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Women in Business Interview: Tammy Meinershagen

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Former professional musician and public school teacher Tammy Minershagen is the first Asian-American representative to the Frisco City Council. A resident of Frisco since 2004, his Meinershagen has championed art and diversity. She is also Chief Innovation Officer at Blackshaw Partners, overseeing business operations and strategy. Meinershagen spoke at the 2019 Women in Business Summit.

local profile‘s 21st Annual Women’s Business Summit will be held on September 30 at the Renaissance Dallas at the Plano Legacy West Hotel. Click here for tickets.

How has the world of business changed since you started your career?

When I graduated from Northwestern University in 1997, it was a completely different era. Email was still a novelty, and handheld cell phones were the newest item on the market. Everyone was more siloed, with limited linear career paths to follow, making it difficult to change jobs or move to other industries. There is no doubt that advancements in technology have significantly changed employee mobility.

The business world has become more interconnected and accessible at all levels of entry, and even more fluid post-pandemic. You’re no longer stuck on one career path. I can explore opportunities and learn about them quickly through online sources and social media that didn’t exist when I first entered the workplace.

How have you changed?

My carrier had many flavors, not just plain vanilla. I have been a public school English teacher, a professional musician, a non-profit executive, a business consultant, and currently Chief of a Global Executive Search firm where he is an Innovation Officer. All of these experiences have developed a range of skills to successfully work with many multidisciplinary teams, from students to CEOs and everyone in between.

I have grown personally and professionally through each role. The biggest way I’ve changed is learning to accept who I am. My strengths, weaknesses and what brings me joy. It took me 46 years to feel comfortable in my skin and I can’t wait to turn 50!

What obstacles did you face?

When I decided to quit my job to raise my three beautiful daughters, I started volunteering in various capacities in the public sector. I had a passion to change this city for the better, to enhance the arts, culture and diversity, but because I didn’t follow a traditional career path, my resume was far superior to those around me. I wondered if I could really have a big voice or influence without a title, and at times felt uncomfortable being the only Asian-American woman in the room. It made me question my abilities and strengths. I now realize that my biggest obstacle was not the people or situations around me, but the way I saw myself.

Did anything surprise you?

When I started going back to work after taking time out for my family, I didn’t realize how difficult the process would be. As women, I think we tend to put our experiences on the back burner and downplay our own, especially when there are gaps in our resumes. was important. As a result, the return to work was smooth.

What experience, training, or education prepared you the most?

Being a musician has taught me the value of stepping into another world. Through art, I learned an important life lesson: no matter how difficult it may be along the way, practice until you get it right, and take things from concept to reality.

It also gave me the perspective that success doesn’t always mean climbing straight up the corporate ladder. Sometimes it looks like a spiral staircase. Even if it feels like it’s spinning round and round, you’re still moving forward.

My experience in brand management, business strategy, cross-cultural connections, public relations and philanthropy all contribute to my current role as Chief Innovation Officer at Blackshaw Partners, a global executive search firm with over 40 years of history. I’m here. I oversee all business operations and strategies for expanding the Blackshaw Partners brand in the US and internationally. He also leads the company’s global DEI practice and client engagements in Dallas/Frisco. Our team is ethnically diverse and predominantly female, working with top leaders from around the world to help build a talented and diverse team. I love my job and am grateful for each experience that has prepared me for it.

What has been the most useful thing in your career?

What has helped me the most in my career has been having trusted leaders embedded in me personally and professionally. They gave me a broader perspective and gave me the courage to overcome many obstacles when I couldn’t see the way forward. Without their wisdom, I wouldn’t be where I am today. .

What’s the best advice you’ve received?

I received so many tips that it was difficult to narrow it down to just one! Here are my three favorites:
“You can do everything, but you can’t do everything at the same time. There’s no such thing as balance.”
“Obstacles aren’t necessarily walls, they’re speed bumps.”
“Just show up. You never know what might happen when you’re there.”

What’s the worst advice?

I don’t believe in skipping dessert. You may not be able to finish it all, but you will definitely enjoy a few mouthfuls!

What would you have liked to know sooner?

Everything in my career so far has been worth it. Sometimes only the messy, frayed threads on the back of the tapestry are visible. But when you turn the tapestry over, it’s actually a beautiful masterpiece that tells your own story. Every part of your career matters, whether it’s volunteer work, the people you meet along the way, or the seemingly insignificant roles you’ve played. Nothing is wasted. Your lived experience has purpose and beauty lies in the process of discovery.

What advice would you give to others?

Raise your hand and take the leap to the next level. If not now, when? If not you, who are you? You don’t have to know all the answers. Please do it with fear.

Do you have any memories of Woman in Business?

One of the most striking memories I have is of Katherine Wagner, CEO of the Arts and Business Council, giving a presentation at the 2017 Women in Business Summit. , and having someone from the art world on board as a keynote speaker for a strong business forum meant a lot to me. It inspired us to create one of our successful initiatives, ‘Ladies Who Launch’. When I was the host of Women in Business in 2019, I loved sharing that story.

What do you think the future holds for women in business?

I have three daughters, one of whom is about to graduate from college and enter the business world. I’m excited for her because there have been many positive cultural shifts in the last 30 years that have moved the needle towards greater gender and racial equality. There is still work to be done to break the “bamboo ceiling” for women. However, women and women of color have more opportunities than ever before. Moreover, with the rise of her DEI initiative from small to large enterprises, creating an inclusive and more equitable environment is no longer an afterthought, but only an improvement.

What book has had the most impact on you and your career?

speed you can trust By Stephen Covey is one of the most influential books I have read. The premise is that true success, whether in business or personal, comes down to trust and communication.

Think about the problems you are currently having at work. Ultimately, there is a degree of mistrust and misunderstanding. Identifying the breakdown of trust between employees, departments, or clients, and intentionally striving to build trust, can move mountains.

What is the biggest mistake women make when it comes to promotions?
Career?

I think the biggest mistake is not to bet on yourself. Most of the things we worry about don’t happen and we limit ourselves more than we need to. We need to seek the opportunities we want and accept them fearlessly when they come.

What was one of the most interesting (or useful) things you learned this year?
At the beginning of 2022, I honestly did not expect to campaign and hold public office! Proud to be the first Asian American to serve at His taking the oath of office during AAPI Month this year was very meaningful. One Asian girl told her mother that she didn’t know Asians could run for public office until I announced her candidacy. Frisco actually says she’s 26% Asian American, so representation is key. It has been an honor to be a part of the journey of others becoming more involved in civic activism, and I am truly grateful for this new chapter in my life.

What are the recurring hurdles for you? (time, money, attitude, location, knowledge, etc.)
What strategies are you using to overcome it?

One of the recurring hurdles is not playing piano and violin on a regular basis. Music really was my first love and it’s so cathartic to play. It’s like visiting with an old friend. One strategy I’ve adopted recently is to say yes to requests for solo concerts. My first was this past Valentine at the Knack Theater in Frisco. Arranged a medley of 80s, 90s, jazz, pop and classical love songs and performed in front of a sold-out audience of 200 on both instruments. Overwhelmed with support, I was forced to practice to plan a concert for months in advance. To keep the streak going, this year he said yes to doing his holiday concert in December, so the pressure is on again to resume practice.

what is your personal brand? how do you grow it?

I believe my personal brand is an advocate for arts, culture and diversity. It’s the interweaving of all my stories, up to and including my role in . It’s my life’s mission to help others feel part of a community, whether it’s in your neighborhood, school, business, or city. It is to serve the place. I am a member of Orchid Her Giving Circle through the Texas Women’s Foundation dedicated to supporting Asian American causes in North Texas. She is also a member of the Advisory Board for the Frisco Arts Foundation, Legacy Christian Academy, and Leadership Prep School and is a business leader for Frisco Public Schools. The most important thing in developing a brand is to be authentic and find what really brings you joy. Then you can make work play and enjoy work.


local profile‘s 21st Annual Women’s Business Summit will be held on September 30 at the Renaissance Dallas at the Plano Legacy West Hotel. Click here for tickets.