Tymira Cunningham

Within a few months of working part-time at Davis Cookie Collection, Tymira Cunningham realized she needed more from the job in order to reach her goals: more hours every week and more money per hour. Just as important, she realized what she already had in the job: a supportive boss and room to grow.

“I love how they treat people,” Cunningham said. “You know how we say, ‘In a perfect world …’? Like, ‘In a perfect world, we would do this when this happened.’ Well, I feel like Davis Cookies is that perfect world.”

Cunningham tried taking on a second part-time job, but she could not find the right combination of appropriate hours and comfortable environment. She considered quitting Davis Cookies to find a full-time job elsewhere. Then she confided in Martha Nicks, her professional development coach at Cincinnati Works.

Nicks encouraged Cunningham to research what a full-time job with similar duties pays at other companies; determine if she could meet her financial goals on that salary; and, if so, to ask Davis Cookie Collection owner Christina Davis for a raise to that salary.

“I was terrified,” Cunningham said. “That is not something I am used to doing. Martha really helped me get the research together and figure out how I should ask.”

Nicks and Cunningham found multiple surveys that showed similar jobs paid about $4 per hour more than Cunningham was making at the time. They determined that she could meet her primary financial goal – affording an apartment of her own – if she could earn that $4-per-hour raise by the end of the summer. Nicks suggested that Cunningham ask for a gradual raise: $2 immediately, then another $2 after a few months.

Davis agreed to the full raise, effective immediately, and bumped Cunningham from part-time to full-time. “I completely flipped,” Cunningham said.

“She has been a great worker here,” Davis said. “She works hard, she cares, she wants to know everything she can. When you find someone who treats the business like it’s their own, you’ve got to hold onto them. I’m just glad we were in a position where we could make that sacrifice to keep her here.”

Both Davis and Nicks said they have noticed an increased confidence in Cunningham as her role has increased. Davis Cookie Collection is still a small, family-run business, but Davis has big dreams for the company and Cunningham is in position to grow along with it.

“You have shown that you are ready to be independent and seize life,” Nicks said. “You are crushing all your goals, and I am really proud of you.”