WhoIsShe? SheGives Member Tamsen Webster


SVP, Executive Communications and Coaching, Oratium; Executive Producer, TEDxCambridge

Grew up in the Philippines, Connecticut, Hawaii, San Diego, but (mostly) in Virginia Beach, VA -- Navy kid!

Mom/Stepmom to three boys, aged 11, 7, and 5

Can score a baseball game, thanks to being the Manager of the Varsity Boys' Baseball Team in high school

Worked for Weight Watchers for 15 years (13 years as a leader) after losing 50 pounds back in the late 1990s.

We know that Laura Gassner Otting brought you into SheGives. What do you like best about Laura?

Laura’s fearless. That’s what I love most about her. She sees something she likes or wants or thinks needs to happen, and she just does it. She also manages to do it with style and flair. She is the very definition of a dynamo.

What causes are near and dear to your heart?

Where I’m most interested is in organizations that help people realize their potential. The event at InnerCity Weightlifting was awesome—when the first student spoke about the impact of ICW, I was literally in tears. I just thought, “It’s amazing what can happen here.” That’s the kind of thing I love. I like to call it the power of possibility. You have to show someone what’s possible, and once they see what’s possible, there’s usually very little that gets in their way of getting there. InnerCity Weightlifting really speaks to me because it’s a way for kids to a) see that there’s another option b) see that there’s a clear path that works with who they are to achieving that other option. I’m a fan of anything that does that.

Is there a book/movie/play that has had a tremendous impact on you?

I’d say one of the most enduring pieces of art that did have an effect on me was a Stephen Sondheim musical, Sunday in the Park with George.

Probably one of my very favorite songs from the musical is a song called “Move On” and the lyrics go: “Stop worrying where you’re going/Move on/If you can know where you’re going/You’ve gone/Just keep moving on”

The whole song is just perfect for me. You just keep going. You might not know if what you’re doing is new or different, but I love the line: “Stop worrying it your vision is new/Let others make that decision-They usually do/You keep moving on.”

That’s been very formative— that spirit of how to approach life.

Who would be invited to your ideal dinner party?

Dorothy Parker, first and foremost. I’d also invite Diane von Furstenberg, Mark Twain, Martha Graham, Hans Rosling, who is this economist I love. My husband, of course.  Oh, and Ella Fitzgerald. She needs to be there. We’d need some entertainment.

What is your favorite trip you’ve ever taken?

That would be hard to choose. Each trip that I’ve taken has a different, awesome memory attached to it.

My favorite “see the world in new ways” trip was a trip I took with my family over the holidays when I was still in college. It was to Hong Kong, Bangkok, and Bali.

My father had been in the Navy; my parents had gone to Hong Kong when he was stationed in Japan, and they loved it. They had quite literally saved up their entire lives to take us with them on this trip back to Hong Kong. It was also the last trip my sister and I, along with our parents, took as just a family of four—it was the last trip before there were boyfriends and husbands.

Each of the cities we visited was just a completely foreign experience to anything I had seen before. I mean, Hong Kong was like landing in Blade Runner. It was the coolest trip and was so formative.

I also have so many memories tied up in New York—that’s where my husband and I got married, and that’s where we escape to if we need an escape. New York to me is essentially like a neighborhood of Boston. New Yorkers would be horrified to hear me say that. But to my husband and I, it’s like “should we go out to dinner in the North End or should we take a trip to New York?”

Posted in WhoIsShe?.