It takes an extraordinary person to turn pain into power. Tamika Felder, an international motivational speaker, author, and founder and visionary of Cervior is a true definition of extraordinary.Tamika’s journey towards excellence was a natural progression and started at a young age. When other young people relied on household chores to earn money, Tamika was developing her work ethic and interpersonal skills. “When I was thirteen I secured a working permit to be a telemarketer at Olan Mills Portrait Studios” she shared.
A Claflin University alumni, Tamika began to pursue a career in broadcasting and production. Her world was forever changed when she was diagnosed with cervical cancer at 25. This disease usually affects women between the ages of 35 and 50. The American Cancer Society estimates that over 13,000 women will be diagnosed this year. We were grateful to speak to Tamika this January which is also cervical cancer awareness month. A cervical cancer survivor for over 18 years, Tamika made it her life’s work to help others cope and persevere through their cancer journeys by founding the Cervivor organization, “I wanted to provide the resources that I wish I had when I was going through my battle” she expressed.
Some of the best advice comes from people who have shared experiences. Tamika’s personal cancer story gave her extra insight into the plight of a cancer fighter and survivor.“ I’m a creative person, I love to find new ways to fix issues that cancer patients experience. I can find inspiration anywhere, whether it’s through social media or just going out in public. I can think about the experiences that the doctors don’t tell you about, like needing a special pillow after a hysterectomy. Or using extra padding on a seat belt so it doesn’t irritate an IV port in someone’s chest.”
Building an organization from the ground up is no small feat. Tamika credited years of research, support from family and intense networking as her recipe for success.“ You have to research what’s already out there and build from there” she said.
Sustaining the role of founder and visionary is amazing and comes with a unique set of stresses and strains. Felder expressed the importance of knowing when to expand and how she incorporated outsourcing tasks to her team. She also spoke about the importance of practicing brutal honesty. “You are only as good as your team. If you see that something is not working address it immediately. In my experience, I have had to develop a balance of administrative demands with my creative spirit.”
Success can be perceived in many ways. Tamika denotes success as knowing that her organization’s efforts are helping people worldwide. “I would say one of my greatest achievements so far is searching for the Cervivor hashtag on social media. I love reading people’s comments about how they found out about us and how we have helped them” she shared.
Tamika is also the author of “Seriously, What Are You Waiting For? 13 Actions to Ignite Your Life”. She talked about its evolution from a blog to blossoming into a love letter to the cancer community. The book is meant to inform, entertain and encourage others who have gone through similar experiences. Tamika shared that she wanted to write a book before her cancer battle and wove her experience from before and after the diagnosis into a power guide for others to use. “I hope my book will encourage people to accomplish their goals realistically. My husband jokes that I’m a dream crusher, I’m not I just keep it real. If I love you I’m going to tell you the truth” she said.
Obtaining the successes of motivational speaking, published author and a founder and visionary take a lot of courage, self-discipline and the spirit of a dreamer. Tamika gave this advice for up and coming game-changers, “my advice for achieving your goal is to always be a learner and keep your brain active. Take your ideas refine them and be open to thinking differently.”
Cervivor has been helping those affected by cervical cancer for over 15 years and will continue to grow under Tamika’s passionate leadership. To learn more about cervical cancer and the Cervivor organization visit www.cervivor.org .