When Air Force veteran Tamiko W. Bailey (’01 BBA, Finance) started her business—Bailey’s Premier Services, an aerospace and logistics company—eight years ago, she was up against some of the biggest names in aviation and defense. The aviation industry also doesn’t employ many minorities or women. But her business has thrived, growing to more than 100 employees and multiple office locations.
“I did think about the fact that I’m a woman and a minority doing aviation and defense,” she says. “But I just try to do a great job and be myself. That has helped me more than watering down who I am.”
Bailey was able to overcome early self-doubt, but the obstacles she faced are why she makes diversity a focus—not only for her business, but for students like her who just need opportunity. As such, she recently joined the College of Business’ Diversity, Racial Equity, and Inclusion (DREI) Group. As a diversity partner, she mentors DREI students and even offers internships and jobs through her company.
“I think the power in my diversity is, for me, that I am always being myself,” she says. “But overall, different input makes it better for everyone. The whole company wins.”