The Maverick: Tammy Hamawi
Tammy Hamawi has achieved ultimate success in one of the world’s toughest industries – international shipping – a business achievement shared by only a handful of women around the world.
As one of the international shipping industry’s leading strategists, working her way to the top from the age of 18, Tammy has held positions of shareholder, General Manager and Director of one of the most successful shipping lines to trade between Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. As a self-confessed maverick, she strove to diversify the cargo transportation channels in the Pacific Rim.
Born in Kuwait, Tammy was educated in Israel, the UK, US and the Middle East, and is fluent in English, French and Arabic, serving her well in today’s multi-cultural business environment.
Retiring from shipping at the top of her game, Tammy founded the international human empowerment company, Tribunity, to help people find their ‘success and love of life’ through clarity, insight and focus. Based in Queensland, she now professionally trains companies throughout Australia, New Zealand and the Asia Pacific.
When are you happiest? I’m happiest in life when I am doing the things I love to do, versus the things others would like me to do. I know that may sound simple, but it’s honestly one of my biggest challenges.
What has been your most difficult challenge and how has it shaped your life? An interesting, fulfilling life comes with many challenges and lessons. It’s actually in the overcoming of our adversities that we reflect and feel depth in our accomplishments. One of those experiences for me could be my first year of motherhood in 1996 – Bianca, my daughter, faced some medical challenges. I got to learn a lot about the power of faith, love and courage. They continue to shape the meaning of my life.
What do you think will be one of the obstacles we face as a society in the future? I see our biggest challenges coming from greed. We express greed in many areas, like consumerism, consumption and materialism. The power is in our hands to find the balance. Like a great chef knows that sometimes you add an ingredient to reduce or balance the flavour of another, in this case add an honest sense of gratitude and many acts of humanitarianism and we have hope of keeping our greed in check.
What does happiness mean to you? The expressing of love and the receiving of love.
What has been your most amazing experience? My whole life is an amazing and unique experience. My diverse upbringing with variety in cultures, religions and rules shaped my own beliefs, how I feel and what I’m prepared to do.
What was the best thing your mother taught you? How to love everyone and how to be generous with what I have.
Can love conquer all? Yes. True, unconditional love can. It’s what we are all here to learn and what are all challenged by. Great teachers like Gandhi and Mother Teresa were wealthy in love.
Why is love so important? It is what feeds our soul, our spirit: what develops us. We see this when we visit kids in orphanages or homes that have love lacking. They can be fed food but, without love, they don’t develop.
What qualities do you aspire to have? Compassion, empathy, wisdom, courage.
Best business decision ever made? To turn a summer job into a career, which was my entry into the international shipping world.
What has been your biggest mistake? We all know that mistakes are actually life lessons and necessary for our evolution. I struggle to find a specific one to share, as they’ve all been converted to assets in my memory.
What advice do you have for women in life or business? Love yourself because, honestly, there is so much to love… the rest will then fall into place in the right order.
What was your education like? I was educated in different countries, different languages, different curriculums, different cultures, different religions. I was good at adapting, fitting in and building relationships, which, in hindsight, taught me that this was the real educational part of school for me. I did well at school academically, but lost interest in the last two years so finished a bit above average. I had planned to go to university but fell in love with shipping instead and never looked back.
Your top tips for success? Tenacity, courage and doing it for the greater good.
What do you attribute to your health and happiness? My parents and my upbringing taught me a lot and I’m constantly learning as I observe and try new things. I know a lot of facts about food, exercise, vitamins, minerals and how they impact my health. I also know about how feelings, beliefs and meanings affect my happiness. The main insight around it all is that we each have the duty to learn about ourselves and what works. We have to stay open, curious and listen to our instincts – they are our best voices.
Are you optimistic for the future of the planet? Of course. Whatever will be, will be. We are constantly evolving and changing. The planet is under the care of the universe and it is wisest. It’s exciting to be alive today witnessing the union between science, technology and morality. Our decisions have even greater impact and, yet, still we are reminded that something beyond us controls how we experience life on this planet.
What excites you? My passionate character means that this heart of mine races often. It could be my daughter holding my face in her hands and looking into my eyes. Or witnessing an act of injustice or cruelty. My heart races when I feel the love of my partner. My heart races when I look inside my soul and feel the life that vibrates inside me.
What is the most important lesson you have learnt? It’s up to me.
What are two things you wish you knew earlier in life? Everything changes, and do what is right for you.
Your greatest teacher? The universe.
How would you like to be remembered? For the person that made you feel good about yourself and loved.
What makes a great marriage or relationship? After two marriages and now, with my partner of nearly four years, I have a healthy perspective on this subject. 1. Love the other person their way. 2. Communicate in a language they understand. 3. Forgive fast what you can forgive. 4. Speak your truth and take responsibility so as to not build resentment. 5. Be lovable. 6. Play, play, play, play, play and play together.
As a mother, what is the best advice you would give your children? Believe in yourself and love who you are. Then you would have at least conquered the challenge of fitting in your own skin.
“We have to stay open, curious and listen to our instincts – they are our best voices.”