Please introduce yourself and your business to our community.
My name is Tamara Mason. I am a public health professional, consultant, and advocate. I have a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from Emory University. I am the Founder and Principal Equity Consultant of Mason Consulting, Inc., which is a public health consulting firm focused on providing services and solutions that improve the health and well-being of marginalized communities. We do this by empowering our clients to make a greater community and population impact by speaking truth to power around social justice and health equity issues. Mason Consulting offers community needs assessments, health education curricula design, qualitative data analysis, and public health event planning and implementation. I am also a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) and Certified Labor Doula. As a Labor Doula, I provide attentive, nurturing, and compassionate service to women in the metro Atlanta area during pregnancy, labor, birth, and the postpartum period.
At what point in your life did you realize your passion?
I think I am still figuring out my passion lol. I do know that part of the legacy that I am supposed to leave is one of helping others and doing my best to make this world a kinder, healthier, and better place. I am passionate about living life to the fullest and shooting my shot because tomorrow isn’t promised to any of us.
What did you learn about yourself in 2020?
2020 was an unusual year, to say the least…I learned that I am resilient and creative and that I really do enjoy interacting and being around people so it was difficult at times for me to quarantine from friends and extended family. And, this is where being resilient and creative came into play…..more resilient than I thought and actually able to survive being in quarantine and more creative than I thought as I figured out other ways to survive and thrive lol.
What do you attribute to your success in life and business?
I attribute my success to my drive, my work ethic, my passion to live life to the fullest, and my support system. I am very clear that as a Black woman-my success is not achieved without the encouragement, counsel, and support of others. Of course, as an individual, I have to take ownership of what I want to be successful at and how I define and achieve success.
It is important for us to nurture a community of black women that share, learn, and thrive together. Please share a story of failure that taught you a valuable lesson.
I was unexpectedly unemployed for the first six months of 2019. The interesting thing is during this period of unemployment-is when I actually started my consulting company. Being unemployed and then securing a full-time public health position that I was not passionate about but I took the job because I have bills to pay greatly humbled me and also made me question some aspects of my self-worth and identity, which were linked to being a full-time working public health professional, Mom, and wife. However, that experience also taught me that we will get knocked down/knocked off course at times, but we have to pick ourselves back up, re-evaluate, strategize, change course, and keep going. And, that’s what I did in terms of starting my consulting business during that period of unemployment. I hadn’t necessarily thought of myself as an entrepreneur before…but that moment taught me/forced me to re-evaluate, strategize, and do something else to survive financially.
Please let us know the woman you were 5 years ago and who you’re becoming?
Five years ago, I was still figuring out how to be a good mom, raising TWO children, while also working full-time and being married. I am still all three of those things right now-Mom, wife, and professional-but five years ago I really didn’t know how to meld all three. All three roles are still very important to me, but I am becoming a woman who is intentional about carving out time, space, interests, and joy in other areas of my life as well.
What women in your life have been a source of inspiration?
I know this is rather cliched but my Mom was the biggest source of inspiration in my life. She was an immigrant, who migrated from Jamaica, at 29 years old with me (her 3-year-old daughter) as a single Mom in 1979. Like most immigrants, she came here (to NYC) seeking the promise of the American dream. My Mom had a high school education but she was one of the smartest women I know with an abundance of common sense and a go-getter spirit. She told me that someone will always be smarter, faster, and prettier than me and that that was OK but no one would ever be ME and so in order to succeed in life-I just needed to be the best version of myself as much as I could. That message has stuck with me and really guides me to this day. The sense of self-confidence that my Mom instilled in me guides me too. My Mom researched and exposed me to programs and opportunities that set me up for success like going to a gifted junior school, going to a college preparatory independent school via a financial scholarship, and community service and travel opportunities. All of those experiences during my formative years taught me that I was the enough-in fact I was more than enough-I was smart, capable, and able to interact and engage in whatever space I chose to. I hope that I am able to impart that to both of my children but particularly to my daughter.
Celebrate your wins! Brag, sis. What are you most proud of?
I am proud to be a Mom, wife, sister, and great friend.
I am proud that I am an entrepreneur.
I am proud that I am taking steps to prioritize my wellness.
I am proud that I volunteer and give back to my community.
Quoting Audre Lorde, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence. It is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” Please share your self-care routine.
As a full-time working Mom and wife, it is DIFFICULT to have a consistent self-care routine. Interestingly enough, the pandemic has encouraged…(or maybe forced lol) me to do two things related to self-care. I take a daily morning walk before everyone in my household is up for exercise and to have time to myself to think, breathe (fresh air), and just be. I also get my hair done…primarily in braids….once a month. My mobile hairstylist comes to our home and does my hair (and my 6-year-old daughter’s hair). Getting my hair done makes me feel like I still have a sense of normalcy, and I also feel better when I look good. So walking and getting my hair did 😉 are currently my self-care practices.
Before the pandemic, I would also connect with a few sister friends on a semi-regular basis to chit chat, drink wine, and just have girl time. I have always had great girl/sister friends, and I think it is important to maintain those relationships.
You are part of our melanin muse tribe. How can we help you on your journey?
I love the concept of a melanin muse tribe! You all are already helping by allowing me to share my story/journey. I look forward to connecting and networking with the tribe. When we are able to gather in person again, I would welcome the opportunity to meet the melanin muse tribe via networking/social events. I always find it helpful and inspiring to talk with and learn more from like-minded women. As an entrepreneur, I would benefit from client referrals and notification of funding opportunities.