George Mason University
George Mason University Mason
George Mason University

A dream fulfilled: MS student spotlight – Tamara Hamilton

October 1, 2018

Tamara Hamilton, a master's student at S-CAR, recently received the designation of Accredited Speaker from Toastmasters International. She is the first African American woman in the world to receive this designation.

By Cameron Shuler

Throughout my time at S-CAR, I have met few people as remarkable and memorable as Tamara Hamilton. Recently, I’ve had the unique privilege to work with Tamara amidst an organizational conflict. As we have worked together, Tamara has continued to put her conflict resolution skills into practice, deftly facilitating difficult conversations and restoring relationships. 

Little did I know that this very experience would build the foundation for one of Tamara’s greatest achievements: becoming the first African American woman to earn the distinction of becoming a Toastmasters Accredited Speaker. 

Tamara shared her reflection on obtaining this achievement with me: 

Langston Hughes poetically describes what happens to a dream deferred. I now know in the marrow of my bones what it feels like when a big dream is fulfilled. After ten years as a Toastmaster, I earned the designation of Accredited Speaker. I join an elite global core of professional speakers who will bring leadership and communication development to Toastmaster audiences around the world. I became Accredited Speaker #79 and the first African American woman in the world to obtain this distinction.

Her 18-minute presentation to earn the distinction of Accredited Speaker was titled, “From Chaos to Compassion: A Case Study on Conflict Resolution.”

Over the past several years Tamara has built her business, Audacious Coaching. Through this vehicle, Tamara works to support those on a journey to not only understand the history and nuances of race and differences, but also to expand their ability to talk about race in a safe space. 

Previously, she received her Coaching Certificate in Leadership and Well-Being from George Mason University and has since continued to help people and organizations grow and transform their lives. Nevertheless, the story of her most recent victory did not begin with instant success:

The victory of becoming an Accredited Speaker is much sweeter because I tried last year, was not successful, worked on my craft, and succeeded before a live audience of 1,500 and live-streamed to 142 countries. To fail when the world is watching was beyond difficult in the moment. My success in 2018 is laced with life lessons and the influence of S-CAR courses and conversations, especially the peace summits at Point of View. S-CAR gave me a chance to explore, discover, and apply new knowledge. 

Moving forward, Tamara’s focus is “Healing Brokenness in the Context of Race, Diversity, and Inclusion.” She hopes to utilize this shift in focus to help boards, senior leadership teams, and organizations find ways to build bridges and restore relationships. She explains, “I hope to be that bridge builder over turbulent waters, in wounded workplaces with S-CAR as the wind beneath my wings and with a new global platform through Toastmasters International.” 

Tamara’s passion and strength as a conflict resolution practitioner demonstrates how lessons learned at S-CAR can foster growth and powerfully shape the world around us.

Centers and Publications