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Xavier Magazine | June 26, 2017

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Profile: Tara Coyt

Profile: Tara Coyt
By France Griggs Sloat

TARA COYT
Bachelor of Science in Natural Science, 1987
President, Coyt Communications
Atlanta

Pretty Legs | When she was 5 years old, Coyt saw a line of white women dancing across the TV. She asked her mother, “Why don’t black women have pretty legs? They have all these pretty women on TV showing their pretty legs but no black women, so they must not have pretty legs.” Her mother said all the women in their family had pretty legs. “That’s why it’s always been important to me to affect the black image. How black women are portrayed in music videos is really a concern of mine.”

Oprah Wannabe | By age 10, she wanted to be the first black woman to have her own TV talk show. But Oprah beat her to it. She watched carefully as Oprah’s star rose. “She started that sensationalism talk show, and it became so popular. That’s what I wanted to do.”

No-Med | By the time she came to Xavier, though, she was thinking medical school. But the Oprah influence brought out her outgoing, creative side as she participated in numerous clubs and events on campus, accepting invitations as mistress of ceremonies and introductory speaker.

Continuing Ed | After four years of working in uninspiring jobs, she went to The Ohio State University for an MBA in marketing—the closest thing to studying the cable television industry she could find. That led to a short stint in Atlanta and a marketing manager job with a cable company in Chicago.

Southbound | After six months, however, the cable job folded. So she started her own company, Coyt Communications, in 2001, picking up clients in the fashion, media and music industries. She moved back to Atlanta in 2003. “I felt that Atlanta was more entrepreneur friendly and would be a better place for me to grow the business.”

Diversity | The business has  grown. Her focus is multicultural marketing, and she’s done work for the State of Georgia and several corporations such as Porsche and Western Union. She’s also created a training program for aspiring entrepreneurs. Her web page at www.taracoyt.com lists her as a marketing consultant, speaker, author-coach and writer-editor.

Rewarding | Coyt won the Atlanta Business League’s 2004 business achievement award for her entrepreneurial efforts. One of her notables was publishing a book about succeeding in marketing. She also was in a recent video by Procter & Gamble aimed at raising the image of African-American women. The project, titled “My Black is Beautiful,” was a perfect fit for Coyt’s goal of changing how black women are portrayed in all media.

Let’s Talk | Coyt also hosts a weekly online news program she hopes will eventually lead to her own talk show. “My talk show will be a mixture of contemporary, positive, topical issues, nothing degrading to anyone, but about empowering people and presenting positive images.”

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