This month we recognize Tara Durkot's dedication and outstanding work as an S&P Brand Champion.
**This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.**
Tell us a little bit about yourself! Where are you from, what is your background?
I was born and raised in Pennsylvania but reside in New Jersey now with my family. I attended college at University of South Carolina and did 4 years of ROTC before commissioning and serving in the Army. I loved my time on Active Duty as a nurse but ultimately decided to resign my commission in order to be home with my son. I have been interested in Sword and Plough since my time in ROTC and loved having some of the products throughout my time in the Army and especially now that I am a veteran! I am married to my husband, Brandon and have a son, Atlas, who is 9 months and another baby on the way and due this summer!
What is one thing on your bucket list you can’t wait to cross off and why?
Travel to New Zealand with my husband! We haven’t been able to travel as much as we would like and are now busy with our little family, but I can’t wait to take off one day with him and travel such a beautiful location as New Zealand.
What would be your theme song?
The Friends theme song, “I’ll Be There For You”. As a daughter, sister, friend, wife and mom, I strive to always be there for those I love.
Who would you love to interview and why?
I would love to interview Joanna and Chip Gaines because I love home renovations, woodworking and anything DIY. I am also always impressed by large families and they are raising one! In my next life I want to be someone who flips houses and does renovations with a team of people. I love the idea of rehabbing something or building something out of wood. For now, I love turning our new house into a home and am constantly working on new projects, furniture, Ikea hacks, and DIY ideas and love taking time to put towards that hobby of mine.
Do you work another job other than being a Brand Champion? Tell us about that position.
Yes! I am a full-time mom and stay home with my son. It is the hardest thing I have ever done but also the most rewarding and fun. It brings the term “full-time” job to life and keeps me busier than I ever could have imagined. I love it and love being home with him and hope to continue to be able to do so. We are preparing for our second child due this summer, so I have some job security there. I can’t imagine being busier but know I will be and am up for the challenge. There’s a lot of love, fun and laughter that comes from this job, so I feel very lucky!
How do you navigate being a Brand Champion with the other responsibilities you have in your daily life?
I try and give it dedicated time so that I don’t have to multitask while focusing on my S&P responsibilities. My family supports the idea of me setting aside time to do emails, correspondence and tabling events as I desire.
What inspired you to become a Brand Champion?
I love being a veteran and supporting the military as well as other veterans. I always thought this company stood out as a company with purpose and spot on mission. When the opportunity arose to learn more and get involved, I jumped at the chance.
Who are the veterans in your life? Why do they inspire you?
The veterans in my life that inspire me are the ones I worked side by side with and patients I cared for when I served. I learned so much from fellow ROTC classmates, instructors and eventually my nursing coworkers and patients. I never met such a hard working group of Army and Navy veterans as those I worked with on the wounded warrior floor at Walter Reed. My patients were stronger and expected to manage and navigate more than anyone should have to, yet they did and pulled through despite catastrophic injuries and career setbacks. I will never forget them.
What were your impressions of the military community before becoming a Brand Champion? How has that changed or evolved for you?
Since becoming a Brand Champion it has only broadened my experience and opened my eyes to more of the need to support jobs for our veterans. I think it is so important for companies to hire veterans and be recognized when veteran owned and run.
What motivates you?
My family motivates me. I love them and want to be the best wife and mom I can be for them.
What have you learned from being a Brand Champion?
I have learned so much about Sword and Plough and am so interested in how the company has grown to be so big and successful. It is really amazing to see the team of veterans and military supporters do such an amazing job with Sword and Plough. I have learned that people not only want to support the veteran community, but they also love the products so much or love the products and then the fact that they are also supporting the veteran community. It is a win-win, and people are always intrigued when you take the time to share details about the products and company.
What is your favorite Brand Champion giving partner and why?
Team Rubicon is my favorite giving partner because it is a veteran non-profit organization that I love and have been amazed by. The concept and mission behind Team Rubicon is so impressive. They stay very busy with the number of natural disasters happening across the country and world. They deploy to those locations to provide relief efforts and to help others. Their teams deploy with the type of effort that veterans especially embody -- the desire to take care of others.
What is your favorite Sword & Plough product?
The Sword & Plough Signature Tote is my favorite, and I carry with me everyday as I use it as my diaper bag! It comes with me everywhere and is the perfect bag for everyday use as well as travel and so much more. I love it!