SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Many people talk about giving back doing something to improve lives in their hometowns, but would you just pick up and leave your entire way of life to do it?
Tatia Adams-Fox did just that and has no regrets. The Savannah State University graduate came home for one unforgettable year. She's living a real example of the Tigers' motto "You can go anywhere from here."
Tatia jumped right in to corporate America and broke the glass ceiling. She is the first and highest ranking African-American female executive at Warner Music/ADA. Fox has also held multiple executive positions in sales, marketing, and promotions at various Fortune 500 companies, including MTV Networks, Playboy Enterprises, Motown Records, and Universal Music Group. But when her father, Savannah jazz great Teddy Adams, had a heart attack last year, she walked away from it all.
"I walked into my office 25th floor of Sixth Avenue and said, 'I resign,'" explained Tatia Adams-Fox.
She and her husband, Mic, started coming up with a plan for their New Jersey family to make the move back to Savannah. "Because it goes back to not having any regrets. God forbid if anything happens, I'm going to always say what if I had moved home?" said Fox.
As her dad recovered, she and her husband prepared their young daughters for the big move.
"We told them, 'Papa had a heart attack. It was a big awakening for mommy. I don't want to have a moment where I wonder what if. It's important for you guys to have a relationship with Papa beyond holidays, beyond FaceTime, and beyond summers," explained Fox.
So, Fox and the girls left her husband in New Jersey running the family business and moved in with her parents. Those little girls were just the medicine their grandfather needed.
"To have them to move in and literally take over has been mind-blowing. It was a life-altering situation because I had to kind of clean my act up a little bit. We had not had kids up for a long time and I had to relinquish most of the house," said Teddy Adams, Tatia's father.
But, their time together has been priceless. "A lot of times we would have conversations. It would be like I was talking to teenagers, and one is seven and the other is ten," added Adams.
It wasn't always easy for the girls being so far from home, but the Fox's promised them that even though mom was still helping with the business and speaking around the country, the girls would never go not even one day, without mom or dad.
"So literally, I would drop them off to school and go to the airport. When they got to school, my husband was literally in the air coming down to pick them up because the promise was you will never be without either one of us. Whenever they had recitals or PTA meetings, he would fly down just for that for a couple of hours and then go back. It was, I dare not use the word penalize, but we didn't want to have them feel as if they were missing out because the kids were having to really accept choices that we made for them," explained Fox.
After getting the girls settled in, Fox started finding ways to be of service throughout the Savannah Metropolitan area. She opened her very successful New Etiquette School, where she taught young people about proper table manners. She also found her way back to her alma mater, Savannah State University, as a part time professor. But, Fox wasn't just spending a few hours in the classroom. She was like the pied piper seemingly drawing students to her. They saw her as so much more than just an educator with an impressive resume, but also a mentor and friend. Together, they made history putting on the first JMC Awards, a dynamic show honoring the best and the brightest students in the Journalism and Mass Communications Department. Fox is proud to know she's leaving them them with the knowledge of how to produce a professional show.
"The chair was pleased. Everyone was real excited. We had a full house. We achieved everything in terms of objectives that we set out to do and it was good. It was good for the students for them to feel like they can do something more than what was expected. "
Giving people more than what they expect is one of the many lessons she hopes all of her students take away from their time together. That's one of the many lessons she teaches her daughters and one she learned from her parents.
"The past year just represents a continuation of Tatia's life. From the very beginning, whatever Tatia set out to do; whatever she made up her mind to do, she normally did it. She will develop a passion for it. She has always been very bold, very aggressive and very focused. The past year, I just saw what I had forgotten," explained Adams.
Tatia Adams Fox also challenged her daughters to ask their grandparents a random question every day. She said in the last year, that helped her learn more about them than she had her entire life.
Please give me just one moment to brag a little. Tatia was one of my students when I taught at SSU. I have to tell you, I knew back then she had the "it". To me, there was no doubt she was going to do great things with her life. I am so happy to be able to say that I knew this young lady way back when.
If you would like to learn more about Tatia's career and accomplishments, go to her website, visit her website here.