In the Spotlight: Tatia Adams Fox
Day job: Founder, New School of Etiquette.
Artist on repeat: My favorite jazz bassist, Lars Danielsson, based in Sweden. I discovered him 11 years ago. I once saw him perform in a room of 200 people in Copenhagen. He actually knew I was coming — it was so emotional! His music is the soundtrack to my family’s life. I literally just had messaged him on Facebook before his show.
Meet Tatia Adams Fox.
Entrepreneur. Corporate executive. Career coach. Storyteller. Influencer.
And, of course, mother and wife.
The first time I met Tatia, she had just dropped off her kids at Music Choice, where her husband works, and greeted me with a huge hug for such a small woman. But I didn’t let her size underestimate the powerful, and absolutely incredibly talented woman that she is. Whether Tatia is wearing flat tennis shoes or four-inch heels, she will own the room. Any room. No matter how big or how small.
And that’s exactly what she does every day of her life: own a room. The brainchild behind the New School of Etiquette, the only nine month social intelligence and etiquette program in the country, Tatia says, “At the end of the day, I’m in the business of branding.”
“It’s discovering who you are,” Tatia continues. “If you’re looking at it from a marketing perspective, you have to know who you are before you brand. A lot of what I do in terms of the New School of Etiquette has everything to do with social intelligence, leadership skills, how to present yourself, how to walk into a room and own the room. My clients start as young as six years old. But they can be 55 years old, as well.”
It’s also what she lives by as a branding and marketing strategist. Whether she’s traveling the country lecturing, or she’s working with clients in the branding sphere, Tatia has acquired a plethora of skills from her 18 plus years as a corporate executive in branding, entertainment, marketing, and sales. Tatia has led teams domestically and internationally. In 2013, Tatia became the first and highest ranking female executive at Warner Music/ADA in its 20 year history — having been appointed to oversee all domestic and international marketing strategies for the label. From Rodale Press, MTV Networks, Playboy Enterprises (fun fact: she called when the job listing said no calls), to Motown Records, and Universal Music Group, Tatia walked into every position owning it.
“When I was growing up I was taught to be stronger, to be faster, and to not show emotions because that was a sign of weakness. That was planted in my head from when I was six years old. When I was in corporate, many people told me I was like a dude,” recalls Tatia. “But that’s because I never managed with emotions. I was told you can’t show your emotions because it shows that you are weak — and it really doesn’t help when you’re four feet 11 inches! In reality, though, when you are yourself, then it makes things so much easier.”
And at one point in time, she was the only female on an all male team. As Senior Vice President, they all had to report to her. They were also older.
“All I had to do was be Tatia,” Tatia recalls. “As women we are programmed to believe we have to prove ourselves. However, the most effective leaders create new leaders. When I was going through the ranks, I had to figure it out on my own.”
How does she do it? “I pay attention to everything. I pay attention to the person standing alone not saying anything — I pay attention to the person in the center saying everything. I just observe.”
If you had to ask Tatia five years ago if she ever thought she would start her own business, her response? “Absolutely not! I like the thought process of direct deposit every two weeks. There’s something called peace of mind and stability.” But she realized this was her calling and passion when in 2010, she left her marketing job at a record label. That afforded her to spend more time with her family. A mother of two — now a ten-year-old and seven-year-old — Tatia became aware that her oldest was a bit of an introvert, more so than before. Her oldest daughter was always lively and animated at home, but in school Tatia noticed she wasn’t the same child. Being able to spend more time in the classroom with her daughters, Tatia started researching social anxiety, the symptoms, etc. — like any mom would. After some research, Tatia realized that it was textbook definition of social anxiety. After taking off the mom hat for a minute and putting on the marketing guru hat, Tatia asked herself, “Where’s the void? And how can I fill it?”
The New School of Etiquette came out of a need for her daughter.
After deciding this was a good idea and something she really wanted to pursue, Tatia wanted to test out the waters and see who else thought it was a good idea as well.
“I decided to hold a class and invite kids in the neighborhood to come. I rented a space for two days. I thought if I could get ten kids to sign up, then that would be awesome. We had 45 kids sign up. Less than three weeks later, I had a number of contracts with schools in New Jersey. That told me right away that there was a market for it,” says Tatia. “Now knowing there was a market for it, I knew I had to perfect this craft. I ended up getting certified at the only school in the country that does it — The Protocol School of Washington. It’s the only one that certifies politicians and ambassadors, etc. Once I was certified, then I started teaching etiquette for kids!”
Listed among New York City’s Top 25 Most Powerful Women in philanthropy, music, fashion, STEM, and the arts, Tatia is a woman who wears many hats. But the best hat of all — and noted as her highest achievement — is being a mother to Thailer and Sumari.
“I want them to be happy. I pray that every day they don’t seek validation, that they are comfortable in their own skin,” says Tatia. “That they’ll wear camouflage pants at a dance where it says not to. As long as they believe in who they are, as long as they stand up for what they believe in without hurting others and for a good cause, then I am happy.”
If you had to tweet your purpose in 140 characters or less, what would it be? My purpose stands with two little kids. Everything I do is a message to them.