#FridayFollow: Ingenuity Driven by Innovation.
How one AFC is using her experience to help make homeownership possible.
Tamika Barrett, AFC® is a financial educator and a licensed Realtor, helping people harness their financial knowledge, skills, and habits as tools for achieving goals and building assets. She has been recognized as this year’s 2022 DollarWise Innovation Grant recipient from The U.S. Conference of Mayors, building a platform called “Money Talks”, to teach best practices to black women about saving, investing, and financial planning. Read on to learn more about Tamika’s professional journey and all the amazing work she is doing with OHM!
AFCPE: What led you to a career in personal finance? And what inspires you to continue doing this work today?
Tamika: I’ve been an educator my whole career. I’m driven by ingenuity and innovation. So, naturally, I find myself sharing information and strategies to help people get what they need out of life. I found a need and opportunity in Pittsburgh to help families disrupt cycles of generational poverty through building financial capability. This entails being able to identify economic opportunities and positioning oneself to capitalize on said opportunities when they arise. I continue to do this work because every day I witness how the smallest increase in a person’s financial well-being affects every aspect of their life.
AFCPE: Tell us about your work with Open Hand Ministries and the impact it has had on the community?
Tamika: I am the Director of Family Development and Homeownership at Open Hand Ministries (OHM). OHM’s mission is driven by a vision of a society where there is racial and economic justice. Open Hand Ministries’ flagship program is affordable homeownership. We specialize in complete gut rehabs of homes to help low to moderate income families leverage purchasing power against gentrification in Pittsburgh. Towards this end, I design programming that offers financial education and counseling services, as well as first-time homebuyer education. We offer weekly group financial education workshops, monthly one-on-one financial, and homeownership counseling. We also recruit and train volunteers to provide support and encouragement for program participants.
AFCPE: The City of Pittsburgh recently announced that they were awarded a 2022 DollarWise Innovation Grant from The U.S. Conference of Mayors. This grant resulted in the launch of ‘Money Talks,’ and you have been selected as one of the experts to assist with the program. Congratulations!! Please tell us about ‘Money Talks’ and the impact it will have for Black women in Pittsburgh.
Tamika: “Money Talks” is a group that provides a platform for Black women in Pittsburgh to learn best practices about saving, investing, and financial planning. The goal is to empower Black women in Pittsburgh to fortify a solid foundation of financial knowledge, skills, and habits upon which they can build wealth. This will have a tremendous impact on Black women in Pittsburgh and on the city itself because when Black women succeed, they uplift everyone around them.
AFCPE: You earned your AFC in 2019. How did you learn about the certification and why did you decide to pursue the AFC?
Tamika: I learned about the AFC from a partner non-profit organization, Neighborhood Allies. It is important for me as a professional to continuously hone my craft and build knowledge. I decided to pursue the AFC because I am a strong believer in professional development and communities of practice. The AFC provides me with a platform for both.
AFCPE: What advice would you give someone who is thinking about working in personal finance and/or earning their AFC? What advice would you give to someone looking to enter the non-profit space?
Tamika: The first piece of advice I would give for someone entering either space is to build self-awareness before endeavoring to help anyone else. Knowing yourself in terms of the attitudes, beliefs, and experiences that drive your financial management habits and behaviors is essential. Second, listen to understand–know your audience. Once you understand whom you are serving and their needs, the strategies, resources, and plans will fall in line.
AFCPE: What is the best way to connect with you (social links, etc.)?
Tamika answers the Friday 5:
- My Why: For knowledge and adventure!
- My Favorite Quote: “Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations. If you adopt their attitudes, then the possibility won’t exist because you’ll have already shut it out…You can hear other people’s wisdom, but you’ve got to re-evaluate the world for yourself.” ― Mae C. Jemison
- My Hero: Collectively inspired by those who have forged a way where there was none.
- My Favorite Resource: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
My advice for someone starting the journey to financial well-being: You have a unique set of experiences and skills that make you powerful and versatile. Use it!