We had the good fortune of connecting with Dr. Tara Reed and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dr. Reed, what do you want people to remember about you?
In 2020, a time that resembled the past, lead us to lean into the power in our pearls. The resurgence of a pearl wearing sisterhood quickly became the movement that would surpass our wildest expectations into the year 2021. Respect to the Pearls holds a space beyond the excitement generated by the elections. Just like our legacies we are still slowly moving from unseen too seen, not heard to being heard, but we’re still fighting to be respected. The One P.E.A.R.L. Movement is on a mission to provide resources, educate, encourage and celebrate our Purposed Empowered Ambitious Resilient Leader; who’s in the community Helping One Person Everyday move from exclusion to inclusion, unfulfilled to satisfied and hidden to visible. We Wear Pearls is a part of the One P.E.A.R.L. Movement to put action and purpose behind the representation of “Why We Wear Pearls”. Wearing Pearls represents your legacy, pride, respect, wisdom and strength within yourself. I wear my pearls for my Grannie Para Lee Washington Reed who was born on February 28, 1917. Her story of being a little black girl who could have died from lack of medical care, who would be up against many challenges during a time when black women weren’t seen, weren’t valued and weren’t respected. My Grannie Reed who would go on to love, lead and live an impactful life for 98 years has always inspired me. I am blessed that Gloria Reed Austin her daughter my legacy, my Mother, has been a true reminder of what it means to be loyal, elegant and resilient. I wear my pearls for both my Grannie Reed and my Mother in their honor to be reminded of their love, to be proud of who I am and to know that I was born into a legacy of strong resilient women.
If you ask us WHY WE WEAR OUR PEARLS? To represent the lineage of women that didn’t have to wait for others to approve who they were to know who they are!
What should our readers know about your business?
The road to becoming Dr. Tara Reed, the Motivator. Communicator. Educator.; is filled with ups and downs, highs and lows, comebacks and victories! But honestly, mostly patience and letting God lead the way. After working in in radio and television for several years in Dallas as a producer, on-air talent and in several marketing departments, I made the decision to take the big leap into entrepreneurship. I was inspired to establish Next Level Consulting in July 1999 to support organizations with small or no marketing departments a reliable, high quality alternative to in-house resources for business development. My passion for helping others kind of took off from there. My first two major clients were Jubilee Theatre and the National Cowboys of Color Museum (renamed National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum in 2008) who contracted me to market the Cowboys of Color Rodeo. Now remember in the late 90’s and early 2000’s there was no social media, google hadn’t taken off yet and creating flyers, billboards and radio commercials were the major avenues for marketing. I was able to grow along with my clients as the tools, resources and their needs changed. Thinking back, it wasn’t too long after I founded Next Level Consulting, the world of marketing began to really take off. Early on I found my niche went beyond being behind the computer creating marketing materials. I was thrust into the spotlight and becoming a spokesperson and representative was added to the options Next Level Consulting could provide my clients.
As much as I was enjoying being self-employed, at the same time, I was feeling a strong pull towards education, particularly community college education. In December 2002, I completed my Master of Arts in Communication Studies and by January 2003, I was hired as an adjunct Speech Instructor at Tarrant County College (TCC) South Campus. This was a perfect opportunity for me. I would come full circle as a Dual Enrollment Student at TCC and now an Instructor at the same community college in the neighborhood where I grew up. Teaching would also check off a couple of boxes for living an entrepreneurial lifestyle. One and two, insurance and a steady paycheck! Any entrepreneur should really think about the price that comes with being self-employed. Third, I saw teaching as a way to build up my public speaking skills to better serve my clients. Fourth, as I mentioned, I believed this was an avenue for me to give back to my community. What I thought would be part-time teaching would become full-time teaching six months to the date that I was hired. Like many entrepreneurs, I’ve managed to work full-time and still be a business owner all of these years, but it has not gone without its challenges and struggles to balance my life. The upside, I am proud to say, that decision to grow my presentation skills to better serve my clients allowed me the opportunity to reach Tenured-Full Professor of Speech Communication and obtain my PhD in Education in 2013. I’ve received numerous awards and accolades, expanded my global reach, continue to serve my community by showing up on a daily for students to see faces like mine in the classroom and serve in numerous leadership roles all while still being Founder and CEO of Next Level Consulting.
Fast-forward to 2020, with numerous stops on the way including working from home full-time due to the Covid-19 pandemic; my next pivot is turning out to be the best pivot ever! With over 25 years collectively in business, classroom instruction, community engagement and philanthropy; launching my website and blog www.DRTARAREED.com has been exciting and invigorating. Morphing into Dr. Tara Reed, the Motivator. Communicator. Educator.; has been in the making for years! I am grateful to motivate others to grow in their purpose. My goal is to educate, elevate and encourage future change agents by providing them with the keys to unlock the tools hidden within. My experience has allowed me to become an educator, entrepreneur, public speaker, consultant, certified master life coach, author and philanthropist. I’m excited to speak on a wide range of topics for seminars, keynote speaking, panel discussions, training, life coaching and more. I am able to take my clients on an inspirational and motivational journey on what it takes to keep going, how to transform the way you communicate with yourself, with others and how others communicate with you. I can truly say that life has shown me that you can be any and everything if you work hard, put in the effort, learn to pivot, know that failures happen and let God lead the way. The seeds you plant will determine what you manifest!
2020’s challenges, struggles and disappointments lit a fire in me through a vision in the One P.E.A.R.L. Movement to instill a bold belief that each one of us holds the ability to impact many. The One P.E.A.R.L. Movement will inspire H.O.P.E. which stands for Helping One Person Everyday move from exclusion to inclusion, unfulfilled to satisfied, hidden to visible. P.E.A.R.L. stands for Purposed. Empowered. Ambitious. Resilient. Leader. Right now there are two parts to the One Pearl Movement, the POWER OF ONE P.E.A.R.L. was founded to ignite a movement of ordinary people doing extraordinary good deeds around the globe. Our goal is to provide a platform for the Purposed. Empowered. Ambitious. Resilient. Leader. to be encouraged, be impactful, be heard, and be seen. I founded WE WEAR PEARLS to put action and purpose behind the representation of why We Wear Pearls. Pearls are symbolic. Wearing Pearls represents our legacy, pride, respect, wisdom and strength within ourselves. The Power of a Pearl is truly transformational. Check out www.ONEPEARLMOVEMENT.com to learn more about the Power of One P.E.A.R.L. and Why We Wear Pearls.
Next Level Consulting will forever be my baby and I am thankful to be able to continue to serve organizations by expanding my team by adding a Senior Consultant, who is also my mother, Gloria Reed Austin who brings years of nonprofit and diversity and inclusion experience to the team. What was originally established as a marketing and public relations consulting firm has grown to incorporate professional training, public speaking, speaking engagements, nonprofit and philanthropy, educational consulting and the newly added Power of One Tools. Our goal is that when you visit www.DRTARAREED.com, www.ONEPEARLMOVEMENT.com or www.READYFORNLC.com you will feel the energy and compassion that first created Next Level Consulting in 1999, just updated to fit the needs of today’s world. I’m excited to walk the path of transformation and growth along with you. Allow my story to inspire, reinvigorate you to move to your next level. My commitment is the same that it was when I founded Next Level Consulting, with the motto “Never give up on your purpose. Empowering change for your success.”
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Being born in Dallas and raised in Fort Worth, I’ve always said I get the pleasure of having both worlds. D/FW is so diverse and if you’re up to it you can find getaways all over the Metroplex. I’m always encouraging visitors to come down on MLK Jr. Weekend. This will allow you to attend the MLK Parade through downtown Fort Worth in the morning. After the parade we have to head over to Justin Boot Outlet to pick up a couple of items to wear to our next stop. Once changed, attending the Cowboys of Color Rodeo that kicks off at 2pm is a must! If you have never been to a rodeo, this is the time to go! You are able to see Cowboys and Cowgirls in every shade of brown riding horses, roping cattle, and somehow managing to stay on a bull. The day isn’t over after the rodeo. There’s always an opportunity to hear live music outside the arena. If you aren’t too tired a visit to the National Western Heritage Museum and Hall of Fame is a must! The stockyards are located just north of downtown Fort Worth. The location is perfect for a short stop or a day long venture seeing the many sights and sounds of the western culture. I love taking my friends over to Shops at Clearfork, don’t let the name fool you. Shopping at Neiman Marcus, Louis Vuitton, Tory Burch, Tumi, Spa day, Bowling at Pinstripes, Dinner and Drinks! The Shops at Clearfork has it all! Staying in downtown Fort Worth you can’t go wrong with the many upscale and boutique hotels that are surrounded by first class steakhouses, shops and Sundance Square. Maybe next time we can hop over to Dallas for more fun, shopping, music, food and drinks!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
As I previously mentioned my journey started in 1999 when I jumped feet first into becoming an entrepreneur. One of my first clients was with the National Cowboys of Color Museum (renamed National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum in 2008). Co-Founders, Jim and Gloria Austin entrusted Next Level Consulting with creating marketing plans, a documentary about Cowboys of Color and their Cowboys and Cowgirls in Action Calendar Series in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. You might think working for family, it would be one of the easiest ways to call yourself an entrepreneur. I want to say thank you to my parents because they truly treated my company like a company. From putting in bids to work on their projects, to working around the clock to meet the deadlines I promised, to coming up with my own funding before a check was ever written…I put in the work! What is exciting to see is the growth that we’ve experienced over the last 20 plus years. With the addition of Gloria Reed Austin as Senior Consultant, today, Next Level Consulting is a full service consulting firm. We are a mother-daughter duo providing services in Marketing and Public Relations, Communication, Nonprofit Organization, Philanthropy, Education and the Power of One Coaching. Her addition has also allowed me to venture into other areas with public speaking, Power of One Trainings and the #ONEPEARLMOVEMENT. I’m proud to come from a family of entrepreneurs, educators and trailblazers!
Instagram: @DRTARAREED | @ONEPEARLMOVEMENT
Other: EMAIL: INFO@DRTARAREED.COM BLOG: @DRTARAREED