It takes a strong person to realize when a change must occur
in order to improve a situation. After years of working in positions that
provided little room for advancement, Tamika Seaton made the
decision to return to school and earn a degree. Little did she know, after
earning two degrees from Hodges University, doors would begin opening to her.
“I knew that without an education, I would be limited with
my career choices, advancement opportunities, and it would be difficult to
encourage my children to go to school if I did not,” said Seaton.
After graduating from Crenshaw High School in 1993, Seaton
enrolled in cosmetology school. Working as a cosmetologist for three years in
Los Angeles, she realized the profession was not what she envisioned for
herself. Eventually, she entered into a sales position with Nordstrom in
Redondo Beach, where she worked for seven years before “taking a leap of faith”
and moving to Naples, Florida, in 2003.
From 2004-2006, Seaton served as a customer service
representative at Iberiabank. Realizing her confidence was lacking with regard
to providing a stable future for herself or her children, she said, “I felt
uncomfortable knowing I could not take care of my family on my current income
back then. I didn’t like that feeling and knew I needed to do something about
Enrolling at Hodges in 2005, which was known as
International College at the time, she pursued a bachelor’s
degree in management. “I related to management; I wanted to learn more
about the difference between a manager and a leader, and the different types of
management styles,” she said.
Throughout her undergraduate program, she became overwhelmed
by the stress of balancing school, work and family, and she turned to her
professors for support, saying, “After a couple of weeks in the first class, I
felt intimidated, overwhelmed, and I wanted to give up.” Taking classes with
Dr. John Meyer, she appreciated his encouragement and willingness to provide
Completing her homework in the mornings before work, on her
lunch breaks, in the evenings after everyone went to bed and on the weekends,
Seaton recalled, “I did not have a weekend for four years…I was always nervous
I would miss an assignment, so I used these times to knock out my work and stay
Graduating with her bachelor’s in 2007, one of her
professors encouraged her to stay in school and pursue a master’s
degree in management. Since she was already accustomed to the educational
environment, Seaton agreed.
The challenge of earning a degree, working full time and
raising a family continued into her master’s program, only this time, she was
taking classes online. Although the online format proved convenient for her
schedule, she found it was necessary to become more disciplined when posting
assignments and responding to posts by other classmates.
“I overcame my challenges by learning time management skills
and coming up with a strategy to do my homework, cook for my family and still
manage my work load,” she said.
Earning her master’s degree in 2009, she had already
positioned herself in a job with Collier County Government as a planning
technician. Continuing to develop her skill sets, she moved into the position
of public information
officer for the City of Naples in 2012. “Since graduating, I have had
amazing opportunities in my career, and so many doors have opened up and
continue to open up,” she said.
Working closely with the mayor and city council, she
provided guests with tours of city hall. Her position also required she meet
with dignitaries such as Governor Rick Scott and various congressional
representatives in addition to hosting delegations from China, Russia and Saudi
In 2014, another door opened to Seaton at The Shelter for
Abused Women & Children. Currently serving as the senior development
officer, she works to fundraise and “make a difference in the lives of
survivors of domestic violence.” Required to manage the planned giving program,
Seaton also manages the Next Generation committee, Planned Giving Advisory
Council and Gentle’men Against Domestic Violence tailgate event.
Accepting the challenge of competing with other nonprofits
for donor, corporation and grant participation, she also works to recruit and
retain volunteers, saying, “There are so many great causes out there, so donors
have a lot of choices. I try to focus on the task at hand and steward our
current relationships, as well as keep our donors engaged.”
Being able to impact the lives of women, children, men and
their pets through various programs, which are free of charge, Seaton finds
many rewards to her current position. “It touches my heart when I tell someone
what I do and they thank me for the work I do,” she said.
Realizing the sacrifice she made to get where she is today,
Seaton is grateful for the opportunity she received at Hodges. Opening doors
far beyond anything she imaged, she is able to mentor young adults, telling
them of her challenges and the sacrifice she made in going to school, saying, “Strive
for a career you are passionate about; do not worry about the money. No job or
salary will make you happy, as happiness has to come from within…Think
positively and surround yourself with positive things and people. Don’t forget
to feed your mind (read, and continue to learn new things even after you are
finished with school) as you do your body, because the mind is a terrible thing