29 May Member Spotlight: Tiki Bates
My name is Tiki Hall Bates and yes, Tiki is my birth given name. I am a 5th generation Floridian and grew up in Pinellas County with a family of restaurateurs and married a 4th generation Floridian from a family of citrus farmers. You can say I am a true Florida cracker.
In 1992 I graduated with honors and a dual Bachelor degree in Business and Marketing from the University of South Florida. Soon after I started working for a family-owned funeral home where I completed the Funeral Service Program at St. Petersburg Junior College in 1995 and received my license to offer cremation services.
The funeral home was bought by the largest funeral provider in the world and they moved me to Texas where I worked and traveled the US focusing on cremation products, sales and marketing. I was part of the Kenyon International Emergency Services team that assisted on preservation and inventory of personal effects from the disasters of Swiss Air Flight 111 and TWA Flight 800. With the time I had left, I earned my Masters in Business, with honors, from LeTourneau University.
I returned to Florida and worked for a variety of family and corporate owned funeral providers, some of which still had me traveling the US. It gave me time to reflect that this male-dominated industry was in need of a female touch and so in 2010 I founded my own cremation business, www.Community-Cremation.com, where I provide cremation services without the traditional funeral home experience or expense. I felt that in this industry unless you have the title of “funeral director”, you are not seen as important. So in 2018 I completed the few courses I needed from St. Petersburg College and received my funeral director license and status.
I know it seems I am a perpetual student and I guess I am. I may be done with any formal education but now am part of a diverse group, making new friends, networking with other business women throughout Florida, and enhancing my personal and professional skills. I am talking about Business and Professional Women (BPW) where I have been a member of the St. Petersburg-Pinellas local organization (BPW/SPP) since 2015, received BPW/SPP member of the year in 2017-2018, was BPW/SPP membership chair from 2017 to 2019, and now am your BPW/FL business manager.