ICUC Leader Spotlight: Senior Director of Growth at ICUC

Emily Marquis

October 29, 2021

Meet Tawny Zahm

Where can you find Tawny Zahm, Senior Director of Growth at ICUC, on a daily basis? Most likely engaged with one of ICUC’s clients on 1 of 15 phone calls, or perhaps at one of her kids’ many sports games … or maybe even beating the competition at cornhole. A busy schedule is an understatement, but Tawny’s passion and commitment to make other people’s days better, including her family’s, is her driving force. She is not only the primary point of contact for our new clients but the smile that brings them through the door. We’re so grateful for Tawny’s enthusiasm, leadership and commitment to ICUC – going 12 years strong! Get to know Tawny below.

Can you give us a snapshot of your role at ICUC?

“A day in life is creating solutions for our clients — listening to their needs and creating solutions. At the end of the day, I like to say, ‘I help you sleep at night.’ I like to make sure clients can enjoy their lives outside of work. On average I take anywhere from 5 to 15 calls, depending on the day, depending on the follow-up.”

What experiences led your previous roles?

“I’m a monogamist, in all senses of the word. I’m in a military family so we do travel a lot – that’s really the main variety point in my life. As a child, my father had passed away and I needed to put food on the table, so I started off as a college admissions counselor, and they needed someone to recruit college students. I was a young kid making a decent amount of money to put food on the table for my little brother who is now in the air force and has a family of his own! I took a break when we moved to Germany and had a couple kids (my husband worked for the U.S. State Department).”

Wow! How many years did you live in Germany?

“2.5. We lived in Berlin. Everything there is a lot smaller – so having kids you must buy a lot of small cartons, whereas in the U.S. we buy the big stuff for the big families. Same with the meat counter.”

“My husband was making a great living working for the state department and we were doing OK. I wanted a mommy makeover, and he said, ‘You’re perfect the way you are, so if you want a mommy makeover you can get a job and pay for it.’ 😂 This is where ICUC comes in…”

“I had a good friend at ICUC who ran a military-wives support group chat online. At the time I was interviewed by Lindsay Goodine & Jan Reischek and I got a job as a Content Moderator with ICUC. My goal was to raise X number of hours for X amount of money to get the job done and pay for what I wanted … eventually, I got promoted and now it’s been 11.5 years.”

“We moved back to the United States in 2008, and by then I had another baby. So, I had 2 in Germany, 1 right afterwards. Now my husband is a stay-at-home dad with no stay-at-home kids. The roles have totally reversed — I’m working and he’s making me breakfast and running around the house!”

What do you like most about your job?

“Meeting new people. I’ve always been excited to meet new people and hear their life stories. It helps me understand where they come from and respect their background.”

You mentioned some of your clients are in the EU … what’s that like?

“Navigating accents can be difficult but the time zone is easy (because I always use theirs as reference). I find myself saying, ‘I’m sorry I didn’t catch that.’ I’ve gotten better over the years and listen carefully. I am easily distracted so I know I must pay attention.”

How do you define success?

“I would say I try to make my cup as full as possible every day. I try to make 3 people’s day better every day. A closed sale is temporary, but if I made someone else feel good about themselves, that’s a win. It’s usually the gift of 3. Also, if my kids are happy and my husband is happy, I’m content.”

If you could give your younger self some career advice, what would it be?

“Stand true to your beliefs and your thoughts, and don’t back down because someone of authority has a stronger opinion.”

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

“SO many things. I love to watch my kids’ sporting events. They play travel baseball, softball, skiing, snowboarding, wrestling, lacrosse, football… so a lot of that. I love going up the mountain for bunny slope skiing and then watching the kids take on the bigger slopes.”

“I do like a lot of “me time” as well – I need it to recharge. On Sundays we go to our local pub for a couple of beers, darts, and laughs. That’s a great way to recharge the batteries and get ready for Monday.”

“I love to go on date nights with my husband too. Any time I can steal time away with him, I do!”

If you could pick three words to describe yourself, what would they be?

“Assertive. Compassionate. Friendly. Competitive. That’s four sorry, I never follow the rules!”

Last question … Tell us something about yourself that would surprise us.

“I am one of 6 siblings, raised by our dad, and grew up in extreme poverty and knew that I always wanted more. I’m also a WICKED GOOD cornhole player. We just went camping with 60 people and the goal of all the boys was to beat me…”