During her formal education, she often wrote on the issues of race, peace, and poverty. When asked what early childhood memories she believed shaped her life the most, she replied, “Watching Feed the Children; that is what impacted me the most. I wasn’t allowed to watch the program, but I would sneak every chance I got. We lived modestly, not as comfortable as others, but the children on Feed the Children were so impoverished with their swollen stomachs and protruding bones that it made what I had seem like a true paradise. There were always pleas for money for food, education, and water. What I found lacking was training programs to help people sustain themselves. So I told myself that one day, that was what I would do.”
Studying politics and international peacekeeping in college helped Tammie shape the infrastructure for her childhood promise. A naturalist and environmentalist at heart, she knew that whatever she did to help would have to involve protecting the natural habitats of the people. She decided to market many of the exotic natural products from third world countries that she herself enjoyed, such as shea butter black soap and mongongo oil, offering them at prices that would benefit both consumers and suppliers. Not surprisingly, she found that her customers enjoyed her childhood favorite, east African shea butter, just as much as she did.
Realizing the potential of this single butter having the ability to impact millions across the globe, she embarked upon her quest to help communities throughout Africa market their indigenous ingredients by creating the Shea Terra Organics’ line of premium skin care products. Today, Tammie continues to work closely with plant and habitat conservation groups and traditional herbalists to unveil little known and often endangered botanicals that are indigenously valued for their healing powers. She recently traveled to Egypt and the Argan Forest of Morocco with eleven of her children to meet with suppliers that she has been partnering with for almost a decade. She currently lives with her twelve home-educated children and husband, Dr. Ishaq on an organic farm not far from the Potomac River in Virginia.