Matthew and Tiffany are a union that is adored by many and everyone who has the honor to know them!
Cynthia Downing, friend of Matthew and Tiffany
Tiffany Jana and Matthew Freeman facilitate difficult, life-changing conversations in their work as consultants focusing in the area of diversity and inclusivity. They provide safe spaces to discuss topics many lack the language, experience, proclivity and, at times, courage to do. Doing this requires that they practice the same principles in their own lives.
Authenticity in the workplace and at home is essential. They demonstrate a profound respect for one another and their relationship. They are dedicated to growing personally and professionally and support one another in doing so. How they met and the intentional growth of their relationship undoubtedly contributed to this.
Tiffany hired Matthew to work with her at another firm. She knew he was capable and she respected his abilities. Slowly, that relationship grew. Tiffany had three children and both Tiffany and Matthew had been married before — neither was in a hurry to marry again. Would the children accept Matthew? Could they make a marriage work? Was it worth it? There were so many questions.
Purposefully and intentionally, they nurtured their relationship. Matthew slowly began spending more time with Tiffany and her children. They asked about him and wanted him included in their activities. Tiffany and Matthew engaged in several months of pre-marital counseling to identify their strengths and potential challenges as a couple. They wanted to “stack the deck” (as Tiffany stated during our meeting) in their favor prior to marriage. They even have a prenuptial agreement. You can learn more about it by watching this YouTube video.
That purposeful, intentional nature shines in their work and their marriage. They make time for one another (weekly dates are a MUST) and support each other’s hobbies, friendships and interests.
We respect each other first and foremost. We are equal partners in all that we do, at work and at home.
Working together at home and at the office requires both to really focus on the strengths and gifts each bring to the relationship and partnership. This has helped them to minimize conflicts and play to the gifts and talents of one another.
They also aren’t afraid to ask for help. They hired a business coach to help them delineate tasks at work and help them work more effectively. This has made a huge difference for them and their work, helping them to leave work at work (no small challenge when you work with your spouse). They both have “veto power” (as you learned in the video) to request a therapist when they find themselves in a space they can’t negotiate alone.
Don’t be afraid to seek outside help to navigate your challenges. And don’t underestimate how important open honest communication is.
We are inspired by the love and care Tiffany and Matthew show one another, their families and our community. They are committed to loving and growing together and are doing their best to leave RVA a better place. We are thankful they are. We can all learn from them.