Tameika Pope

tameika-pope-headshot-2Chief Human Capital Officer, Board of Governors of the United States Federal Reserve System

Tameika L Pope is a 20 plus year veteran of the human capital industry with expertise in professional development, OD consulting, corporate training, executive coaching, and human resources. She currently serves as The Chief Human Capital Officer for the U.S. Federal Reserve Board of Governors in Washington, DC. Prior to her appointment to the Federal Reserve she served as Vice President of Global Learning and Development for two Fortune 500, Wall Street financial services firms (Morgan Stanley and Legg Mason Global Asset Management.) To fulfill her passion for helping women, Tameika founded AAWLN (pronounced “all-in”,) the African-American Women’s Leadership Network, a not-for-profit resource group providing professional development services and support for women of color. She currently lives in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. with her husband, Jonathan, and their two daughters, Chandler and London.

Tell us what your greatest personal challenge is, and how you have achieved success in spite of it.

My greatest personal challenge is always the integration of work and my personal life. As a wife, mother, and executive, the “dance” of trying to balance it all effectively is a struggle. I have learned that there really is no such thing as balance, which is why I used the term “integration.” I wouldn’t say that I have achieved success in spite of it. I think I have achieved success because of it. The motivation to want to do well in all areas of my life has driven me to take inventory. I often assess whether I have given too much or too little to any given part of my life, on any given day or week. It has made me more conscious and intentional in my decision making around what I say “yes” to, and more importantly, what I say “no” to. I am a better wife, mother, and executive because I am walking through my life wide awake and in control of how I choose to spend my time. I have peace of mind- that is success for me.

Name something that guides both your personal and professional development and helps you to regain focus during challenging times.

About 10 years ago I heard a quote from a professor at Georgetown named Dr. Michael Eric Dyson that changed my life and my approach to everything. Dr. Dyson said …one does not have to be perfect to be useful…” Wow was that a light bulb moment for me! That quote freed me from the pressure of perfection. It gave me the confidence to be willing to take greater calculated risks and not be afraid to fail. It allows me to be at peace with things when are going crazy around me and I may not be operating at my best. I grant myself and others, grace. Because I realize that we (all of us) are just striving to be useful…to add value…to be validated…and sometimes, we think we can only do that if we are perfect. What a weight off our shoulders!

What do you believe is at the core of why women hesitate to “lean in” and pursue leadership roles where they are?

I think the reasons could run the gamut of everything from fear of failure to not having enough women in visible leadership to model the way. The reasons are too vast of a landscape for me to hypothesize. I can tell you however about my own personal reasons for not “leaning in” in the early days of my career. My reason was in some ways very simple, nothing complex. I simply didn’t feel that it was safe for me to do so because I wasn’t as confident in my abilities as my male counterparts. I struggled to find women mentors, sponsors, and coaches in my organization who could help me. But as I started to master my craft and gain confidence, I realized that I needed to be the mentor, sponsor, and coach to other women that I didn’t have. I also found that it was easier to “lean in” once I joined an organization that welcomed me to do so.

What have you found to be the most effective way to motivate and energize your team?

This is going to sound somewhat cliche, but, I think my team is motivated and energized by our ability to be authentic and to bring our whole selves to work. We facilitate a culture of inclusion and in turn, people want to work harder and be better because they value having a safe place to fall and a safe place to soar.

What do you believe will be the greatest global benefit to having more women in leadership roles?

The greatest global benefit to having more women in leadership is the potential for the next generation of girls to change the world. The more our daughters see women leading, the more they will be provided with opportunity. The more they are provided with opportunity, the more perspective enters into the conversation. The more perspective at the table, the better the chances for lasting impact and change in whatever realm we choose to focus on. Inclusion breeds diversity and diversity breeds change. Women can truly change the world.

If you could know the answer to only one of the following, which one would you choose, and why? (What happens after death or what is the meaning of life)

What happens after death- simply because I think I know the meaning of life. I have embraced the journey and I feel very clear about why I was put on this earth. However, if we knew what happens for sure after death, it might drive how we live our lives and how we find and determine meaning.


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