Every morning when Tammy walks in the door, the GLS staff knows they’re in for a treat. Sometimes the treat is literal, like a gift of fudge, donuts, or bagels. Sometimes the treat is figurative, like a quick check-in, compliment, or funny story. Tammy takes great pride in connecting with her staff. Her cheer, forced or not, is infectious. It’s one of her greatest strengths as the Executive Director.
Tammy grew up in a single parent family. She moved around a lot as a kid, attending a dozen different high schools before graduating. At first, she wasn’t sure about college. She wasn’t sure how she would pay for it. She had a good job at a shoe store and thought becoming management might be a good option, but then the parent of a friend encouraged her to apply to colleges. The talk inspired her, (the parent happened to be a guidance counselor) and after finding out she could get scholarships and financial aid to help pay for the degree, Tammy took the leap and got into the University of West Florida. She did so well there that she applied to United States International University in California and got her Master’s Degree in Public Administration.
After graduate school, Tammy got married and moved to West Palm Beach. In college, she gained experience working on grants, and then used that experience to get a position as the Grants Director at the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County. She was there for six years, and excelled in her position. Her career continued in that line – she worked on grant proposals and fundraising initiatives, monitored budget expenditures, and obtained several major federal grants. She loved West Palm Beach (and talks about it ALL the time). Many of the skills she gained there have helped GLS grow.
Tammy talks about her time living in West Palm Beach so much that she was presented an award by the staff for it.
When Tammy moved to Pinellas County, she took GLS by storm. Her first role here was as Grants and Communications Director. She quickly moved into the Chief Operating Officer role, then Co-Executive Director, before finally becoming Executive Director. Now, you can find her working on just about anything – HR issues, grants, budgets, compliance, reporting, and even new program initiatives. The work is demanding, especially after a few years of leadership changes, and she often stays at the office late into the night.
GLS occupies a lot of her energy, but she spends her rare free time reading, watching Law and Order: SVU, walking her dogs, and hanging out with her three children who are all in college and doing awesome things. As a Scorpio, she feels passionately about a number of issues, but some of her most beloved are those impacting recently released prisoners, domestic violence survivors, and the LGBTQ community. Her grant writing and research skills make her knowledgeable about a number of topics. Want to know more about evictions and foreclosures in the Tampa Bay area? Tammy can talk to you about that. She’s well versed in the issues surrounding the opioid crisis, pro bono work, and trauma-informed care. Sit down with her and you’ll be treated to at least one good story, if not more. She will also give you candy and probably buy you pizza if you stay long enough.
“It is an absolute pleasure to work with Tammy. She understands the educational mission of Stetson while balancing the interest of her office and attorneys. Every time we meet, we engage in visionary discussions… In my experience, Tammy is one of the most passionate and dedicated people providing legal services for those in need.”
– Professor Christine Cerniglia, Stetson College of Law
We all know she’s a great speaker, but Tammy is also an amazing writer. All who work for her know that she has a special way of wording things. She puts her heart on the page. Her grant and research writing has garnered her incredible successes and helped GLS stay alive during hard times.
Tammy has been a lifesaver for GLS in many ways. Under her leadership, we’ve opened two new offices, grown our budget by a million dollars, and diversified our programming. She wants to use her skills to get a law degree or become a famous memoirist, but we’re not quite ready to let her go yet. There are few people that have as much grit and tenacity as she does, and it’s hard to imagine anyone else in her position. As our Executive Director, she has been an unstoppable force, and we are lucky to have her.
Tammy (front, center) with GLS staff at a recent celebration.