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40 Under 40 - Class of 2020
Business Observer Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020 2 years ago

Tammy Charles, 30, Tampa

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Senior faculty member, Ultimate Medical Academy; founder and chief strategist, Inovo Strategic Consulting
by: Brian Hartz Tampa Bay Editor

Many people dream of being actors, singers, comedians or some sort of entertainer. Tammy Charles says she’d love to have a career in music, but would prefer to be the big boss — the owner of a record label. 

“I love watching shows like ‘The Voice,’” Charles says. “I like looking at talent. I’m like, ‘Oooh, I wonder how I could help them create an album.’” 

Courtesy. Tammy Charles is a senior faculty member at Ultimate Medical Academy, as well as the founder and chief strategist at Inovo Strategic Consulting.

Charles says her earliest childhood memory is hearing her father, who had an extensive record collection, spin Whitney Houston’s hit song, “I Have Nothing.” That stuck with her, and even though she didn’t pursue a career in music, she writes songs and would someday like to produce music. That “power behind the throne” mentality is of a piece with her approach to her current career as an educator and consultant. 

“I'm a strategist at heart,” Charles says. “Whenever there's a problem, I'm big on educating myself on that problem. I'm always thinking about what strategies can we use to address it. That's always been my way of processing things.” 

Charles, from Queens, New York, nearly left Tampa for Atlanta after graduate school. “I looked for jobs there but it just didn’t work out,” she says. “It wasn’t meant to be.” 

Staying in Tampa, Charles says, helped bring her career objectives into sharper focus. She got involved in organizations like the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce and Metropolitan Ministries, and in 2016 she founded Inovo Strategic Consulting, an organization that she works on alongside her roles at Ultimate Medical Academy, the University of Tampa and Hillsborough Community College. 

When she’s not teaching, Charles spends much of her time doing strategic planning, fundraising and board development for nonprofit and for-profit entities, as well as social enterprises. 

“I focus a lot on corporate relationships and how to build bridges between corporations and nonprofits,” she says. “One of the things that we're seeing a lot of at this time in history is we're recognizing that we need to revisit the problems that exist in our community, as they relate to poverty, racism and systemic social issues, and determine new ways to solve those issues. My role is to help create those solutions.”

Name: Tammy Charles

Age: 30

City of residence: Tampa

Employer: Ultimate Medical Academy/Inovo Strategic Consulting

Title: Senior faculty/founder and chief strategist

Birthplace: Queens, N.Y.

Years on the Gulf Coast: Eight

Marital status/children: Single/no children

Alma mater/degree: University of Tampa/bachelor's in business management

What community group or organization are you most involved with? Tampa Bay Spark

What's the weirdest job you've ever had? Door-to-door sales for a pest control company

What's your top tip for being productive? Take time to pray, reflect and set daily intentions and affirmations. These activities set the tone for the day as it relates to confidence, mindset and overall productivity.

If you could have a side hustle, what would it be? Own a record company

What's your favorite off-hours activity? Catching up on my favorite show on Hulu, Netflix or Amazon Prime

What's your favorite board game, game show or video game? Cards Against Humanity

What’s your go-to delivery service (DoorDash, Uber Eats, GrubHub, Bite Squad, etc.)? Uber Eats

What do you use most — Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams or Google Meetings? Zoom

What’s the best binge-worthy show you have enjoyed during the pandemic? "The Haves and Have Nots"

What’s the longest virtual meeting you’ve been on since mid-March? Three hours

How many times had you used video for a work meeting prior to the pandemic? More than 40 times (as a remote instructor)

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned during the pandemic? I learned that we must create intentional space to grow in our self-awareness, to heal and to connect with our true selves. The pandemic gave us all the unique opportunity to not only slow down but to be more introspective, to revisit our values and dreams, and to determine what matters most to us and the world around us.

What do you miss most about the world pre-pandemic? I miss the face-to-face human connection with others. Nothing (including videoconferences) beats catching up with a friend or colleague over dinner or coffee.

What have you been spending more time doing during the pandemic? I have been using some of the extra time in my schedule to focus on building my consulting practice through connecting with leaders all over the country and the world to help inform our future strategy and direction. It has not only given me clarity about the direction of my business but also the direction of my life and how I want to accomplish my personal mission and purpose through teaching, consulting and coaching leaders.

Do you prefer working from home or working from an office? I like both. Sometimes it depends on my mood. Each has their benefits and drawbacks.

How have you kept up camaraderie with colleagues during the pandemic? I usually check in with friends via texts, phone calls and FaceTime. Some of my friends and I created accountability groups where we connect weekly or every other week to encourage each other, give one another advice, and hold each other accountable to our goals.

What’s the first thing you’ll do after the pandemic? I had a month and a half trip planned to Morocco, Greece, Italy and Turkey this past summer. I plan to rebook this trip as soon as the pandemic is over!

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