Estimated reading time: 3 minute(s)

Social Media Strategist Tatum Shacklett joined Aker Ink in 2020 to improve our clients’ targeted social media outreach. We quickly learned Tatum possesses a sharp eye for data-driven campaigns, offers a fresh and creative perspective and seamlessly implements strategy to achieve short- and long-term goals. Right away, she became a crucial part of our team.

But what didn’t we know right away? Turns out, Tatum is a soccer star, a world traveler and a craniosynostosis survivor. Read on for a few more interesting facts you probably didn’t know about our resident social media whiz.

I Have a Soft Spot for Horses

I loved horses when I was younger and competed in English riding shows for about 10 years. My horse was a red Appaloosa named Doolie — and he had a huge personality: stubborn, goofy and trained only in Western riding when we first adopted him. I trained him in English riding while I was learning the techniques myself. My sisters and I competed across Colorado and bagged quite a few ribbons along the way. Riding and taking care of horses gave me a sense of responsibility from a young age.

My Worst Habit is Leaving Cabinets Open

I’ve struggled with forgetting to close kitchen cabinets since I was young. My family always jokes that they can tell I’ve been in the kitchen because all the cabinets will be open. I’m a work in progress — but I think I know the root cause: Everyone in my family used to give me a hard time for slamming the cabinets closed and making a bunch of noise, so since then I’ve just stopped closing them. Problem solved, right?

I Have Lived Around the World, but Arizona is Home

In college alone, I lived in four different places including Mobile, Ala., for two years, Bologna, Italy, for one year, New York City for five months and London for a little over a year. My love for travel was sparked when my mom moved me and my sisters to Goa, India, for six months when I was 13. Since then, I’ve always had a burning desire to get out and see the world. Although I had the best time exploring new places, it also helped me realize how great Arizona is. Arizona has everything I love: nature, sunshine, food, happy people, city life, outdoor activities and, most of all, family.

I Have a Big Scar from Ear to Ear

I have a gnarly scar on my head that zigzags across the top of my skull from one ear to the other. It’s always an interesting conversation when I go to a new hairdresser — they assume I was in some tragic accident and had brain surgery. In reality, I had craniosynostosis as a baby, which is when the soft spot starts closing too fast and the brain doesn’t have any room to grow. I had a big surgery at three months old to cut out a piece of my skull to create a new soft spot. Besides the stress it put my parents through and the scar on my head, it hasn’t affected my life.

Playing Soccer Taught Me More Than Athletic Skills

I played Division 2 soccer at Spring Hill College in Alabama and was a center-mid for most of my career. Playing college soccer was always a goal of mine. I loved the sport, but it was really difficult to get exposed to recruiters in small mountain town Durango, Colo. I moved to Scottsdale my senior year of high school. That’s when I got real visibility from college coaches and made my biggest improvements as a player. Although I was athletic and knew the game well, I was never the best player. This only motivated me more to work harder, improve my game and earn my spot on the field. I was lucky to have great coaches along the way who saw my potential and gave me the tools to succeed. My soccer journey taught me a lot about life, especially if you want something bad enough and are willing to work for it every day, you can make it happen!