Commitment and Contribution: Tinamarie Feil Enters Hall of Fame
When people speak about Tinamarie Feil (B.A., 1984), certain themes emerge that are undeniable. Commitment and contribution. They are compliments, but then again, they are much more than that. They are foundational principles that govern her philosophy and go a long way in explaining how far she has come from her days as a Husky in the Department of Communication. In all phases of her life, Feil has committed herself to working hard and contributed with great benefit to the various enterprises lucky enough to have her.
Feil was born in Western Samoa and schooled in Seattle, WA and from an early age, her path almost seemed predestined.
“As early as kindergarten, my entrepreneurial spirit was in gear,” she said. “The story goes that I was sent home from school because I was selling packets of homemade cinnamon toothpicks for five cents – I’m not sure if the issue was that kids were ‘burning’ their mouths with the potency of my cinnamon or they were concerned I was engaging in commerce.”
In a stroke of good luck, Feil attended the University of Washington. She was on the women’s crew team as a freshman, lived on and off campus, worked to pay tuition – all experiences that gave her exposure to very different ways of living and types of people. One of those people is fellow UW Department of Communication alumna Susan Brown, President and CEO of Kids co. in Seattle.
“We met as freshman at the UW. We were neighbors actually. A few days after I arrived in the dorm, Tinamarie popped over and introduced herself. Shortly after that, we were roommates off campus,” says Brown. “After Tinamarie suggested I go to a class in the Department with her, we decided to major in Communication. Then she ended up being in my wedding. She was the kind of friend you hope to meet in college.”
Fredrick Rogovy, Partner at the Seattle law firm Rogovy & Rogovy met Feil early on in her career. Rogovy was looking for an intern and turned to a familiar newspaper to place an advertisement.
“We brought her on as a freshman,” said Rogovy. “We had been looking for someone to help out at the firm and we decided to place an ad in The Daily at UW. In walks this tall, striking young woman who frankly blew the competition out of the water. We hired her on the spot. Even at that early wage, you could see the powerful woman she was going to become.”
With her experience and degree from the UW in hand, Feil entered the workforce landing a job as deputy clerk at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Seattle. After stints in Texas and Los Angeles, battling the ‘old boys club’ of the financial sector, Feil started her own corporate bankruptcy administration consulting practice with her current business partner and company co-founder Sean Allen.
“We’re both hard workers and decided if we were going to work as hard as we do, we might as well do it for ourselves instead of for someone else,” she said.
Feil and Allen have a truly symbiotic relationship. Feil is the yin, Allen the yang. He explains here.
“We got together and it just started working. Where my experience and knowledge ended, her experience and knowledge began. She had experience and knowledge in the legal and accounting side. I had strong experience and knowledge from the engineering and project management side.”
In 1998, the two would join forces and build their company BMC Group from the ground up. After a few months, they hired thirty people. After a year and a half, they hired over a hundred. The team was built in response to a need for advanced technology to help streamline legal, medical, and corporate processes. Allen speaks here about Feil’s commitment.
“Unwavering commitment. When she says she is going to do something, it is going to get done. Regardless of the task. Regardless of the obstacles. Tinamarie will find a way to keep her commitment. It is so difficult to find people like her who are as committed and hard working as she is. It is why she has been so successful.”
Over time the BMC Group has expanded globally, with offices in the U.S., Asia, and Europe. Feil is on the road much of the year, fulfilling her dream of a career which would take her around the globe. With her success, Feil has also found ways to contribute to the well-being of others. The UW Department of Communication gave last year’s Alumni Award for Excellence in Mentoring to Feil, who has been the Foundational Alumna for the Career Exploration trips to New York City. She talked about this engaging mentorship roll.
“Being a major world financial center, New York is a meaningful location for my company to do business,” she said. “When the Department told me about the career exploration project, I was excited to be involved in furthering the opportunity… To help students experience New York at a pivotal point in career planning is a no brainer.”
Feil is on the board of Kids Co., an organization with the simple belief that every child needs a safe place to be while their parents are at work. Over time, this foundational idea has grown to become a multi-site organization known for its quality childcare and for its leadership in advancing best practices in all aspects of its operation. Susan Brown spoke about how her fellow alumna and dear friend fit into the philosophy of Kids Co.
“She is smart. I mean, an incredibly sharp mind, but also very measured. And she has a heart of gold,” says Brown. “At Kids Co., we have a philosophy that drives what we do there, ‘head and heart.’ I think Tinamarie shares that same characteristic. It’s why she was such a great addition the board.”
Fredrick Rogovy had this to say about Feil in summary.
“There are not enough words. Simply not enough superlatives to adequately describe Tinamarie. She defies the simplicity of a compliment,” he said. “She has always remained committed to the University of Washington. She is the kind of alumni that other students can aspire to emulate. We have stayed in touch throughout the years and to think it all started with an ad in the UW Daily.”
Sean Allen finished with this statement, capturing the essence of who Feil is for so many in her life.
“Everyone loves Tinamarie. It is her willingness to help. Her enthusiasm. Her ability to quickly understand a challenge or where her skillset can help overcome that challenge. She gives you the feeling that you are the only thing that is important to her in that moment. And that’s not just a feeling, it’s a reality. She cares about people so much and is committed to them in really meaningful ways.”
Join the UW Department of Communication as we celebrate the commitment and contribution of Tinamarie Feil as she is inducted into the UW Department of Communication Alumni Hall of Fame on October 4. To RSVP or learn more about the event, click here.