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Shamica Tucker: Building a responsible community

Shamica Tucker, interim director of the Housing Authority of the City of Covington, found her passion for helping people when she was caught trying to figure out how to purchase her first home without much guidance.

Tucker, an Atlanta native, has an industrial engineering degree from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. Immediately out of college she accepted a role with Georgia Power Company, where she worked for 13 years as an engineer and project manager. Since her time with Georgia Power, Tucker started her own mortgage company in 2004. With the downturn of the economy, Tucker found herself in transition and ended up in Newton County volunteering with the Center for Community Preservation and Planning. Eventually, she was offered a job.

Through her position, Tucker found she was explaining the steps of purchasing a home and paying off debt and realized there was a need.

“I had been a mortgage broker, but even before that I purchased my very first home when I was 23,” she said. “I had just graduated with an engineering degree and at that time I could do calculus in my head, but how come I don’t understand what I just did with the process of buying a home. By the time I had a full understanding of it my friends were starting to purchase a home.”

Tucker initially learned how to budget after independently paying her way through college and that is when she initially started organically budget counseling.

“Nobody teaches you how to manage your money,” she said. “You learn how to count and people celebrate when you spend, but you don’t get a handclap if you walk up there and say ‘Hey, I saved $50,’ nobody’s going to clap for you, but if you say, ‘Hey look at my new shoes’ everyone will clap and be excited for you.”

Tucker started her non-profit organization in 2011 with the name Energema, which is a Greek word that means “the energy to do the work,” she said.

“I really believe that even though we are not taught how to manage our money, we all have to manage it and we all have what we need to do it,” she said.

Energema offers budgeting classes that help people reach their goals. She said her goal is to not teach anyone anything they don’t already know, she instead provides advice and helps people use the tools they already have.

“There’s a lot of stuff out there to be stressed about, money does not need to be one of them,” she said.

With prior property management and mortgage experience, Tucker was recruited by the housing authority to manage one of the properties, start workforce training and work with family self-sufficiency.

Tucker noticed that there was a link between the housing authority and the community missing and continuously worked to bridge that gap through attending different community meetings.

“Now we have some good partnerships throughout the community,” she said.

Tucker also serves as a member of the Porterdale Main Street board, the Georgia Piedmont Technical College (GPTC) advisory board for economic development, the Newton County Board of Education (BOE) after school program advisory board, the school system’s poverty awareness team and other organizations throughout the community.