Success REfashiond Icon | Tammy Barlette [Tucson, Arizona]

It’s February! The month that seems to celebrate RED more than any other! And that makes it a fabulous month to bring in our next unstoppable Tucson woman in business to you.

In the month of February, RED is wrapped alot around love, passion and dare I say… a little bit of sexiness. (insert your favorite eyebrow raising gif here). 

If you are reading this, that 100% encompasses you. I know it, you know it… OWN IT. Around here we celebrate what makes us amazing. Take this month as an excuse to dote on yourself, look in the mirror every day and tell yourself how incredible you are. As this one spectacular chick, Rupi Kaur, once said “How you love yourself is how you teach others to love you”… so set those standards high sis! 

Getting back to this month’s feature woman… seriously she is freakin aaahhhmmaazzinng! I can’t even express my excitement. I won’t hold her back from you any further! Read on to catch her fantastic story.

Remeber this is just the sneak peek… wait until you see the full piece and all of her gorgeous photos in the magazine at the end of the year! You won’t want to miss it.

P.S. And I MUST give a little thanks and gratitude to designer Karen Lukacs, a local designer, artist and woman business owner, who graciously included her beautifully designed, and one of a kind Silk Necktie bag as part of our fashion style shoot!

Allow me to introduce to you, Tammy Barlette

Tammy was one of the FIRST female fighter pilots in the united states! Seriously… most of us dream of our super power being flight… and she made it happen, for 20 years she got to be in the air dropping bombs, providing air support to troops on the ground and even tracking and attacking terrorists. 

Literally, the definition of badass.

Killing it in an incredibly male dominated field of work (um, fighter pilot, remember??), she has brought her stories to life as the co-founder and speaker for Athena’s Voice. She has a passion for helping others feel confident enough to dream bigger than they ever thought they could through speaking topics such as: 

  • From the Flight Room to the Board Room – The Power of Creating an Inclusive Organizational Culture
  • Rising Against the Odds – Knowing When to Go Into Afterburner
  • Overcoming the Fear of Judgement – How to Tap Into Your Social Courage Arsenal

I hope your buckled up, because she is about to carry us to new heights! Welcome to your February feature of Success REfashiond Magazine,

Let’s get our extraordinary on.

Straight from her own mouth, here is a sneak peek into her interview! 

Interview with Tammy

Jessica: Thank you so much for being here! First things first, our must ask questions! 

What does RED mean to you?

Tammy: Power. Passion. and it has a little bit of edginess, which I think is really cool. 

Especially with women, full force now, really being part of the professional work environment and accepted more.

There is a little bit of edginess to what we do, because we do things differently, and it changes things. 

And I just like the feminine piece to it as well. It can be powerful and feminine. Which as in our business with Athena’s Voice, one of our messages is that we can be powerful and feminine at the same time. 

Jessica: What does Success REfashiond mean to you?

Tammy: Well, I think that success, truly when you bring everyone into the mix, it’s gonna get refashioned.

Whether it’s refashioned in the way you lead, whether it’s refashioned in the way you run your business and your processes, or just literally your fashion!

I think when we as women first entered professional higher levels, you know, they’re wearing suits, jackets and looking very masculine, and I still think that look is really good, but we are twisting it more with femininity and I love it!

so, I mean even down to the actual fashion piece of it, it’s refashiond.

Jessica: You are absolutely right! That’s why I was so excited when you shared with me this outfit! Because it really took this idea of this red power suit but it really added some feminity to it by adding the pearls and other embellishments to it. Like, “that’s so perfect!” It completely embodies exactly why I picked “REfashiond”, the idea that we are recreating and doing it differently, we are in a fabulous era where it’s really becoming more about lifting other women and the whole, “a rising tide raises all boats”.

Tammy: You know, you mention that, and that’s a really cool phrase, and I was also just thinking that this “REfashiond” it’s empowering men as well! By bringing the femininity into the mix, it’s allowing them to show their softer side a little better. I think that’s where a lot of leaders are seeing the benefit of having both genders work together. There’s positivity in having your feminine softer side and that strong powerful side. You need that mix to be a good leader and business owner or whatever. And it’s allowing men to go “hey it’s ok”, we are helping to empower them as well.

I think it’s important that men don’t get lost in our rise up. That’s super important to me. We should be together, it will be at it’s best when we work together. 

Jessica: Tell me about you, what your doing and how you got into speaking, and why.

Tammy: Ok. Well, I spent 20 years in the airforce as a fighter pilot, I also flew what most people would call drones, we call them Remotely Piloted Aircraft, I was an instructor pilot in multiple aircraft, and I was stationed in Korea, a lot of combat support time, there were just a lot of things I did in my career that was very unique. 

A couple years out from retirement, my husband had said to me “I know what you’re going to do when you retire” 

and I said, Yea, I have this awesome Rodan & Feilds business, we’re set up, we’re good. And then I was like, “ok fine, what am I going to do? I am curious now”

and he said, “Motivational Speaking”

And I literally, it was one of those moments where I remember exactly where I was was. I was sitting at this desk in this great big room we had and I thought, “you’re joking”. 

It was interesting though because he kinda planted a seed.

And so, I went and sought out advice from someone who was speaking who was another fighter pilot, her name is Heather Penney. And that very quickly, within like 30 minutes morphed into “we need to recruit more women”

and within a couple months Athena’s Voice was a business. 

We have 13 speakers, all-female fighter pilots, but our vision for the future is to include women veterans from any rank any service any job. Because there are some powerful stories out there, and lessons learned from combat that can be brought back and utilized in organizations and work. 

Jessica: Have you learned anything that you wish you had known starting out? 

Tammy: Yes! There was a moment way too long into my career… there is something to be said about presenting yourself with confidence. Even if you don’t feel it inside. That was a really hard lesson for me. 

Let’s give the situation of: I am briefing to fly, and they ask questions as part of the process. And if I knew it, I’d spit it out, but if I wasn’t sure my automatic response initially was “I don’t know, but I think… “blah blah blah” And as the person on the other end receiving that communication is like “really? that’s kind of wimpy, it’s not very confident”. The reason I did it though was because I felt like, whatever the answer was that popped into my head, if I couldn’t see it in my mind, in the book and knew it was 100 percent correct, I felt like I was lying if I spit it out with confidence. 

There was something I learned abput confidence, as I witnessed the other pilots, specifically one day I remember we were sitting in the vault, which is where we study classified material, and the lead instructor walked in and asked a question randomly and I knew exactly what it was but I paused… and someone else spit out the answer and I looked at him like “that is not right” but had I not known, I would have been like “oh yea, that’s the answer” because he said it like it was the answer. And I tried from that moment on, I’m gonna answer. Any question I have, if something pops in my mind, even if I can’t place it in the book and think this is exactly right… I am going to answer like that’s the answer. 

It was really hard at first, but I started doing it and I realized that about 90% of the time, it was right! I don’t know where the answer came from but our brains are pretty amazing, we gotta trust ourselves and give our selves more credit. I learned, heck, I knew stuff! I knew more stuff than I realized! 

When you display yourself without confidence, it sends the idea that you can’t do the job. 

Practice answering things with confidence, whatever it is.

Jessica: What advice would you give to someone who wants to go into speaking?

Tammy: I would say 3 things. Get a mentor or multiple! Make sure that you are open to feedback and ideas and don’t give up.

One of my sayings, it’s probably the only one I really have, is: When quitting is not an option, you’ll find another way. So don’t let it be an option. 

That’s how I run anything I do. It’s how I go for anything. I don’t let that quit door even open. As soon as it cracks open, you get distracted. And that’s when they start quitting. Their mind starts going down a path they don’t need to be going on. 

Some people say you need to visualize a goal, and that’s powerful, but sometimes that’s not possible. Another solution is just saying, Well I’m not going to quit. That’s not a choice, we’re not doing that. Maybe I can’t see exactly where this is taking me, but I’m going. I’m going to go. It’s going to get dark sometimes, then there’s going to be a lot of light and then it’s going to get dark again, but we are just going to keep going. So just don’t quit. 

Jessica: Your signature talk is on Social Courage. Tell me more about that.

Tammy: Yea, so Social Courage, as I call it. There is courage like we think of it, and most people think of it in something life-threatening. It’s danger. But courage talks about the moral or mental strength to withstand danger, fear or difficulty. Fear and difficulty are not limited to life-threatening situations. 

What I witnessed as a leader, and also as a member of the squadron, is that we kind of all have a different level of tolerance of willingness that we are willing to step out socially. And that’s required in any kind of work environment. What I noticed is that I had a limit around which environments I would raise my hand and ask questions in, because I saw a lot of behind the back talk of “can you believe so and so didn’t know this”. So I kept quiet. 

When I got to another squadron later in my career, the whole body of the squadron was just kind of non-judgmental, let’s do this as a team and not a lot of talking behind other’s backs and egos. It allowed me to spit out crazy ideas and ask questions, and that’s where you see real growth. You have to go to the crazy ideas to find the bold ones that will work. And you have to have an environment that allows that, that’s when my career really began to flourish and when I became a leader I created an environment that allowed those around me to grow.

So I thought, What if leaders created environments like this. So that’s what the talk is about, how do you create an environment where people feel safe enough to ask questions and really grow.

Where to find Tammy

Tammy Barlette is Co-founder and speaker for Athena’s Voice

–As in the goddess of wisdom and war.–

To learn more about her you can find her at

or you can also find her on facebook

Let’s make this inbox official

A newsletter for successful women.