Tammy Charles is a native of New York and she graduated top of her business class in 2012 from the University of Tampa with Magna Cum Laude distinction in Business Management. She later received her MBA and Nonprofit Leadership Certificate in 2016. Recently she was accepted the prestigious University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Social Impact Strategy Executive Certificate Program. Currently, Tammy is the Founder and Chief Strategist at Inovo Strategic Consulting where she provides fund development, board development, strategic planning, and business development to businesses and nonprofits. All in all, she has raised over $1 million in funding for numerous organizations in her young career. She is also the Founder and Chief Ecosystem Architect for Tampa Bay Spark, LLC. — a social enterprise focused on leveraging innovation, diversity, equity, and inclusion, and social impact to spark change in Tampa Bay’s entrepreneurial economy.
"What I love about Tampa Bay most is the community and interconnectedness that it provides. It is exciting to see the Tampa Bay community work collaboratively to make an impact on the lives of people around us."-Tammy Charles
Q. How would you summarize the overall workplace culture of the Tampa area? Is there something that sets Tampa Bay apart?
A. What I love about the workplace culture in Tampa Bay is that you have access to leaders in this community, unlike other cities. If I was in New York, I don’t think I would have easy access to the mayor or to high level executives like I have here. I love how Tampa is extremely collaborative and very open; I think leaders want to respect young professionals like myself, and that is a gift. I always say that I wouldn’t be where I am at with my business with Tampa Bay Spark if it wasn’t for mentors and leaders who have supported me, whether it’s financially, with time, wisdom, or sending me clients… I wouldn’t be where I am at if it weren’t for how collaborative and close the leaders of Tampa are.
Q. To what do you attribute your success?
A. My mentors and Tampa’s business environment have both been major factors that have played into my growth and success with my company. I recently heard that Tampa is one of the top cities for female-owned businesses. I started my business less than a year ago, and all of my clients came by word of mouth, through mentors, and people who actually believe in me enough to go on my own and send clients to me. I attribute my success to the community at large and the support system I have; the people I can go to and ask for advice, and gain a lot of confidence. I have had a lot of mentors that have spoken positivity in my life, and I don’t think I could have received that level of motivation in any other city.
Q. What advice would you give to young people who just moved to Tampa and are looking for ways to familiarize themselves with the business and social scenes here?
A. I would say show up. Tampa has a lot of events, and there is not a week that goes by where there is not any social event going on. People want to connect here; they have a deep desire to network. Don’t shy away from the work “networking”. Networking is extremely important and it’s not just about building business relationships, it’s about building authentic relationships. So I would say stay true to who you are and be authentic, because that is going to have the most longevity. I would say to young people, get involved! Join committees, sit on boards. The Tampa Chamber has a group called the Emerging Leaders of Tampa Bay, it has been a gift to be a part of it, and it has totally shaped my career. A lot of the things I have been able to accomplish is because I had to step outside of my introversion, show up, be authentic and be passionate about what I do. It is extremely important to really put yourself out there in a way that draws people to who you are and what you are doing to make an impact on the community at large.