February is Black History Month. While The Greater Bethesda Chamber of Commerce celebrates all our members throughout the year, this month we are shinning a spotlight on our members within the African American community. Join us all month long for our 2nd annual spotlight series. This special feature helps our communities learn a little more about some of their business leaders who work so hard to make it a community to be proud of.
Today, we would like you to get to know Tami Watkins of Pepco.
Tami Watkins is a Government and External Affairs Manager for Pepco, part of Exelon’s Mid-Atlantic family of utilities including Delmarva and Atlantic City Electric. Pepco delivers safe and reliable energy to approximately 894,000 customers in the District of Columbia and Maryland. She is responsible for managing the company’s public policy agenda and relationships with elected officials and stakeholders in both Montgomery and Prince George’s County in Maryland. She also supports community outreach initiatives and regulatory proceedings. Tami has studied English and History at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, W.V. and attained her master’s in public administration from West Virginia University. While at West Virginia University, she was awarded a Housing and Urban Development Fellowship, which enabled her to work alongside government officials on a series of development and legislative initiatives dedicated to improving low-income housing options in the state. She continued to apply a combination of practical and academic experience while working as a Management Specialist for the Town of Leesburg, Virginia, and Government Affairs Manager for Comcast Cable in Alexandria, VA.
Tami Watkins represents Pepco on the boards of the Bethesda and Rockville Chambers of Commerce. Previously she served on Prince George’s County Women’s Commission and the Board of Financial Services Corporation of Prince George’s County.
We asked Tami three important questions. Read her responses below.
Q1. What are some challenges you faced early on that helped prepare you for the role you are in today and how did you overcome them?
Early in my career, much of my work was focused on community development and grass roots political outreach. Those experiences helped prepare me for a career in Government and External Affairs by learning how to have complex conversations with diverse stakeholders and manage competing priorities and risk. Addressing challenges early in my career required overcoming my own personal fears about failure, accepting myself and learning from every experience.
Q2. Who/What is your biggest inspiration in both your personal and professional life?
My parents are my biggest inspiration. I grew up watching them work very hard to support our family and they always supported me in my academic pursuits which gave me those basic foundations for my professional development. I’m also very personally inspired by my son and being his mother. He teaches me more about myself every day and he always have these funny and often insightful observations and comments about adulthood that give me perspective.
Q3. What is your biggest piece of advice to businesses struggling with diversity and inclusivity in the workplace?
I think my advice would be that businesses should be intentional about their efforts on diversity and inclusivity. Demonstrating a serious commitment by including a focus on these efforts in your company values, hosting regular training events, participating in regular diversity activities in the workplace, or simply having open conversations. Because when employees see and understand that D&I is a high priority for the company, they tend to make it a higher priority personally as well.
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