As a purchasing analyst in the Marketing & Digital Division at Caterpillar Inc., Tamara Rachelle Parker supports Creative & Marketing Services by preparing reports and processing invoices, payments, requisitions, contracts and invoice reconciliations. Outside of the workplace, she has become an invaluable asset to her community, dedicating her life to serving others.
When her brother passed away in 2014, Parker became a guardian to his son and resolved to give back to the community in his honor. She is a licensed foster parent through DCFS and has housed a number of international exchange students from Germany, Ghana, South Africa and Brazil through the Academic Year in America exchange student program.
As an exchange host, Parker welcomes these students into her home and into the larger experiences of the Peoria community, working with principals, coaches and other school personnel to facilitate their participation in sports and other extracurricular activities. Going above and beyond, she provides them a true experience of American culture and history, organizing and funding visits to other cities and states, arranging local volunteer opportunities and cultural activities, and helping them network in their prospective career fields.
A member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and graduate of the Peoria County Civic Leadership Program, Parker is a volunteer with the Caterpillar St. Jude and United Way campaigns. She helped organize this year’s United Way kickoff event and has served on a fundraising committee for Easterseals for four years. She has also volunteered for NSBE, the Alzheimer’s Association, MS Foundation, Peoria Jaycees, the Loaves and Fish feeding ministry at First United Methodist Church, the George Washington Carver Center’s Masquerade Ball Fundraising and Planning Committee, and the African American Hall of Fame Planning Committee.
Parker has accomplished all of this while working full-time and attending Bradley University part-time. She is described as the epitome of a leader—and a prime example that you don’t have to be in a certain position to give back. iBi