Women Of INDYfluence
Tamika Catchings: From the Top of the Key to the Stars
Photo: Getty Images
T A M I K A C A T C H I N G S
WNBA MVP. Olympic Gold Medalist. WNBA All Star. One of the country's greatest citizen-athletes. ESPN's first ever Humanitarian of the Year. Catch the Stars Foundation Founder. Pacers Sports & Entertainment Director of Player Programs and Franchise Development. Tea’s Me Café owner. Woman of INDYfluence.
Basketball has been Tamika's job for the past 16 years, but she has never done what's easy and has never just done her 'job' and called it a day.
"Basketball won’t be our jobs forever. It couldn’t possibly be....But building a place for generations to come. Impacting lives of those you haven’t even met. Paying it forward…That’s the job of a lifetime."
We have always been in awe of Tamika's on and off-the-court impact and could not be more excited to see her future unfold as she takes on "the job of a lifetime.". Join us on Saturday, June 24, when the Indiana Fever retire Tamika Catchings’ No. 24 in the rafters of Bankers Life Fieldhouse before taking on the defending WNBA Champions, the Los Angeles Sparks! We want to PACK THE HOUSE for this exciting evening! Click here for tickets and more info!
Learn why Tamika Catchings is our June Woman of INDYfluence:
T H E B A C K S T O R Y
Tamika Catchings is a four-time Olympic gold medalist (an Olympic record in the sport of basketball). She was a 10-time All-Star in the WNBA, the league MVP in 2011 and the WNBA Finals MVP in 2012 while leading the Indiana Fever to a WNBA championship. But beyond the basketball accolades, Tamika is an even better PERSON. She was the President of the WNBA Players Association for many years, and in 2004 she established her own charitable foundation, the Catch The Stars Foundation. Through CTSF, Tamika operates fitness clinics and basketball camps; mentoring sessions for boys and girls; and an annual scholar-athlete program for high school seniors. Tamika has been heralded as one of our country's greatest citizen-athletes, as evidenced by multiple honors around the USA every year. In 2015, she received ESPN's first annual Humanitarian of the Year Award, presented at its annual ESPYs celebration. Tamika has been an active advocate for community involvement and a supporter of law enforcement. She also has been invited to the State of the Union Address by two Presidents - George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Since her retirement as a player in 2016, she has been hired by Pacers Sports & Entertainment as director of player programs and franchise development. She remains an active ambassador, nationally and internationally, with the NBA and WNBA. She remains an active participant on selection committees with USA Basketball. She was married in February 2016, and recently took ownership of a local tea shop on the north side of downtown Indianapolis, Tea's Me Cafe Indy.
We asked Tamika some questions about herself, her inspiration and about things we all think about.
Tell us about you! What you do, what's your passion?
- I was fortunate to have basketball that gave me a platform to help kids and people. That has allowed me to have an impact and that is my focus with the Catch The Stars Foundation and everything I do.
What was your very first job?
- My first real job would have been working with the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, when I was in college in Knoxville.
Who's your idol and why?
- My idol has always been Alonzo Mourning. He seemed like the player and the type of person that would go beyond the call of duty. He could do everything. He could shoot, block, he could play good defense, he seemed like a good teammate, a good leader.
If you could have lunch with any woman, who would it be and where would you go?
- Michelle Obama, because she’s awesome. Absolutely amazing.
Whats the most rewarding part of your job? What about the most challenging?
- The most rewarding part is knowing you get to make an impact on peoples’ lives in a positive way
What did you want to be when you grew up?
- When I was in the 7th grade, I announced to my parents that I wanted to play in the NBA.
What steps did you take to ensure you were set up for success in your career or your business?
Work ethic. It started with my work ethic, but as far as steps, I look at my first years, when I started my basketball camp, and then the basketball camp turned into the fitness clinic and eventually having my own foundation. Through the foundation, steps just kind of happened naturally. Through the foundation, I had to learn how to market, how to reach out to sponsors, how to speak and talk in a business sense and how to network. When I look at my job now, I think, ‘Okay, I learned how to talk, I learned to market, I learned how to network, I learned how to sell stuff, I mean I learned all the key things then that are helping me now.’
What advice would you have for women in the work force or women starting an organization or their own business?
The first thing is finding your passion. If you want to have your own business it’s going to be something you’re passionate about. After that, you need to be committed and make sure there is a need and an audience for what you do. So it’s about finding your own little niche that you’re really good at; not necessarily being good at everything, but finding a niche and being great at the thing that you do.
What do you wish you know how to do?
Probably the biggest thing that I wish I were better at is understanding things about financial projections and budgets and all financial stuff. Those are the things I wish I knew better.
What's the best way to blow off steam?
The best way for me to blow off steam is walking. I’ll take a walk when I’m in my neighborhood or get on the elliptical. Working out is always a good way to get rid of bad energy.
Can you share an interview tip? Or something you look for when you're interviewing someone?
An interview is your opportunity to really share the things that you want to share about your business, about the game, about something that you’re passionate about. Whatever it is, utilize those times to talk about the things that you want to talk about.
MAKE SURE THAT THE PEOPLE YOU SURROUND YOURSELF WITH, AND EVEN YOUR EMPLOYEES, ARE GOOD PEOPLE; PEOPLE THAT YOU CAN COMMIT TO, AND ARE GOING TO BE COMMITTTED TO YOU, AND COMMITTED TO YOUR VISION.
What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?
When I was a kid, my dad always told me, ‘You pick your friends, don’t let your friends pick you.’ You want to make sure that the people you surround yourself with, and even your employees. are good people; people that you can commit to, and are going to be committed to you, and committed to your vision.
.What's your workplace pet-peeve? People that are late.
Where is your happy place in Indianapolis? Tea’s Me Café!
What's your favorite concert you've ever been to? I have only been to three. Bruno Mars was my favorite.
What's your theme song/get motivated song/at-bat walk up song? Superwoman
Do you have a favorite quote? “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Which best describes you: Early Bird, Night Owl, or “On” all the time? Early Bird.
How do you keep your schedule straight? My Outlook Calendar.
The weekend tip offs off on Friday, June 23 with the Fall Creek Block Party near Talbott St & 22nd. The block party features a KIDS ZONE built by Tamika’s Catch the Stars Foundation. Join the fun and meet 4x Olympic Gold Medalist, 10x WNBA All-Star, and now owner of local cafe Tea’s Me, Tamika Catchings! Freddy Fever will be there, along with the Fever Fan Van! Admission is free! Click here for more information »»