About Our CEO...the long bio
She has been called a force of nature because of the energy, passion and commitment that she brings to clients that range from mid-size ventures to multinational Fortune 500 companies. It’s been said that Tama exemplifies executive leadership that combines global strategies, savvy deal making and trusted communication. Her depth of experience is a powerful blend of entrepreneurial creativity, financial acumen and results-oriented execution.
Prior to Saventure, Tama served as the Chief Executive Officer of The Tyra Banks Company Inc., a globally-branded media and consumer lifestyle company based in New York City. During her tenure as CEO between 2011 and 2013, Tama led the global expansion of the Tyra Banks brand in television, venture capital, digital media as well as fashion and beauty through various retail development initiatives. Previously, Tama led a management consultancy and patent-based commercialization and development company. The Los Angeles-based management consulting firm, Tama Smith & Associates Inc., specialized in business performance improvements. From 1997 to 2011, Tama led and/or partnered with top global management consulting firms in helping to transform international airports, regional energy companies, local transportation authorities, multinational industrial companies, school districts, healthcare organizations and global foundations into higher-performing business entities. The firm also had a business advisory group that worked with a roster of celebrity clients and start-up entrepreneurs on select M&A, product licensing and general business advisory needs.
Looking to expand TSA’s reach abroad, Tama joined with a fellow Wharton MBA classmate, who was a former president of Avon Products Japan, to form a new company that would source and acquire the rights to select intellectual properties in Asia. In 2007, The InnoGrowth Group Ltd was formed in Hong Kong. Throughout 2007, the company worked with universities and their business incubators along with venture capital and private equity firms throughout South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand reviewing their intellectual property (IP) portfolios for possible acquisition and licensing opportunities. The company’s business model involved licensing or acquiring IP rights with high market commercialization appeal to U.S. multinational companies. Over the course of 12 months, the company secured interests in five areas: nutraceuticals, biometric health devices, fire-resistant industrial materials, consumer health products and mining. The company continues to operate from Shanghai led by the co-founder.
Leading up to Tama’s management consulting career, she spent four years in the start-up and venture capital world via MEE Productions. Upon graduating from Wharton, Tama collaborated with two Wharton classmates to form Motivational Educational Entertainment Productions (MEE Productions), an educational media research and marketing company financed by angel investors and the Washington D.C. based venture capital firm of Calvert Social Venture Partners. She led MEE Productions as the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Marketing Officer and board of director member which resulted in a successful exit for its institutional investors.
Prior to attending Wharton’s MBA graduate program, Tama worked at two blue chip Fortune 500 companies: GTE Service Corporation and Contel Services Corporation (merged and now known globally as Verizon Communications). After her undergraduate completion, she was accepted into GTE’s corporate finance development program with assignments in its internal audit group in Boston and at its early-stage cellular telephone division in Houston. [Tama would later become a GTE Finance Fellow recipient while at Wharton which funded her full Wharton tuition.] After the GTE program, she went on to work at Contel as a corporate finance manager. While an MBA student, she worked at Swiss Bank Corporation as an investment banking summer associate within its leveraged buy-out group in both the New York and London offices.
Tama received a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting and finance from the University of California, Berkeley. She holds a Master of Business Administration specializing in entrepreneurial management from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Concurrently at Wharton, Tama studied international finance and multinational management at the London Business School.
Highlights │Awards and Affiliations
- The 2008 Alumni Award of Merit, the University of Pennsylvania’s highest and most prestigious alumni honor recognizing outstanding leadership service.
- 2011 Chairman Emeritus of the Wharton Alumni Executive Board of Directors (which oversees the School's network of 80 Clubs and over 91,000 alumni worldwide); served as Global President and Chairman from 2005 to 2010.
- Philanthropic advisory board of the Trustees Council of Penn Women from 2000 to 2014
- Active angel investor in Seattle and NYC’s seed stage venture community from 2008 to present
- And a proud member of the Washington Technology Industry Association
- Active board of advisory member for Stylyze, Shopbeam and oneQube.
Personal │Outside Interests
Tama has lived and traveled extensively throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia and Africa. In her free time, she enjoys art, wine collecting, boating in the Pacific Northwest, cycling, traveling and spending time with family and friends. Tama currently resides in Seattle.