In the News

NAWBO Member Q&A: Tamara Kenworthy

Tamara Kenworthy is the founder and owner of On Point Strategies, a firm focused on planning, research and marketing. She is very involved in her profession. She is a long-term member and past president of AMA Iowa and currently serves as its research sponsor for all events, serves on the Qualitative Research Consultants Association’s (QRCA) editorial board as a feature editor for VIEWS magazine, and has obtained the Professional Certified Marketer certification from the American Marketing Association and the Professional Researcher Certification in research from the Insights Association.

Outside of work she is an active community leader serving on the DMACC Foundation Board, West Des Moines Public Arts Advisory Commission, West Des Moines Community Foundation Board, Rotary DMAM Foundation Board, P.E.O.’s Cottey College Board of Trustees, and the NAWBO Iowa Board, of which she is the co-director of the upcoming Business Institute.

Can you take me through your personal background?

I grew up in Boone, Iowa, home of the Toreadors! I spent the first two years of college at DMACC, then transferred to UNI. While I thought I was going to teach business education, I changed course and went the corporate business route instead. A year out of college, I got married and we moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, and lived there for 13 years. While in Cincinnati, I began my career in marketing and received my MBA from the University of Cincinnati. My earlier marketing career was on the client side of professional services marketing. When we moved back to Iowa in 1997, I moved to the agency side of marketing and marketing research.

What is your profession/business?

With the goal of always wanting to have my own business, I began my firm, On Point Strategies, 12 ½ years ago. On Point Strategies is a strategic planning and marketing firm with market research expertise — and a research firm that thinks like a marketer! That’s a rare combination in theindustry. . I lead clients through strategic planning or marketing planning projects, and I also design/direct both qualitative and quantitative research projects.

Throughout my career, I’ve had the luxury of working for companies that allowed me to wear many hats and develop a variety of skillsets in planning, marketing and research. In the business now for nearly 35 years, I’ve directed a wide range of projects and campaigns that include research analysts, account planners, graphic designers, copywriters, photographers, printers, PR professionals, and others.

What is the favorite part of what you do?

Whether it’s planning or research, I love leading my clients through the process of discovery! Collaborating with them to develop strategic plans and marketing plans is an exciting process. I love moving the organized chaos of planning into a final documented deliverable for execution. On the research side, helping clients understand the “voice of the customer” is critical, and it’s rewarding when they find those “a-ha” moments, helping them pivot or validate their ideas.  Also, I’ve loved every minute of facilitating hundreds of focus groups, retreats, and ideation sessions.

What is your unique talent that people might not know? 

I started dancing at the age of 3,  and if I hadn’t gone to college, I would have had a dance studio. I’ve never stopped dancing. I still take tap lessons, and my husband and I are in a ballroom dance club. The name of my business came from my love of dance. “On Point” signifies my years of dancing on pointe. While in business, I ensure my clients are “on point” in their planning, marketing and research efforts.

What’s a great book you’ve read recently?

I love to read and am in two book clubs. I have to say the best book I’ve read this past year is the biography of “Alexander Hamilton.” I read it to get up to speed before I saw the show “Hamilton” at the Civic Center, but came away really learning a lot about a great man and the revolution and evolution of our country.

How to make social responsibility work for your small business

Giving back, whether via time or financially, is an excellent way for businesses of any size to connect with community. It’s also a great way to grow your enterprise. And that doesn’t stem solely from a moral or ethics argument, but also one of dollars and cents.  

Social responsibility is becoming increasingly interconnected with business success. Millennials and Generation Z take giving back seriously when making purchasing decisions. A study from Cone Communications showed that more than 90% of millennials would switch brands to one associated with a charitable cause.

For many small business owners, giving back is tough. Oftentimes, they are wearing many hats and operating on a tight budget. Here are four ways your company can be socially responsible without breaking the bank.

Encourage your team to volunteer

There’s a reason why volunteer time off, or VTO, is so popular with some of the country’s largest employers. VTO is essentially offering your employees paid time off to volunteer with a charity of their choice. Employees want to give back to organizations they are passionate about. A VTO policy will help boost employee morale and the business’ reputation in the process.

Give your employees a specific amount of time per quarter or year to volunteer. And when volunteering, employees should wear any company-branded clothing they have to help promote your business. Volunteering can also be a great team-building activity. Shut down the office for an afternoon and bring your entire team to a charity event.

Launch a charity drive

Nonprofit organizations, shelters or food banks are always in need for supplies, especially when the weather starts to get cold. Encourage your employees to bring in hardly- or never-used clothes or items throughout the year.

Then select a few dates every year to donate all of the proceeds to a charity or nonprofit of your choice. A charity drive is a cost-effective solution, and it encourages your employees to get engaged in something other than work.

Sponsor a youth sports team

This can be especially impactful in smaller towns. Sponsoring a local sports team can be a rewarding experience. You’ll help children grow and learn new skills through athletics, and your brand name will be visible to anyone watching.

Most of the time, this is a minimal investment that can go a long way.

Go local

As a business owner, you have direct control over your suppliers. You can use this power for good, by supporting the community through buying local. It’s effective and easy, and while it may cost a little more, you can share your story of buying local to perhaps pick up a few new customers or assist in recruiting employees.

You may also consider partnering with local companies on any of the aforementioned ideas. If everyone pitches into a volunteer effort or a charity drive, then spend time to tell that story, it just makes the effort that much more impactful.