When she was a kid, Tammy wanted to be a nurse, own a TV network, or be a musician in a rock band. Now she’s a marketing expert, a board member for LA Commons, and has completed more than 300 hours of pro bono service.
Turning experience into service
The first job I ever had was as the nerdy AV girl in college. No one can run a Grass Valley switcher and thread a movie projector with real film like moi. Over 20 years in the for-profit media and entertainment sector in New York and Los Angeles has led me to help companies define brands, raise customer or viewer engagement, and sell-in profit-making services to businesses—all this marketing knowledge has to go somewhere. What better place than helping nonprofits figure out how best to brand themselves and transfer that message across websites, collateral, or social media? I do pro bono because nonprofits deserve the help for their business as much as the people they help deserve theirs.
My first pro bono marketing gig with LA Commons has been first love and a constant in my life. I was petrified before my first meeting with the LA Commons Executive Director and its Board. Worries about if they’d find what the Taproot team had to offer useful kept me awake that night before the meeting. As Account Director, this was a huge responsibility and I felt every bit of it. Once we got started, however, it became such a rich, satisfying experience in working with an all-star team of marketing consultants and in delivering meaningful, effective work to a wonderful organization.
Board, not boring
Many people see Los Angeles as a place of many disparate communities, not connected to one another. An unexpected outcome of my pro bono work is that I became a proud Board of Directors member for LA Commons for the past six years, assisting in determining how to create those cultural connections in Los Angeles. LA Commons’ persistence in forging bonds with residents and visitors of diverse communities has created a network of cultural information not seen before in the city. It never really entered my mind before working with Taproot. Being a “Board Member” at one point sounded sort of stuffy. My opinion radically changed once I saw how that position can help deserving people reap the benefits of the work of a non-profit.
The best advice I ever received was be yourself. You can change jobs, you can change life partners, you can change your shoes, but you can’t change who you truly are. Authenticity is a big key to happiness.