Staff Spotlight: Meet Tamara Cummins—DTFW’s New Events and Programs Manager

The world of event planning is a wild undertaking. The price we pay to meticulously plan or prepare for the perfect occasion is precipitous, especially when you consider how unpredictable the payout can be. Vast amounts of hours, energy, and resources are spent to conjure up a few hours of bliss (or not), new connections (or not), or funds raised (or not). Despite all the risk, events have immeasurable potential, which is why we continue pouring time into curating and chasing them.


An event well executed has the capacity to form lasting memories on a personal level, and bring communities together on a larger one. Given the impact that meaningful events can have on the human experience, they’re an invaluable part of Downtown Fort Wayne. And while most people know how to throw a party, it takes a special type of person to master the art (and chaos) of event planning—someone who can transform a window of time into the type of enduring experiences we all seek.


Sounds a bit like magic, right? Luckily, DTFW has found someone who harnesses the power of executing excellent events. Meet Tamara Cummins, Events and Programs Manager for Downtown Fort Wayne!


Molly: Can you tell folks about your background and how you became interested in a career in events?


Tamara: From a young age, I knew that I wanted a career in entertainment. I was fascinated with acting, dancing, and making people happy. As a teen, I was invited to join a team of peers to plan summer camp. It was a rewarding experience that allowed me to explore my creativity with a small budget. I then started to dabble in birthday parties, bridal and baby showers, and weddings. After I graduated with a theatre degree, I was mentored by some very talented professionals in the event world, and was able to develop skills in large event planning and execution.


Molly: From my experience working with events, it feels like there’s always at least one fire to put out. How do you handle the chaos that can come along with event work?


Tamara: Well, I have a name plate on my desk that says “Chaos Manager”! One motto that has stuck with me is “Five Ps.” Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance. My personal motto is, “Over plan and over communicate.” Planning is what calms the chaos for me. If I ever feel uneasy about an event, that is my cue to clarify plans further and to communicate with the “need-to-knows” of the event. When you have the right people in the right places who understand the “why,” the easier it is to pivot when needed. As far as chaos in the moment, I take a deep breath, smile, and make an informed decision based on my planning.


Molly: What drew you to Downtown Fort Wayne—and what projects are you most excited about working on?


Tamara: I have had jobs all across the spectrum. I worked as a barista, camp counselor, call center representative for a local financial institution, ticket office supervisor, event coordinator, front of house manager for a music center, Assistant Director of Alumni Engagement for my alma mater Purdue Fort Wayne, just to name a few. The jobs that I have enjoyed most are the ones where I felt heard, was free to explore, and had fun. Planning for the city has always been on my bucket list, and I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to help curate memories in Fort Wayne.


This year I’m most excited for Night of Lights. I have fond memories of singing in the children’s choir for the lighting of Santa. It’s exciting to be a part of planning an experience that’s such a Fort Wayne staple. I feel fortunate to have walked into a legacy of events. And I’m very grateful for the foundation that was laid prior to my arrival.


Molly: Can you give readers a rundown of some events that you’re currently working on? 


Tamara: We are gearing up for BuskerFest on May 18, 2024 from 3pm-9pm. This year we are having a street circus and are excited for the spectacle that a circus brings. We are also bringing back Lunch on the Square on Thursdays and Downtown Live on Fridays.


Molly: Events aside, can you talk a bit about yourself? What are some of your personal passions outside of work?


Tamara: I am a creative who loves exploring the arts.  I am currently on the Board at Arena Dinner Theatre and am an actress at heart.  When I get free time, I enjoy game nights, traveling, exploring food and cultures, celebrating others, and contemplating the wonders of the world.



Want to stay up-to-date on all the events Tamara’s working on? Be sure to follow Downtown Fort Wayne on Facebook and Instagram!

Interested in volunteering for future events? Drop Tamara a line!

Molly Conner is a Fort Wayne native and freelance writer. Having lived in Downtown Fort Wayne throughout her twenties, she loves watching her stomping grounds grow. With her love of storytelling and community in tow, she’s eager to tell Downtown Fort Wayne’s story piece-by-piece—exploring the people, spaces, and organizations that make it thrive.