Case

Tina M Williams & Best Reflections Marketing
An Every Day Erin Brockovich

Introduction: "Get out of the house! Get the kids and get out of here right now! Run! Don't go downstairs! Just get out of here!" Tina heard her husband, Jack, frantically screaming as he came up from the basement.

The next thing Tina remembered was seeing him storming around opening windows, propping open the doors and mumbling something about getting the fans out of the garage as he shoved her, the three babies and their St. Patrick's Day meal into the car and directed Tina to go straight to their inlaws. Jack was acting crazy and Tina was feeling very dizzy and nauseous. Was she scared or was it something else?

As confused and scared as Tina was at that moment, it was nothing compared to the events of the next several weeks that would change everything about her and her family's life as they had known it for the worse...and for the better. Tina's house was much more than just a roof over the Williams' family's heads. It was their home. That home was part of their dreams. Tina and Jack were doing more than just raising their family under that roof. Tina was building a home based business and together, Tina, Jack and the girls were building their future inside of those walls.

In an instant Tina's dreams of being a successful mompreneur were gone. Her family's health, home and quality of life had been forever compromised by the negligence of someone else. Tina had to transform herself into the only advocate her family would have to right this wrong...but could she do it?

Background: Growing up in New York, Tina attended a small Private School. The decision to change schools going into her High School years was one Tina had made herself.

Tina was an excellent student maintaining high grades but socially, she was low key. If there had been a yearbook category for "most likely to never speak up for herself" Tina would have won it.

Like most teens, Tina went along with the crowd until she attended a Sadie Hawkins Dance in her senior year of high school. Tina's best friend had been jilted by her boyfriend and had revenge on her mind. Tina found her voice and experienced her first real strong sense of social justice when she discovered that, while everyone else was enjoying the dance, her buddies were out slashing the car tires of the guy who broke her friend's heart. These were Tina's friends, but she knew they had gone too far and had to be held accountable.

After college Tina worked at a top Manhattan Employment Agency. It was there that Tina's sense of social justice found it's way into her professional world. "We get paid a lot to lie for a living" is what Tina told Jack when the first started dating and he was awed by her earnings. Unfortunately for Tina, her earning capacity was limited due to her strong sense of "doing the right thing" and "treating others as she would want to be treated".

Tina was not a good liar. What she was good at though, was getting one of the highest referral rates in the office. Building a reputation and strong relationships was as important to Tina as building her bank account.

Tina's family had been poisoned. Not just poisoned on that fateful St.Patrick's day in 1998, but Tina had discovered that the ailments her family had been suffering from over the past three years were due to the first termite treatment done prior to moving into the house in 1995.

Tina, Jack and their three little girls, ages 1, 2 and 3 had chemically poisoning. Their immune system were compromised forever. Their home was later to be destroyed with everything they owned still in it due to the contamination levels determined by the local health departments and the environmental agencies. How could they survive this? Who was to be held accountable? Tina's sense of social justice and the need to protect her family would serve as her best weapon in the incredible challenges she would later be faced with.

Professional Challenge: Ten years later, the Williams' have forged a new path for their lives.

Tina found a new career being the only true advocate her family had. The age of environmental awareness was just setting in so Tina had to fight every day to convince others, even her family members, that this poison had robbed them of their health, their home and their dreams.

Tina had to take on the role of doctor, lawyer, politician, scientist, environmental advocate, PR rep, researcher and writer all while still trying to raise her 3 daughters and keep her family together and the heads financially above water.

Tina had jumped head first into the male dominated world of owning and operating a landscaping business when they needed two incomes. She had done the bookkeeping for Jack's landscaping business but now she was the sole proprietor in an industry that, at the time, had very few female members. She also determined that this business would be pesticide free. Although it had not been her dream job, Tina successfully ran a chemical free landscaping business based out of her home.

The everyday battles of fighting the ensuing lawsuits, health issues and state of their lives ultimately required Tina to sell that business and go back to focusing on securing accountability by the termite company for their negligence and the chemical company for their long time distribution of a product that they knew was poisoning the public.

Tina knew a lot about pesticides but the 'brick hit her over the head' the day she was cleaning the bathroom in their newest rental home with an over-the-counter cleaning product. Her 3 year old started complaining that she couldn't breathe. Tina remembers thinking, "Oh, my God, I am poisoning her again!" as the tears rolled down her face while she walked the baby outside to get her fresh air.

Tina realized in that instant that the lawsuit and career path she was considering wasn't just about "righting the wrong" that happened to her family but it was about holding all chemical and pesticide manufacturers accountable for their lack of full disclosure regarding the true dangers these products were potentially responsible for. Tina knew she had to raise public awareness and educate consumers to help keep her own children safe and healthy. Could Tina build a business around her family's loss of health and home that could provide her with the financial security she had once had?

Personal Challenge: Spending everyday reliving their family's years of struggles was tiring both physically and mentally. Tina had spent countless hours researching, speaking to the public, acting as an environmental advocate and in court all while trying to be a mom to her three girls and a wife to Jack. Tina still finds tears in her eyes as she recalls the day she sold her engagement ring and her Swarovski Crystal for a fraction of their worth. The Williams' family did eventually prevail in the legal system just in time to discover that she was to be a New Old Mom at age 40! Her fourth daughter was a blessing that came with a whole new world of challenges both personally and professionally.

Wrap Up: They say, "Hell has no fury like a woman scorned". That quote doesn't hold a candle to the fury a mother scorned. Tina proved that point after her babies were poisoned. The image is still burned in Tina's mind of her husband holding their one year old little girl in his arms pleading with the owner of the termite company to tell him the truth. Was it dangerous to his baby's health? That image spurred her to hold all those involved accountable, change laws, rally with the EPA to get the product that poisoned her family banned and to win a case precedenting lawsuit.

Educating the public about the dangers of pesticides has taken a back seat for Tina professionally. Tina's company, Best Reflections Marketing focuses on developing the KLT Factor, ethics and accountability in business through social marketing. Teaching others to create their best reflections personally and in business takes the place of educating others on environmental hazards. Tina has recently created From Poisoned to Prosperity to help others who have been effected by chemicals know that there is life beyond those exposures.

Tina is an everyday Erin Brockovich. Today she strives to be role model for her four daughters. She shares her experiences through her New Old Moms Clubs in hopes that others will learn from her. Tina witnesses the impact these events have had on her family as her daughters speak out against pesticide use and chose to be advocates for social justice in their own young lives. Still, Tina wonders if she has taken the right path professionally. Tina lives by the motto, "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" but worries about the unforseen scars that might someday surface in her girls.