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Women in Business

Amanda Tummons on Staying Grounded

Amanda Tummons, partner at Husch Blackwell, works with national and international clients. She talks about how she approaches high-pressure situations.

by Jamie Thomas

Dec 14 2022 at 8 a.m.

Amanda Tummons
Amanda Tummons is a partner at Husch Blackwell, with extensive experience advising in procurement and aircraft acquisitions. Amanda works with international, national and local 417-land clients.

Biz 417: Your role involves working with international businesses with a lot of money on the line—how do you keep the potential pressure from getting too much?
Amanda Tummons: You have to take the numbers out of it. You still have to understand the numbers in context of a company's business. It's all relative, so you have to understand the relative nature of the numbers, but not let them scare you. And as a young associate, that was hard to do.

Biz: How has it changed over time?
Amanda Tummons: Now I look at it more in terms of what's the value of the contract to the client. That's a perspective you only get after time because I think the first deal that I worked on had really high dollar figures. But, you kind of stop thinking about the overall dollar figure. Sometimes the bigger deals with the bigger clients make me less nervous, because usually those decisions are being made at the top of the company by people who have made these decisions before. But I might do a deal with less dollars but for a company where it's a whole lot of money for them. It may be their first deal of that size.

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Biz: How do you approach those situations with smaller companies who might be making larger or international transactions for the first time?
Amanda Tummons: We talk a lot about what type of risks they're willing to take. For instance, how integral is what we're doing to their business and their business success? What are they willing to put on the line to make that happen? I really try to walk people through what kind of leverage they have, what's important to them. Then we walk through all those things to really value what they're getting versus the risk that they're taking on.

I think a lot of it comes down to personality. You talk to people, see what they know. I don't assume that they don't know anything, but I also don't assume that they know it. I think that's a fine line to walk. A lot of times I tell them if I'm saying something that you think is too basic and you already know, let me know. Because I don't know what you don't know at this point. I try to be very upfront: I'm not trying to talk down to you, I'm not trying to teach you things that you don't know, but for both of our benefits I have to assume that you don't know these things. But I don't want to make them feel bad about it either.

Biz: With a number of your clients doing international business, do you get a lot of opportunities to travel?
Amanda Tummons: I try to go visit clients or potential clients. There's something about meeting each other face-to-face, sitting down and having dinner or lunch or coffee, or talking in a conference room face-to-face that you can't get on a Zoom call.

It's always more rewarding to work on things when you're not just working with somebody who you have these very transactional experiences with, but when you know about their family, you've gone to a dinner together, because it's not an easy job. Their job isn't easy, my job may not be easy [...] there's stress on both sides. They have stress. We have stress. And so if you can kind of get to know the people it makes it easier and more rewarding to work on it.

Biz: You’re not from Springfield originally. With all your opportunities for travel, what keeps you in 417-land?
Amanda Tummons: An easy part of that answer is my husband and his family are here, but I don't think that's all of it. There are things my family likes to do around here, we like to go camping, we like to go to the lake. I get to do all those things and still live here, but I can get on a plane and be in Dallas. I can get to anywhere from here. My support system's here. [I’m] not going anywhere.