Tammy Thompson, Founder of T3 Consulting, is an Expert in the Psychology of Poverty

Tammy Thompson has taken her personal experiences with poverty and transformed them into helping others. She is a dynamic force who understands the power in experience and the power in struggle. Her openness and optimism has led her to become the owner of T3 Consulting, which offers counseling and training in financial literacy and the psychology of poverty. She is also the Executive Director of the nonprofit organization Catapult Greater Pittsburgh, which engages in emergency resource distribution, peer-to-peer support, wealth building, and more to ensure that systematically disenfranchised communities can achieve economic justice.

Can you tell us about your company and about what you do?

I started my consulting business back in 2009. I was really interested in helping specifically Black women get more information about becoming a first time home buyer. I wanted to help people who never thought they would become a homeowner. I have been homeless and housing insecure before, and home ownership is something that I love getting folks connected to. I started working with people I knew who were considering home ownership and who wanted to get the real information that they needed to know. That progressed into working with other organizations. I have always worked a 9 to 5 job, so this was just something that I was doing on the side. In about 2013, I got fired from a job where I was offering financial literacy programming, development programming, and homeownership programming. I decided I was going to do consulting full time and started working with local nonprofits in Pittsburgh that offer homeownership programming, specifically for low income families. You have to have a special skill set to work with people who have been taught that some of these opportunities are not for them. They think they don’t have the opportunity, credit, or income, and I’m here to correct that and tell them that they can do it and here's now. I realized a lot of these nonprofits were doing this without coming from the perspective that I had as a person who had experienced poverty.

The financial aspect of overcoming poverty is extremely important, but the psychological and emotional component is even more important. Some people don’t believe that it’s for them. It’s not going to matter how much education you put in front of them or how much information you give them. If they have been convinced that this is not something for people like them, it’s not going to happen. So, I started developing this psychology of poverty training based on my own experiences. I used to fall into the mental traps that poverty could create. I had a horrible personal relationship with money, so I started sharing my own personal experiences and traumas with a lot of my clients who were coming from similar backgrounds, and people could resonate with that. It changed the way I was offering financial education and the way I was presenting these technical terms and skills related to wealth building. I started developing programming that had at the core of it, the psychology of poverty and people loved it. I started seeing a lot of success through this program from people who felt like nobody had understood where they were coming from before.

Can you tell us about your journey making your documentary?

When I started working with specifically low income women, I realized that there were a lot of people doing the same work that I was doing who did not have a solid understanding of poverty. They weren’t understanding that poverty was not just about money, but a lot more about experiences and how those experiences were impacting them mental