Columbus Women in Business: Tara Abraham, CEO at Accel Inc. - Innovate New Albany | New Albany, Ohio

Columbus Women in Business: Tara Abraham, CEO at Accel Inc.

Tara Abraham has been a trailblazer for women business owners for 20 years and counting.

As the co-founder and co-CEO of Accel inc., Tara has made continuous improvements in the world of product development and packaging.

In the early- to mid-’90s, she was hired as the 72nd corporate employee at Bath and Body Works, putting her in an optimal position to learn and grow with the company. As a merchant in product development, she realized the need for a high quality manufacturing assembly company in Columbus, so she created her own solution.

Accel inc. was the first business to settle in New Albany’s state-of-the-art Health and Beauty Park.

“I love New Albany. It’s such a special city,” Tara said. “Besides the beauty, there’s so much connectivity and excitement. It’s always growing. People truly care about each other here.”

With a supportive network and The Limited, now LBrands, as her first customer, Tara was headed for success. She wanted to be an entrepreneur, and nothing would stop her. Today the Accel inc. staff is comprised of 470 employees, 22 different cultures, and 18 different languages.

“We’re very proud of the diversity & inclusion that Accel offers and supports,” Tara said. “Accel has a unique and special personality of its own. Our differentiator is our human talent, our structural engineers, our human quotient, if you will.”

LBrands, where Tara founded the idea for Accel inc., was not hesitant to become her first client. The company now acts as an extension of the LBrands merchandising and contract manufacturing team. Other clients include Honeywell, NetJets, and Cardinal Health.

“Still to this day LBrands is one of our largest partners; they are phenomenal and I am forever grateful.”

How she got here

Tara has a long list of philanthropies, goals, accomplishments, and awards, all of which, when combined, complete her.

“I’m most proud of my children; they are my biggest accomplishment,” Tara said.

Although she grew up in Dublin, Tara lives in Westerville with her two children, Austin (16) and Wynn (11). David, Tara’s husband, is Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Accel inc. and “the best business partner she could ever ask for.”

Tara says that Mr. Wexner taught her the importance of philanthropy and giving back to one’s community, a lesson she proves in her business and family values.

Most impressively, Tara was appointed to the National Women’s Business Council, a group of 16 women from across the country who report to the President of the United States, Congress, and Small Business Administration to lead the country’s initiatives to support women-owned businesses. During her 2010-2014 term, she was appointed as the Women’s Business Executive Council (WBENC) Representative.

She currently serves on the boards of several organizations including the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, United Way of Central Ohio, Peoples Bancorp Inc. and Peoples Bank, and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). Tara is also a trustee of the New Albany Chamber.

Tara has also been heavily involved with the American Heart Association of Central Ohio, United Way of Central Ohio, Ohio Health Kobacker Hospice, American Red Cross, St. Stephen’s Church, Action for Children, OSU College of Human Ecology Fashion & Retail Studies, and Wexner Center for the Arts.

She continues to win many awards, including the United Way Dr. Richard Aft Award (2016), the Neulogy Star Award (2016), the Diversity & Inclusion Champion Award for Diversity & Inclusion from COTC (2015), the Smart 50 Award for Innovation, Impact & Sustainability (2015), the Medical Mutual Pillar Award for Community Service (2015), Ohio’s Most Powerful and Influential Women Award from the Ohio Diversity Council (2014 & 2011), the Trailblazer Award from WBENC (2014), the Applause Award from WBENC (2014), Central Ohio’s Top Women’s Business Owner’s Award (2013), and Ohio’s Most Powerful & Influential Women from the National Diversity Council (2012).

“You have to love what you do.”

Tara’s father told her, “Hire the best talent that you possibly can, and surround yourself with people who are more talented and knowledgeable in the areas you are not.” This advice has worked in her favor, especially at Accel inc. and the New Albany Health and Beauty Park.

In terms of family time, Tara is dedicated, but also realistic.

“Attend all the events that happen only once in a lifetime of your children’s that you can’t get back. Don’t feel guilty because you can’t attend everything. Do your best to attend as many as you can. Be present. Be loving. Be happy. Be kind,” Tara says.

Tara is proof that when you combine creativity, strategy, and passion, you’re bound for success.

“Life is way too short. You have to love what you do.”

Content strategist by day, coffee-fueled artist by night. Passionate about journalism, art, innovation, and start-up life. Always learning, reading, and seeking inspiration.

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