Something about female fighter pilots: they’re going to be reliable. This is a large part of the reason why Tommy Barlette, founder of Athena’s Voice, built her team of Women Warriors from the ground up with her fellow veterans.
This is despite the fact that being on stage served as a major point of anxiety for most of them (Tammy included!). The truth about being on stage is that, when you’re up there giving selflessly - it’s almost selfish to not be on stage. Especially when you have a story that can make a difference. From the need for a support system to the power of perception, Tammy has plenty of wisdom for us today.
What are three things every Entrepreneur should know?
Tammy’s advice to entrepreneurs was simple:
- Don’t do it alone.
- Don't give up.
- Define what success means to you before taking the leap.
If you don’t have an end game in mind based on your own wants, needs, and intentions then you won’t ever feel like you’ve truly “made it” as an entrepreneur. Yes, you need to make money. However, we each get to define what our own happiness and success mean to us - and then live by that definition.
Of course, once you have that definition in mind and you know what you’re working towards (and why you’re working towards it) you’ll need a trusted support system and determined resilience to see this entrepreneurial journey through.
What problem does your business solve and who are its customers?
Tammy Barlette is the founder and CEO of Athena’s Voice, a business aiming to get more voices, and more varied voices, out into the world. Particularly women talking about perseverance, leadership, and guidance. Tammy mentioned her perception that there are not enough women out there with platforms to speak on these topics.
Typically, men are in the position to speak to both men and women on inspiration and motivation for both business and life. This isn’t a problem, but Tammy made a valid point in that women share a woman’s perspective. Your perspective greatly impacts how you view the world and your experiences shape your needs.
Therefore, Tammy’s business is solving the problem of creating space for women to connect with other women in order to amplify their voices - especially for those women who have been in predominantly masculine spaces. The baseline goal of it is essentially helping women help women.
What inspired you to become an Entrepreneur?
Tammy’s biggest motivation has been finding a place where she feels that she can make a significant impact which was, in part, driven by the advice and observations of important people in her life. One key influencer for Tammy was her husband, who suggested that she become a speaker after completing her military service as a fighter pilot.
Tammy’s initial and automatic response was, “Absolutely not, the thought of that makes me nauseous.” However, upon reflection, Tammy began to understand that her husband had observed the impact she made on people when sharing her stories at social events. He believed that people would be fascinated by her experiences as a fighter pilot and that she would be able to inspire them with her stories.
Soon enough, Tammy began to believe it too.
Tammy realized that through speaking engagements, she could make a positive impact on others' lives by sharing her experiences, inspiring them to believe in themselves, and encouraging them to pursue bigger goals.
Her inspiration as an entrepreneur is rooted in her desire to help people, make a difference, and empower individuals to achieve more than they initially believed was possible. This drive to inspire and support others became the foundation of her entrepreneurial journey.
Would you have done things differently when you first started your business, with the knowledge you have now?
Tammy does believe that she would have done some things a bit differently, stating that it’s normal to look back and notice things that could be improved upon rather than thinking “Oh, that was perfect.” The failures along the way are all a part of the process.
The key for Tammy lies in not looking at things as utter failures and rather seeing them as lessons learned and places to gain and do things differently. Realistically, Tammy understands more time than you think to build a business and you need to find people to fill the gaps where you may lack knowledge or expertise.
Although Tammy never thought she would do it alone, she admits to sometimes feeling like she has to. Even flying solo in a fighter jet, Tammy was never alone.
What would you have done differently with a million-dollar investment when you first started your business?
The first thing she would’ve done with an investment would have been to hire contractors to fill in the gaps, as mentioned above. She’s the expert when it comes to the content she’s speaking about, however, when it comes to running a business Tammy finds that it's been an exercise in learning and researching as she goes.
This method sometimes leads to spending a lot of time, energy, and resources researching ways of doing things that end up being scrapped because they don’t work for your business.
Tammy mentioned that when she first started Athena, one area that they were really lacking was marketing so she would definitely have sought out experts to help her market the business properly.
What is your proudest accomplishment as an Entrepreneur?
The proudest moment for Tammy as an entrepreneur was when Athena landed their first paid gig. For her, it made all of their effort and hard work since they started worth it. Not necessarily because of the monetary gain but more so because it validated that what they’re doing is “worth it.”
The confirmation that someone is willing to pay for your expertise is always validating, no matter your industry.
Another moment that sparks a feeling of particular pride for Tammy is when other ladies on her team get hired to speak. Being able to go to one of her team mates and say “You’ve booked a gig!” is such a special moment for her.
What big goals are you looking to achieve?
Looking forward to 2023 and 2024, particularly for Athena’s voice, Tammy wants to keep getting it out there in the world and continue to amplify Athena’s ladies’ voices. Her main focus is to get all of her ladies speaking in order to get all of their voices heard.
Tammy mentioned having a second business that she’s starting that is also taking some of her attention for the future. Upon realizing the impact that she’s made with Athena, and noticing her fondness for connection in smaller groups, Tammy has decided to create a hybrid-online course on mental training for aviators.
It’s focus is specifically on the civilian aviation population rather than the military. It will be a combination of techniques for studying information as well as mental performance and mindset training. When you’re flying a plane in the air and a problem comes up, you can’t just park on a cloud while you think about it. This means there’s an extreme need for pilots to be focused and able to keep their minds on the task at hand while they fly.
If you’re feeling focused and super inspired after that story, you’re not alone. Why not share that feeling with others by sharing your own Entrepreneur Story? Get in touch with us today to share your own journey and tell us how you’re making a difference in your community.
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