2021 Forty Under 40: Tamara L. Cypress

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Corporate Social Responsibility Leader
Black Onyx Management

Tamara Cypress leads marketing, communications and corporate social responsibility projects for Black Onyx Management, which helps organizations empower Black and marginalized communities. She’s also the founder and operator of two new programs: Indy Black Businesses Matter, which focuses on growing Black-owned businesses across the region, and Indy Accompliceship, a corporate social responsibility program to advance racial equity.

Getting here: Cypress has 18 years of experience in five diverse industries—utilities, manufacturing, health care, retail services and legal. When she lost her job at a law firm during the pandemic, she started consulting with longtime friend and mentor Marshawn Wolley at Black Onyx.

First job: making pizza and grinders at Mancino’s in Richmond

Proud moment: Connecting with 117 Black-owned businesses. “Before the pandemic, I could not quickly name 10 Black businesses off the top of my head that I recently supported,” she said. “Now, I can share with you Black lawyers, authors, stylists, consultants, creatives, coaches, accountants, health and wellness providers, doctors, transportation providers and restaurant owners. More importantly, I can tell you their story beyond their products and services, challenges they face and what they are looking for to help their business grow.”

Influential people: Her mother. “One of her greatest skills, that I envy, is her ability to connect with people instantly.”

Givebacks: African American Legacy Fund of Indianapolis founding member; Steward Speakers board member and Steward Speakers Power Series marketing chair; Downtown Indy Inc. Downtown Recovery Committee social and economic development chair; The Indianapolis Urban League Exchange’s “The 317 Experience” podcast founder and host

Downtime: seeing family Sundays at 3 p.m. via Zoom, collecting bourbon, expanding her palate for wine, running, playing tennis •

Check out more Forty Under 40 honorees.

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