Written By : Kelly Davis
Tamika Riley-McReynolds has worn many titles in her life. She is a successful business woman, a captivating speaker, public relations specialist, and a community leader/activist. Currently, she is the Youth Opportunity Coordinator & The Aide To The Mayor for the City Of Jersey City under the direction of Mayor Steven M. Fulop. However, the title she carries with the utmost pride and distinction is, First Lady of the Mount Olive Baptist Church in Jersey City NJ, where her husband, John H. McReynolds is the Senior Pastor.
As CEO of TRI, Inc., a boutique public relations firm, Tamika represented clients such as
Ne-Yo, JaRule, Jaheim, former NBA player Eric Williams, the late Jersey City Mayor Glenn D. Cunningham, and McDonald’s Franchisee Michale McGuire, just to name a few. She has worked on community projects involving Jadakiss, Queen Latifah, Sean "Diddy" Combs, Russell Simmons, Yandy Smith, NJ State Senator Sandra Cunningham, and NJ Congressman Donald Payne.
In July 2007, Tamika Riley “caught a case”; she was indicted with charges related to her romantic involvement with the legendary former Mayor of Newark, New Jersey. As a result of this federal witch hunt and prosecution, she did over 9 months Federal Prison. During that time, Tamika proved to be a conqueror! While graciously severing her time, she resolved within herself that her talents and resources would be dedicated to aiding and supporting incarcerated women transition back into society. It was imperative to Tamika that these women were able to regain and/or obtain success as it relates to self-esteem, parenting, marital support, job training, and job placement.
In addition, Mrs. McReynolds serves as a Board Member of Care Point Health Care, as well as Senator Cunningham’s Woman’s Advisory Group; she spearheads several other annual initiatives throughout the city, including toy drives for less fortunate children and “Back to School” supplies giveaways. She has partnered with organizations like the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, The York Street Project and Toys for Tots, as well as McDonald’s and Target. One of her most accomplished initiatives is the holiday stuffed animal giveaway at the Jersey City Medical Center, in their Pediatric ICU unit. Most recently, Tamika Riley Mc-Reynolds has been invited by former Governor James McGreevy, as a speaker on several panel discussions; supporting his nationally recognized Prisoner Re-Entry Program that was noted by former US Attorney General, Eric Holder, as a "National model" for re-entry platforms. Currently, Tamika is working with the producers of the McDonald’s Gospel Fest and Bishop Hezekiah Walker on numerous community enterprises that will service Communities!!!!Their overall mission is to host conversations within the community to address relevant issues such as gun violence, and exposing our youth to positive opportunities.
Because of her tireless work, dedication, and commitment to community service, First Lady McReynolds has been recognized during Women’s History Month with a Community Award presented by County Executive Tom DeGise, as well as being honored by Jersey City Mayor Steven M. Fulop with the 2018 Woman of Action Award. Collectively, Mr. and Mrs. McReynolds have received dozens of citations and proclamations from their local, state, and federal elected officials recognizing their work in the community. All of this, it is real simple, she ROCKS for our youth
What inspired the book ?
Catching a federal case is what inspired me to write the novel. With the book I wanted to walk into my vulnerability fearlessly. I want my novel to be the tool that inspires others to turn their pain into gain, and become victorious in all situations. The purpose of the book is to show women that no matter what your past looks like you can evolve. You just have to truly believe in your own progression .
Looking back, what advice would you give your younger self ?
The advice i would give my younger self is to seek an attorney and certified financial advisor first and foremost. With anything you are doing in business having legal and financial representation is a key factor in the growth and development of your business. It will determine a lot, it is what makes the difference between bringing freedom or costing you your freedom. Your legal and financial advisors should be your closest comrades.
You work with the city of Jersey City New Jersey, want is your title ?
My title with the City of Jersey City is the Youth Opportunity Coordinator and I recently got promoted to the position Aide To The Mayor (Steven Fulop). My role within this program is to reconstruct the youth development programs across the city, i am responsible for assisting with giving out the citations of honor for the mayor,and also aiding with celebrity scouting to come into the city to help empower the children to see that anything is possible with hard work. My biggest area of interest is a program called “Teen Magazine” that I founded 15 years ago. That program was designed to advocate for, and empower the youth to create literacy training in urban communities.
Let's talk about the prison reform program, what is it ? how will it bring a positive impact to the community ?
The Prison Reform helps our women to be empowered to be the best for them, their children, and spouses. It is also a segway to help women transition back into society, and the workplace. We are aiming to give people a second chance and assist in making good choices in life. No one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes, I personally believe that everyone deserves a second chance or a greater opportunity, so with this program we are molding the women and men to get back on their feet and live their best life!
What Can we expect from the book?
The book is telling my story yes, however it's also a guideline book with self improvement activities. In “from federal prison to first lady” I have a journal entry located in the back of the book where people can be empowered. I want people to know that “they can do it, they can win”. The journal is an area where they can write their thoughts in a safe place. When I was going through my darkness it helped me heal. I want to do it for other, i want them to heal so they can spread their light to others and it become a domino effect.
Do you see yourself writing more novels in the future ?
Absolutely, I will be writing more books. I feel as though this is a huge part of my calling. I am here to share and inspire those who are walking in the shoes of my past. I feel blessed and honored to be able to give back and walk in my truth through the pages of my novel, i’m positive this is the first of many.
Whats next for you now that your an author ?
I'm excited to announce that with the release of my first book, I I will be working on a book tour and speaking engagements. I'm ready to share my journey with the masses. I’m ready to make an impact im ready to make a difference,
What is your personal style ?
If I had to describe my personal style it is is simple but sexy, simplicity is key we all know this. I am a Queen and i believe in displaying that in my day to day looks. Thank you Fashion gxd magazine for having me.