Today we’d like to introduce you to Tamara Edwards.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Tamara. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
In October of 2017, I decided to hang up my heels after five years in Washington, D.C., and come back to sweet home Chicago.
For no particular reason.
I’m sure we’ve all been there —nothing was “wrong,” but it wasn’t totally right either. My career was in a great place. It was everything I had ever dreamed up. Communications. Logistics. Raises. Awards. Endless fun. Endless opportunity. I had the most amazing group of friends and supporters around me. My work-friends became my closest mentors and my after-work friends never wavered from the mantra of “women supporting women.” I loved my apartment, an over-priced little studio flat on Capitol Hill. It was truly home. I was home.
Yet, Chicago was where my heart was. My entire family was there. My lifelong friends were there. And, I found myself fantasizing about ways I break away from the public sector and into the private sector; primarily, into mainstream PR.
In October 2017, I joined a small Chicago-based startup company that I would part ways with after only six months. While there, I witnessed quite a few leadership and business choices that challenged my integrity and would have long-term damage to my career had I stayed. It also became the place where I realized I was the only person who would handle my career and my name with the level of care it needed. It became the impetus for me to start my own business.
We’ll get more into “Tamara Edwards & Co.” later in this interview, but I plan to scale this thing slowly and always work with integrity. The long-term goal is to end up in business development, ideally somewhere in the VC or angel-investment space.
Has it been a smooth road?
Since leaving my post in Congress, I sort of imagined this sailboat-like leisure into my new life and career here in Chicago. The opposite happened. The. Exact. Opposite.
To be honest, I’ve been getting my ass handed to me this year — and, I’ve loved every second of it.
The major shift in my perspective was the moment when I realized that I didn’t have to be the girl who does everything or shows up everywhere to truly add value. My Dad calls it ‘Girl Friday’ —the coffee runner, the one who you give your lunch order to, and let know when your staples are running low. The one who stays late and arrives early. I was ‘her’ for a long time. We all know this as “paying our dues.”
To be fair, I straddled roles that fit this job description, so it wasn’t outside of what I was there to do. But as I graduated a bit further into my career and saw myself earn my seat at the table, I still couldn’t help myself from still being the first one to get up and grab the door during meetings, answer the phones, etc. —reverting back to the comfort zone of being that ‘Girl Friday.’
All of a sudden, I just wasn’t her anymore. I had matured professionally. I was a strategist. I was a Communicator. I was a Director. I’ll be learning for a long time to stay in that lane and set boundaries for myself and those around me that prevents me from going backward. It’s about recognizing ways to move forward in your career. Always.
We’d love to hear more about your work.
I am the Principal of my own company, Tamara Edwards & Co.
I take everything I’ve learned from working on the communications side of a Congressional office and on local, state, and national political campaigns and apply the same principals towards my clients’ personal and professional objectives.
In short, my business is centered around Communications and PR — but with a slower “spin” and longer-term goals.
Together and in full collaboration with my clients, we define their short and long-term goals, and put forth a robust Communications plan that becomes the turnkey to new opportunities and new forms of success.
I’m eight months into this venture and business is booming. I’ve watched as my client’s opportunities have expanded tenfold. A very encouraging client who works in the financial planning space recently said to me “I’ve been really impressed with how you can draw out a brand that’s been covered in too much detail or noise.”
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Yes. Chicago is such a creative hub.
Every piece of business is creative. I go on coffee dates two-three times a week and always find overlap and interest in shared objectives.
This city is everything.
- Address: 1510 North Elston #3F
Chicago, IL 60642
- Website: www.linkedin.com/in/tamaraedwards3
- Phone: 6303396083
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tiffany Nagy Photography