What is your "day job"?
I am Tara Gates Anderson (TGA), Business Branding Expert and Media Correspondent. My company TGA UNIFIED is an amalgamation of media and business intelligence. It encompasses education, media communications and branding expertise. Through TGA UNIFIED I speak and present at various conferences and events focused on business branding and empowerment. Through my online university TGAU, I offer branding courses and webinars. I also work one-on-one with entrepreneurs, small to mid-size business owners and corporations through TGAComm, to build their reputation and visibility within their desired target markets.
I also feed my love for media through my work as a media/red carpet correspondent providing celebrity interviews and the latest news in all things entertainment. In this capacity, I’ve been blessed to interview long-time media favorites such as Kevin Hart and Ice Cube, as well as relative newcomers including the cast of Queen Sugar.
Who were your heroes, or mentors?
My heroes and mentors are people who have been in my life and corner since day one. My mother is a phenomenal woman and is a great example of what is accomplished through hard work, strength, and perseverance. Even if we don’t agree on everything, she still supports and believes in me. That's important when you're walking in your purpose and doing the things that you love.
Thankfully, there are a lot of great women in my life. These woman are all in their 60’s and give me advice and wisdom that I have been able to use and bless others with. Faye Dixon is a hero and mentor in my life. Faye has shown me the importance of taking a peaceful approach in situations that are aimed at disrupting your journey. She has taught me about embracing the challenges just like you embrace the victories. My stepmother Eva McQueen is the true definition of unconditional love and giving. She shows me the importance of putting family above everything.
From a business perspective, of course, who doesn't admire Oprah’s story? I attended the “Life You Want Tour” a couple of years ago. Her entire story was amazing and it showed me what's possible when you believe. I look at women of strength like Michelle Obama and think about her journey not only as a first lady, but also as a black woman who inspires all black women to seek and become their greatest self.
I have found having a close circle of positive, driven, supportive and -- in their own right -- uniquely amazing “Good Girlfriends” is vital for women today. My tribe consists of amazing women who remind you of your greatness and that God’s plan for your life is always first, Kim Brown Cox “The Reality Check”, Delores Brit Millhouse “The Prayer Powerhouse”, Tonia Harden “The Hot Sauce” and Nikki Jennings “The Peaceful Presence”. They are my heroes.
And, I saved the best for last. My #1 Hero is my daughter Ava. She has seen me struggle, overcome, fail, succeed, cry, pray endlessly, fully rely on God, get back up and fight to create a life I am proud of. She never stopped believing in me and not one time did she judge me. She would only tell me how proud she was of me no matter what things looked like. I know I have raised a fighter and a successful beautiful young woman through these experiences. I am grateful to God for her.
When did you decide you were a brand specialist, that this would be your journey?
Towards the end of my 22-year educational career, I went back to school to get my MBA. I had an opportunity to spend time in Brussels, Belgium and Romania learning international business. Over the years, friends would ask me for business and marketing advice. I didn’t call myself a brand expert at the time, but I definitely knew how to work to help others create their business and build a brand that would engage and grow.
I learned my most valuable lesson through what I thought were my failures. In business, failure is a good thing. It teaches you hard lessons and lifts you up at the same time. Failures have to happen. Failures are blessings. When you fail or make mistakes, you approach situations and opportunities differently the next time. If you don’t know where you went wrong, you can’t fix it.
I’m big on evolving. So, I read a lot. We need to be out there looking at what’s being created now, what’s next, especially within the millennial generation. I feel we can learn from them, but I also feel an obligation to be an example for them.
If you weren't a brand expert, what would life look like?
I would still be an entrepreneur. I would be seeking out opportunities. I would be creating. I wouldn’t be sitting still.
If you had it all to do over again, would you do anything differently?
I would have listened more when I was younger, but I would not change one failure, any tears shed, money lost or any victory. Everything that I have gone through has created me into who I need to be for God’s purpose for my life.
What do you do for you that brings you absolute joy or peace?
I have a daily prayer call that I’ve been hosting for 2.5 years. We’re currently reading Finding Peace, by Charles Stanley. When I’m fully focused and centered on God, I experience that peace. Reading this book has been powerful, because it gives me the enlightenment to quit tripping! I’m doing what I’m supposed to do for God, not me. When I check in with God more, I can fall back and get in line with His will for my life, which is serving others through helping them reach their goals.
What would you like your epitaph to be?
She did it all for the glory of God. A friend told me a long time ago and it has stuck with me, “It’s not about me, it’s through me.” I’m here to serve others through what I do.
If you only had one word, what is it that you want people to remember about you?
Is there anything else you wish I'd asked you?
Yes. Where will I be this time next year?.......Stay tuned!!!
How can folks get connected?
As I would tell my clients, a good brand is ubiquitous online and on social media! Please check me out at www.TaraGatesAnderson.com. I’m also on Facebook, Instagram, Tumbler, and LinkedIn as @TaraGatesAnderson, and Twitter, Periscope and Snapchat as @The_TGA, or by email at TGA@TaraGatesAnderson.com.