mind, etc.?
- Pray and Meditate
- Exercise and Eat Healthy
- Spend time with great people who fuel my mind and spirit
As a successful woman in business, what is your greatest or proudest achievement?
My proudest achievements are my three sons. With tremendous help from my husband and village, we raised three wonderful, kind, smart and productive men. Accomplishing motherhood while working outside the home and being involved in civic and community initiatives wasn’t easy but it was and still is rewarding.
Who is your biggest inspiration? Why?
My mom is my biggest inspiration. From my earliest memories she did it all. She was an involved mom, supportive wife, valuable employee, trusted friend and active in our schools and the community. My mom had the knack for making a way out of no way. Even as her health began to deteriorate because of Parkinson’s, she put the needs of others before her own. She was born a natural caregiver. It is now my pleasure to take care of her.
If you could have any person in the world become your mentor, who would you choose and why?
Mellody Hobson, president of Ariel Investments. I’d like Mellody to be my mentor because she is an accomplished financial services executive who has a passion for education, philanthropy and financial literacy. She’s on several corporate boards and devotes much of her time, talents and treasures to issues that impact underserved populations. She does all that, while being a wife and mother and the most stylish person on the planet.
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