By Ben Rogers ‘15
Let’s get this out of the way first: Three.
That’s how many times Tammy Foster-Evrard ’05 has met Oprah Winfrey in her position as Midwest Interactive Sales Manager for the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).
That’s a popular question when folks learn where Foster-Evrard works, but as she points out, “I’ve also met many of our owner OWN/Discovery talent – all great people. Honestly, I couldn’t ask for a better team.”
In her position with OWN, she manages the Digital sales for the entire Midwest region. This means Foster-Evrard negotiated, packaged and pitched any advertisement you see on Oprah.com from Midwestern companies or clients.
Foster-Evrard graduated from Simpson with degrees in corporation communications and marketing. She credits the college with helping her attain real-world experience as a student.
“The internships, the presentations in class, and the interaction with professors prepped me for a professional setting, especially when I started my career,” she says. “There are times in life to be casual and just enjoy, but Simpson taught me when to put on my professional hat and how to read a room and understand team dynamics.”
Before arriving at Simpson, Foster-Evrard knew she wanted to work in marketing, but her specific goal changed.
“I thought that I wanted to be a creative person and actually make ads or oversee the creative direction of how they’re made,” she says. “As I got into my core classes, I learned that I was more interested in the behind the scenes (work), not actually putting the ads together but figuring out where they’re placed, who they’re reaching.”
In her time at Simpson, Foster-Evrard says she had many different opportunities that helped lead her to success in her career today, including working on the Simpsonian student newspaper and Storm Radio.
“With the Simpsonian I was actually selling ads and figuring out how it would be laid out,” she says. “Being on deadlines significantly helped in the real advertising world.”
Along with student media, Foster-Evrard was also involved in Tri-Delta Sorority, Residence Life, and was a Storm cheerleader.
“There are a million thing you can do” at Simpson, she says, “and so you learn to balance a busy life and do it all.”
Her sophomore year at Simpson, Foster-Evrard had the chance to gain more real world experience by interning with the Des Moines Radio Group.
“Internships at Simpson College are a great jumping off point because you do get to touch a lot of things in a real world setting,” she says. “When I was at the Des Moines Radio Group I got to see the sales side, I actually got to produce radio shows, and I would sit in with DJ’s when they were actually on the air.
“Internships make you so much stronger and knowledgeable when actually starting to apply for positions, because you actually understand how the real world works,” she adds.
Along with those real-world experiences, Foster-Evrard credits her success to her professors, especially Brian Steffen and Susane Gubanc. When Tammy’s father passed away her junior year of college, she credits Steffen and Gubanc for helping push her through.
“When a lot of people were saying take the year off or put your life on hold, they supported me coming back to school, doing everything, staying really involved and staying on my career path,” she says.