Meet Tammy Ward (2020 Impact 100 Jersey Coast Member)
By Janet Mazur Cavano
Tell us what you for a living.
I own Cambridge Club of Aberdeen, a project I created with my husband over the last 10 years. It’s a 9-acre property in the center of Aberdeen, a private family social club. Think of it as a country club without a golf course; we have a club house, a ballroom and five pools. We opened 18 months ago. One of the reasons we pursued this avenue was to make meaningful employment for adults with disabilities. I have seven to nine individuals with disabilities working here right now.
You’ve been an advocate for the disabled for decades now — how did that get started?
When my daughter was born with Downs Syndrome nearly 30 years ago, I didn’t know anything about it, so I went to the library and looked up some books, and was horrified. I thought, “OMG, how could this have happened?” My mom put me back up on my feet and told me, “This is the most precious gift you have ever gotten. . .now you go and fight whatever it is that’s upset you.” So when Jessie was three-months-old, I went to a conference in Florida and met other parents. I then joined Early Intervention in Middlesex County. Later I became active in Monmouth County at Family Resources and Associates. I became an advocate for children with disabilities in the school system, and I did achieve my goal of making early intervention inclusive-based, versus center-based.
How did you learn of Impact 100 Jersey Coast and why did you join?
I am a golfer, and a couple of my golfer friends are Impact members and they invited a representative to talk to us at a luncheon. Once I learned what Impact was all about, I realized it could keep me connected to the non-profit world — for many years, I was a part of this, but had to disconnect as I focused more on my business. I then went to a meeting at Bell Works and met so many great women! I just like the whole concept of taking the pressure off me. I can rely on the judgment of smart women to screen the candidates and then just vote.
You’re returning for a second year — what brings you back?
To know that I am still making a difference in my community without having to put in as much effort is very satisfying. And I’ve never felt any guilt! We’re all professional women looking for that one sweet spot, and I think Impact is that!
What would you tell a woman who is considering joining?
For a woman who finds herself busy in her career and also has children, I would tell her that it’s always important to remember how many gifts we have — and that there are organizations that enable us to still succeed while helping others in our community.
Also, there’s a warmth to the women at Impact — we all get it! There’s such an energy we have as a group and I’m proud to be a part of it!
What’s the best life advice you’ve received?
That advice came from my mother — she’s reminded me often of how blessed I am with the brain I was given and the love in my heart and that I was meant to make a difference. Also, I always knew what direction I was heading and that was forward. That is my favorite word. Forward. It’s the only place to go and I’m going to make a difference with every step forward I make.
Tell us something about you that not many people know:
I am an artist, a sculptor. I enjoy it when I do have time, which recently has been carving out unusual pumpkins at Halloween. It’s something that I truly love and glad it’s still there any time I pick up my tools. I still have my gifts!