The Dr. Tererai Trent Award recognizes a woman who encompasses the characteristics of Dr. Trent—specifically someone with a “give-back” attitude, a servant focus and a voice toward equality and empowerment for women and girls.
During the virtual National Women’s Business Conference 2020, NAWBO was honored to present this award to Tammy Renee Butler, managing principal of Engaging Solutions. Tammy uses her platform as owner of her management consulting firm and her role as a pastor to improve communities and the lives of women in Indiana. Her problem-solving skills, knowledge and experience engaging community stakeholders have led to the creation of multiple programs that have changed lives, most notably for her congregation members who are among the most underserved and underrepresented populations in the state.
We recently spoke with Tammy to learn more about her journey and the driving force behind her desire to uplift others in her community.
What inspired you to become a pastor?
“I never thought I would be a pastor. My father has been a pastor for decades, and he and my mother raised my siblings and I in the church. After watching my father labor and lead tirelessly in the ministry, I never had a desire to pastor, only to serve. That’s why I contributed to the purchase of the building for The House of God Church, Indianapolis in the early 2000s. Then, on my 30th birthday in 2003 after leaving a noon bible study, God’s presence filled my car and I heard him clearly calling me to ministry, with a focus on helping others experience the love of God and bear good fruit. I will never forget that day. I was asked to become co-pastor for The House of God Church-Indianapolis in 2012.”
What programs have you developed to benefit women, girls and families in Indianapolis?
“While people in our church’s zip code live with severe socio-economical disadvantages, the area is full of heart, love, grit and determination to be better. As pastor of the church, its challenges are my challenges. Church members—many of whom are single mothers—face difficulties with basic life concerns such as hunger, healthcare, education, housing, transportation, unemployment/under employment, grief and depression. For over a decade, I have coordinated important wrap-around programs to meet the mental and physical needs of our community members so they can focus on their spiritual growth. The end result has been greater access to things everyone needs—healthcare, mental health counseling, healthy foods, career fairs, education and mentoring. These programs include S.W.A.T. (Sisters Walking Together in Authority), which provides support and mentoring for single moms; Galore, a women’s mentoring and accountability group from which my company, Engaging Solutions, employed two graduates; and many other food and youth development programs.”
Your organization uplifts and supports employees by helping them with personal growth and needs. How has that impacted the work culture?
“Creating an inclusive, diverse workplace and engaging employee growth are core values at Engaging Solutions. We recognize that our employees and the Indianapolis community are our greatest assets. We train employees to succeed in their current positions, inspire them to improve their skills and capabilities for the future and encourage them to support the Indianapolis community. In fact, 10 percent of the company’s net profit is donated back to the community through in-kind and financial donations. We also donate hundreds of volunteer hours to organizations in the Indianapolis area by giving employees paid time off to volunteer. And we’re pleased that they give in plentiful ways. Because of our employees, Engaging Solutions has received regional, state and local recognition, including the Midwest Women’s Empowerment Summit Award in 2013 and the Indianapolis Minority Supplier Development Council Supplier of the Year Award in 2012. The Indianapolis Star also named us a Top Workplace four years in a row (2016-2018 and 2020).”
How has NAWBO Indianapolis and your time as chapter president shaped you?
“I was invited to join the organization by a member who later became a president of our chapter, Deborah Oatts. I joined committees, took a leadership role in the Government Affairs Committee, became a board director and subsequently secretary, vice president and president of our chapter. I learned that we all have a voice and we should use it for the greater good.
I appreciate that NAWBO was founded on advocacy and ensured that women had equality at the bank and in the boardroom. Through the education and programming offered by NAWBO, I know how to contact my legislator, testify on legislation and navigate the policy-making process. I am now sharing this and uplifting other women to do the same.”
What is the importance of the Dr. Tererai Trent Award to you personally?
“Dr. Tererai Trent has a ‘give-back attitude’ and a servant focus. I identify with her in many ways and strive to be such a model for others. I am honored and humbled to be considered worthy of an award the bears the name Dr. Tererai Trent. She is a hero and an influencer for all ages, and I aspire to continue her legacy. When I think of giving up, she reminds me, ‘It is achievable.’”