Creating Your Own Path
By Lorna Oppedisano | Photography by Alice G. Patterson
When Tamela Fabiano entered the workforce as a teacher at age 23, she never imagined her career would eventually lead her to the world of finance years later.
Despite the differences between the sectors she’s worked in, some similarities have run through Tammi’s three careers and her life, as well.
“I create my own way,” she said, her voice calm, confident and thoughtful. “And you do what it takes, right?”
After moving to the Central New York area from California, Tammi began her career as a resource teacher in the West Genesee Central School District. Each day, she’d help her students find their talents and arrive where they needed to be, she remembered.
After 12 years of teaching, Tammi had her first child and went on maternity leave. She was substitute teaching when her second career manifested.
Her husband, an attorney, decided to build his own practice, Fabiano & Associates. Tammi initially got involved by setting up the office. Eventually, she ran it — “like a classroom,” Tammi added with a chuckle.
Working with her husband in the office setting was an adjustment from leading a resource classroom, but the duo worked well together.
“It wouldn’t have grown, of course, without him, but it wouldn’t have grown without me, either,” she said. “We had a healthy respect.”
Tammi was first introduced to local women’s networking groups during her time at Fabiano & Associates. She accompanied a friend to a Women TIES breakfast and loved the experience. However, she didn’t see how it would fit into the firm. So, she tucked away the idea and continued on with her career.
About 12 years later, Fabiano & Associates had grown to such a size that they decided to change direction and merge with another firm.
“It worked me right out of a position,” Tammi said.
She returned to Women TIES, hoping to gain some insight on the next step in her career. She shared her past work experience with the group, explaining she wanted to explore a new path. A number of financial professionals connected with her, including her future colleague, Allison Haslam.
Allison works for Primerica, a financial services firm. The company’s people- and solutions-oriented approach turned out to be a great match for Tammi.
“I fit in,” she said. “It matched my philosophy of living and life.”
As a Primerica representative, Tammi creates her own schedule, often meeting with clients in their homes or via telephone conferences.
Having regular commitments on her calendar — such as volunteer positions with organizations like Women Business Opportunities Connection or Father Champlin’s Guardian Angel Society — helps keep her grounded, Tammi said.
Allison introduced Tammi to WBOC about five years ago. Tammi appreciated the regular monthly meetings and hyperlocal aspect of the networking group.
Not long after becoming a member, she volunteered on committees and then eventually joined the organization’s board as membership director. Currently, she serves as the board’s vice president.
With a plethora of different networking groups available for professional women in the area — including the WISE Women’s Business Center, WBOC, Women TIES and FemCity Syracuse, to name a few — Tammi’s proud to be a part of that community. Women can feel comfortable in and learn something from each group, she said.
“There’s so much need and there are enough professionals who can make an impact on other people,” Tammi said. “I just see that continuing to happen — that we’re becoming stronger, streamlined, efficient. We’re making an impact.” SWM
For more information on Primerica, visit primerica.com/tfabiano. Women Business Opportunities Connection (WBOC) is a non-profit organization that has been supporting the Syracuse and CNY area for more than 20 years. To become a member, visit wboconnection.org or follow the organization on Twitter at @WBOConnection. Syracuse Woman Magazine is a signature sponsor of the WBOC.