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“Empowering Innovation: Dr. Tameka Ellington Breaking Barriers in Fashion and Education”

At INNOVATION Insights…We challenge you to be moved, to explore, reimagine, and innovate within your spheres of influence. Let's be the catalysts of change and the harbingers of progress.

Welcome to my newest blog entry, where I delve into the engaging and enlightening discussion from Episode 7 of the INNOVATION Insights Podcast featuring Dr. Tameka Ellington. As an accomplished academic, fashion expert, and empowering voice in the community, Dr. Ellington brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our discussion. I am excited to share her journey, impactful reflections, and valuable lessons from our enriching conversation in this post.

Academic Excellence and Breaking Barriers in Fashion

Tameka's journey began in the inner city of Cleveland, Ohio. Her impressive academic achievements include a Bachelor of Arts in Fashion from Kent State University, a Master of Arts in Apparel and Textile Design from Michigan State University, and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from Kent State University. Her professional path has been equally remarkable, starting as a fashion designer for major corporations before transitioning into academia at Kent State University. There, she made history as the first Black professor in the fashion school and later took on roles as assistant dean for the College of Arts and director for diversity initiatives.

Cover images of Dr. Tameka Ellington's books.

An internationally acclaimed fashion designer, fashion scholar, speaker, and confidence coach, Tameka is the CEO and founder of Dr. Tamika Ellington Enterprises. She is a published author, with her works like "Textures: The History and Art of Black Hair" making significant contributions to Black identity and culture discourse. Her latest book, "Black Hair in a White World," continues this critical conversation.

Empowering Through Fashion: Dr. Ellington's Role as a Mentor and Leader

Tameka's dedication to empowering others, especially breaking down cultural barriers and fostering self-confidence, is truly transformative. Her story is a testament to the power of self-empowerment in supporting innovation. I have been a big fan of Tameka for a long time and have had the privilege to work with her and watch her success unfold in many areas. She became the first person in her family to graduate from high school and college, venturing into the fashion industry as one of the first to work in a corporate environment.

Examples of Dr. Tameka Ellington's award-winning creative scholarship from her time as a tenure-track faculty member at Kent State University.

The Evolution of a Fashion Scholar to an Empowerment Coach

She talks about the importance of flexibility in her journey. She initially aspired to be a fashion designer for life, but God had other plans. Tameka's career at Abercrombie and subsequent move to academia marked a turning point, finding her sweet spot in educating and empowering students beyond just teaching them. The beautiful notes she received from students at the end of semesters attested to her impact on their self-esteem and work ethic.

Tameka's transition from academia to a full-time speaker and empowerment coach was courageous. She shares the difficulty of this transition, especially in the face of skepticism from some colleagues and challenges in her personal life. Choosing God's path over others' expectations, she embarked on a journey to empower women, helping them build confidence and leadership skills.

Dr. Tameka Ellington's podcast.

Discussing her work on beauty standards, particularly in the context of Black beauty, Tameka emphasizes the importance of self-esteem in Black women who choose to wear their hair naturally. She explains how her research into Black hair and beauty standards was driven by her experiences and the disparities she observed in society's acceptance of Black hairstyles.

Dr. Ellington's Core Principles for Personal and Professional Growth

Tameka also highlights the importance of mentorship and how she mentors students through the Ellington Foundation, which she established to provide scholarships to Black fashion students. Her commitment to being accessible to her past and present students demonstrates her dedication to nurturing the next generation.

As the founder of Dr. Tamika Ellington Enterprises, she advocates for three core principles: being beautiful, authentic, and confident. These principles guide her work in personal and professional development, emphasizing the importance of showing up as one's true self.

Dr. Tameka Ellington's website.

Innovation and Diversity: Dr. Ellington's Unique Approach

Tameka firmly believes in intertwining innovation with diversity, equity, and inclusion. She argues that diversity brings creativity and a unique perspective essential for innovation. Her entrepreneurial journey is marked by freedom from microaggressions and discrimination, allowing her to work with clients who appreciate her authenticity.

As for her future projects, Tameka is excited about launching her new program, "Girl Be the Goat," based on her book "Be the Goat." This program empowers young women with lessons on self-discovery, confidence, and career development. Additionally, she plans to continue her speaking engagements, empowerment coaching, and expanding her global classroom.

A Life of Influence and Inspiration

Reflecting on her legacy, Dr. Ellington draws inspiration from Maya Angelou and Oprah Winfrey, acknowledging that our legacy includes every life we've touched. She aspires to leave a legacy that reflects every individual she has inspired and empowered through her work.

Finally, Tameka defines innovation as freedom – the space in our society that allows us to be our best selves creatively. Her story, marked by perseverance, courage, and a passion for empowering others, is a powerful reminder of the impact one individual can have.

I hope this blog and the associated podcast inspire you to embrace your journeys of self-discovery and innovation.

To view my entire interview with Tameka, click here.


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