Tara Wilson '97
|award:||Entrepreneur of the Year|
|company:||Tara Wilson Agency|
Wilson, who earned a degree in business administration in finance from the Harbert College of Business, is quite candid about the fact that her professional path “has not been a straight line.” She began her career as a financial advisor with Merrill Lynch and spent nine years there, managing more than $15 million in assets for corporate executives and high-net worth individuals before following her entrepreneurial instincts.
She founded Tara Wilson Events™ in 2007, a full-service event production company for high-end corporate and social clients, enjoying eight successful years as an event designer and gaining an authoritative voice in the field. Realizing the business wasn’t scalable, Wilson pivoted the company in January 2015 – rebranding as Tara Wilson Agency (www.tarawilson.com) and focusing solely on experiential marketing events. As CEO of the Fort Worth, Texas-based agency, Wilson serves as a “dot-connector” for clients. She describes her firm’s mission as seeking to “create emotional connections between our clients’ brands and consumers through imaginative, immersive and transformative experiences.”
At the time of her business’ rebranding, the company had just two employees. Wilson pitched the firm to Fortune 500 companies, landing Samsung as a client followed by Nike. The roster grew to include Ann, Inc., ESPN and others and generated $2.7 million in revenue in 2017. The company was ranked on the prestigious Inc. 5000, a list of the nation’s fast-growing companies, for two consecutive years – at No. 901 in 2017 and No. 1368 in 2018. The agency, which now employs eight, provides strategy, insights, ideation, and event production and event management for companies seeking to improve brand engagement.
Wilson is a member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization, whose membership includes founders and majority owners of businesses with more than $1 million per year in revenue. She also serves on the Global Subcommittee of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization Accelerator Program, which empowers entrepreneurs with the tools, accountability and community to aggressively grow and master their businesses. Wilson founded the Fort Worth EO Accelerator Program and served as its chair from 2014-2017.
Her honors include 40 Under 40 recognition from the Fort Worth Business Press. Wilson has been in high media demand as a marketing expert, making several appearances on The Today Show as well as MSN’s Business on Main, Smart Money’s Small Business and Fox Business. She has also been featured on Inc.com and Entrepreneur.com and as well as in a variety of national publications.