In the words of Tarah Warner, President & CEO of TMW Productions, LLC
A recent trip to New York City and the celebration of Black History month reminded me of the picture that now hangs in my office. This particular picture, I had waited years to hang. I had purchased it in a college poster sale my Freshman year at Johnson & Wales University. It hung in my dorm room for the entire year and was then consigned to the round cardboard poster storage container I carried with me, move after move, during my 20s.
It traveled with me to Pennsylvania and back to Rhode Island three times. This picture went from Pennsylvania to Chicago. Then Chicago to Pennsylvania. Then finally back to New England where it continued to stay in storage for over twelve years. During all of these moves I would occasionally take this print out, unroll it and examine whether my new apartment was an appropriate setting. After deeming all locations unworthy, I made a promise to myself: this picture would only be framed and hung in MY office, when I finally obtained one.
I have wanted to own my own business since becoming 15 years old. Working for corporations and organizations was challenging at times because it was so stifling. There were times when creativity and thinking outside of the box were discouraged. Part of the reason why I could never remove this picture from storage during this part of my life was because I was not living what this picture exudes: passion.
Billie Holiday’s singing career started in New York City. This particular picture was taken during the height of her career in 1947 at the Downbeat Jazz Club. I was first exposed to this print while studying music in middle and high school. Here I am with my saxophone (right).
Anyone who has ever performed knows that when you go on stage, it has to be the best. Everyone who has been a performer also knows that before the curtain opens, it is usually chaos. The singer is dealing with a head cold, the trumpet has a sticky key, and the special prop that was supposed to be in the next scene has mysteriously gone missing. One of Billie Holiday’s great talents was improvisation and that is exactly the kind of skill you need to get through challenges that arise, especially when owning your own business. Despite it all, the show MUST go on.
I have always applied my “show must go on” philosophy through my work in the hospitality industry and with TMW. When executing events, things happen, and you are required to respond quickly through protocol training or improvisation. As an entrepreneur and event planner, how you respond to challenges could be the key to savings someone’s life or ensuring that the bride and groom get exactly what they want on their wedding day.
After carrying this picture with me for a couple thousand miles and over twelve years, I finally got to remove one of my favorite photographs of all time from its capsule in December of 2019. Taking this picture out of storage was a symbol of my own personal liberation of my past. Passion for the job IS encouraged in my organization. We are always striving to make our clients excited about their events and extremely pleased with the outcome.
Looking at Billie Holiday each day when I walk into my office reminds and inspires me to remember that despite personal and professional challenges, “the show must go on.”