I did not foresee that I would be running a political campaign or holding public office as the first Asian-American Council member in Frisco, Texas. However, sometimes a calling finds you when you’re not looking, and you must decide whether to embrace change and invite possibilities, or close your eyes and ignore what’s right in front of you.
At the beginning of 2022, I honestly did not foresee that I would be running a political campaign or holding public office as the first Asian-American Council member in Frisco, Texas. I had no ambition to be involved in politics, and the word “politician” was usually tied to something negative. However, sometimes a calling finds you when you’re not looking, and you must decide whether to embrace change and invite possibilities, or close your eyes and ignore what’s right in front of you.
Motivated by inclusion and fueled by a positive track record
My decision to run for City Council was a culmination of decades of service to Frisco in various capacities. Since moving from Chicago to Frisco in 2004, I had built a track record of creating programs and initiatives in the schools, our neighborhood, and many organizations to strengthen and celebrate our growing diversity in Frisco.
I had felt like an outsider in my hometown due to my ethnicity, so it galvanized me to make sure others felt seen, heard, and welcomed in Frisco. Though it took many hours of volunteer time to serve on local, regional, and state boards, I enjoyed meeting many different people, hearing their stories, and amplifying their voices to affect positive change.
My work was recognized in the Wall Street Journal and various media outlets, and I was honored to be named the “Spirit of Frisco” by the Chamber of Commerce for exemplifying the positive, innovative energy of our city.
Seeing the opportunity
After 18 years of raising our family and three daughters in Frisco, empty nesting was just around the corner. It was time to start evaluating what the next chapter would look like. Do we want to stay in Frisco or move? Does it have what we’re looking for in retirement? Will our kids want to move back to this area after college?
I realized the brutal answer to all these questions was, “No.” There was much more work to be done to increase the quality of life and make our city not just the best place to live, work, play. . . but also stay. There were more chapters to be written, and I felt compelled to be part of the leadership team to shape and execute the vision. This would mean that my time in Frisco would not come to an end, but in fact intensify.
It also meant I had to do something I said I would never do, which was plunge headfirst into politics. The risk was high, but so was the reward, and that left me conflicted.
Seeking outside advice and support
I reached out to my mentors to ask them what they thought, and everyone said, “It’s your time. Go for it.” I talked to my family, and they were each very supportive. The best question I received from them was, “Would you regret not trying?” I knew I would.
I have a circle of executive Asian girlfriends who reminded me that 2022 is the Year of the Tiger, symbolizing courage, leadership, and making big changes. They said, “It’s Tiger Tammy Time! We need more representation in government!”
Taking the risk
Indeed, it was my time to meet the moment. It felt like I was about to jump off a cliff, and I had no idea what the future held. But I knew I needed to just do it, and do it scared. I intentionally surrounded myself with people who were a safe place to fall, and knowing that they were there helped me to say “Yes” and take the leap to the next level. Now that I am here on the other side, I have never been more sure of anything in my entire life, and I know I am walking the path I was born to walk.
- You don’t need to be political to go into public office
- Build on your service and motivation
- Seek out advice and build a supportive network
- There is no perfect opportunity nor time
Council members’ duties include enacting local legislation, adopting budgets, determining policies and appointing the City Manager and City Secretary.
Disclosure: MyAsianVoice is committed to publishing original and third-party content that is relevant and useful to the Asian female. The content posted are strictly the views of the experts’ or contributors’ own and does not reflect the views of MyAsianVoice.
Tammy Meinershagen is the first Asian-American to serve on the Frisco City Council in Texas. Tammy has more than a decade of community service through many organizations. Professionally, Tammy is Chief Innovation Officer at Blackshaw Partners LLC, a 40-year global executive search firm serving blue-chip multinationals and private equity clients. Her impactful work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Dallas CEO Magazine, Korea Daily News, KERA, WFAA, Frisco Style, Local Profile, and more.
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