College of Business Diversity Racial Equity and Inclusion Partner and U.S. Air Force Veteran Takes Her Business to the Skies
Tamiko W. Bailey recently joined the College of Business Diversity, Racial Equity & Inclusion Group as a Diversity Partner, which mentor DREI students and contribute to offering internships and jobs. An Air Force Veteran and owner of Bailey’s Premier Services -- an aviation defense contractor -- Tamiko grew up in Fort Worth and earned a bachelor’s in finance from The University of Texas at Arlington College of Business.
Combining her experience from the Air Force and the College of Business, Tamiko was employed early on with large corporations such as Lockheed Martin, Dyncorp, Oracle and Bell Helicopter. In 2008, she started putting pen to paper and cultivating her business in defense contracting, and by 2013 - while pregnant with her third child and working out of her garage - she started to make her first bids for contracts. Eight years later, the company continues to grow, employing up to 100 people and is soon making a move into a third (3rd) office space. Her aggressive tenacity has seen Bailey’s Premier Services gain loyalty and brand trust among its customers.
“I just try to do a great job; I try to be myself. I found that has helped me more than me trying to go in and modify myself or water down who I am,” Bailey said.
As an black entrepreneur competing against some of the biggest names in aviation and defense, Tamiko always knew she could do it. That passion fueled her to move forward and contributed to the success Bailey’s Premier Services has had. I did think about the fact that I’m a woman and I’m a minority doing aviation and defense. I wondered how people would receive me,” she said.
Bailey experienced years of overthinking what name to use on LinkedIn, changing it every few months, worrying even about what she should wear and how her hair should look; and how she should approach them dominated her mind in the beginning stages. In fact, the challenges of being a minority female contractor in a male dominated industry were the hardest she faced. Determined to fulfill her dream, mental focus and rising confidence led her to push that to the back of her mind and overcome her doubts.
“I think the power in my diversity, for me, is that I am always being myself. I’m being authentic. I don’t change who I am when I get to the table in front of my customers, ” Bailey said. Having received her fair share of backward comments and people being shocked by her at meetings, Tamiko states, “I don’t take offense to that, my value adds a different perspective on how we can get a job done.”
The aviation industry does not have many minorities, and has even less women. Tamiko hopes that changes one day and that more minorities take up top-level positions and that more women become aware of these opportunities. “I think a lot of women are getting into entrepreneurship, I just don’t know if a lot of them are getting into aviation and defense.”
For Tamiko, being in the military and having experience working with F-15 and F-16 pilots, along with the support of her commander benefited her. She has taken inspiration from seeing other successful women in business and is paying it forward by volunteering. She remembers volunteering at Clifford Davis Elementary in Fort Worth. “More children need to be exposed to technical programs in the schools to let the kids know there are other opportunities out there.”
Having diversity represented in her own company is important to her. “Different input makes it better for everybody. The whole company wins,” she said.
Tamiko hopes more black women join the industry, and for all entrepreneurs she advises, “don’t give up; it’s hard starting a business. Take care of your health because you’re mentally going all day long as an entrepreneur. Invest in yourself, invest in your business, work on your communication skills and don’t be fearful.”
Tamiko Bailey was featured in the 2019/2020 Fort Worth Business Press, U.S. Veterans Magazine and Professional Women Magazine. See more here.