As Vice President of Distribution at Heartland Tanning, Inc., Tammy Reed oversees the sales and shipping of everything the tanning distributor offers, and manages its marketing and purchasing departments, as well. To do this successfully, she must relate to and motivate a large team of people – each with their own, unique personalities – and help keep everyone working toward the same goal. Good communication and keeping things in perspective, she says, are her keys to making it work. If you want to know more about Tammy’s straightforward yet effective life philosophies, then keep reading… because it’s always better to hear these things straight from the source.
By seeking to acquire wisdom from within before obtaining things from without, Tammy Reed found a way to live the life she’s always wanted.
Tammy Reed has always had a strong passion to be successful – so strong that she achieved two important life goals before the age of 25. Once she had what she wanted, however, she learned that the same ambitious nature that made her dreams come true also helped unravel them. Instead of becoming discouraged, Tammy went through a period of introspection and emerged with a life philosophy that’s as effective as it is straightforward – “communication is key, and don’t sweat the small stuff”. And by applying this philosophy, she was able to make significant, positive changes that continue to impact her life today.
Tammy Dawn Taylor was born August 4, 1975 in Kansas City, MO, the youngest of Tom and Karen Taylor’s five children. Even though the Taylors were a one-income family, Tammy says her childhood was rich in everything she ever needed. “Growing up was awesome because even though my brothers, sisters and I covered a wide range of ages, we were always very close,” said Tammy. “Some of my most cherished memories are of the fun we all had when the whole family lived under one roof, making up games or adding new rules and twists to existing games such as hide-and-go-seek or tag. Even today, all of us live within 10 miles of each other, so I plan many of our family events so that we can all get together and spend time with each other and our families.”
Besides the fun she had growing up, Tammy says there were even bigger benefits to life in a big family… benefits she continues to carry with her. “Growing up in a big family teaches you to be considerate of others at a very early age, especially when there are seven people in a house with only two bathrooms!” she laughed. “It also teaches you to be a better communicator. I know that all of these skills not only helped me make friends with many different people during high school, but also help me manage the members of Team Heartland.”
After graduating from Lee’s Summit High School in 1993, Tammy began taking business classes at a local junior college, but soon realized it wasn’t for her. “I’ve worked since I was 14 years old, and having a job was always very important to me,” Tammy said. “In 1996, I had the opportunity to open a tanning salon and I just couldn’t pass it up. I loved indoor tanning and I knew I would enjoy it as a career; but, more importantly, I knew the experience would teach me more about business because I’d actually be doing it.” Tammy operated the eight-unit Malibu Tan for two years, working behind the counter from open to close, seven days a week, giving her an in-depth, real-world, tan biz education, which she describes as “invaluable.”
At the time she opened her tanning salon, Tammy also made another life decision when she married her then-boyfriend. Ironically, the year 1999 would see the closing of the salon and the end of her marriage, and both would serve as learning experiences for her. “My ex-husband is a nice guy who’s also very entrepreneurial, and even though we had a lot in common, it wasn’t enough to keep us together,” Tammy said. “In the end, I realized that I had focused more energy on my business than my marriage.” A year after her divorce, she sold Malibu Tan. “Little did I know it then, but my life was about to change in many exciting ways!” she exclaimed.
In 1998, Tammy took a position with Heartland Tanning and it turned out to be the career change that also changed her life. “I knew this would be a departure from my entrepreneurial goal; but, I knew I needed a change,” she said. “Plus, the fact that I already developed a great relationship with Heartland as my salon’s distributor made it a very easy decision.” When she joined “Team Heartland”, the company had a staff of nine people, but explosive industry growth soon facilitated the need for expansion. “It wasn’t long before Greg Henson (Heartland President) asked me to head up the sales department, and eventually the distribution, and I’ve been here ever since.”
After her divorce, Tammy did a lot of reflecting, which she says helped her in her future relationship and in life. This led to a new outlook on life and her 2004 marriage to longtime friend Ed Reed, whom she began dating in 1999. “Anyone who says that divorce is one-sided is fooling themselves,” she said. “I’ve learned that the most important things for success in any relationship are communication and not sweating the small stuff. After coming to this conclusion, I’ve found that I’m a lot happier – and I’m not as likely to freak out if I see Ed’s socks on the floor!” The couple has been married since 1999 and has two children – Madelyn (5), and Edwin (2).
With a successful career, a loving marriage and two wonderful kids, it’s easy to see why Tammy Reed is enjoying life. These days, she’s planning even more journeys, though these are more of an earthly nature. “We didn’t have the opportunity to travel much when I was young, so that’s something my husband and I want our children to experience,” she said. “Ed took a trip to Scotland a few years ago and he really enjoyed it and wants to go back, so I know that’s one place we’ll definitely take the kids. And as far as work is concerned, I plan to continue putting 100 percent into doing everything I can to help Heartland grow while helping our salon clients succeed.”
We all have dreams, goals and ambitions – it is part of the human condition – and we all pursue them at our own pace, achieve them in our own time. In doing this, some of us have an epiphany and realize that the things we thought we wanted aren’t so important, after all. Only then can a more profound outlook on life begin to take shape, as Tammy Reed discovered many years ago. Here’s hoping we all learn something from this… and follow a similar path as we search for that which will make us truly happy!
A 14-year industry veteran, John "Ribby" Ribner has written hundreds of
articles for IST Magazine and, as Director of Editorial Content, has also
helped guide the publication's evolution. Ribby is a graduate of Central
Michigan University's journalism program and has brought many years of newspaper reporting experience to his position of Head Writer. He is also the author of three novels, "Legacy of the Bear," "Prophecy of the Bear" and "World So Dark."
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