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Meet the woman who is the new voice of Tampa International Airport

A senior Black woman with glasses and a black t-shirt smiles in a audio recording sound booth.
Tampa International Airport
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Recording the greeting for the Voice of TPA was Coretta Youmans' first time in a professional audio recording booth. Youmans has long dreamed of using her voice to help impact others, either in corporate training videos or as a reader for audio books.

Recent retiree Coretta Youmans won the airport's Voice of TPA contest, and her voice will greet passengers during July on the airport's shuttles.

Returning home on a recent flight, Coretta Youmans listened to the voice of Tampa Mayor Jane Castor greet passengers while riding the shuttle to the Main Terminal of Tampa International Airport.

“I looked at my friend and I said, ‘I would love to do that one day,’ and he told me, ‘you will.’”

Hear her message

After last year’s inaugural fundraiser for United Way Suncoast, the airport brought back the Voice of TPA contest, where one winner gets the opportunity to greet passengers for the entire month of July as the voice of the Airport shuttles.

At her friend’s urging, Youmans entered the contest in mid-May by making a donation to United Way Suncoast.

“Prior to applying for it, I had a conversation with the Lord, and I said ‘You know, I want this,’ because I know I’m trying to move into being a voice actor now that I’m retired,” Youmans said. “I submitted my information, and I got a phone call 30 days later, and they said that I was chosen, and I was so excited.”

In mid-June, Youmans entered a professional audio recording booth for the first time to record her voice for the greeting message that will be heard by thousands of arriving and departing passengers riding TPA’s trams.

A senior Black woman stands in a Tampa International Airport shuttle in a blue dress with her hand cupped around her ear.
Tampa International Airport
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“There were real live professional cameramen giving me the cues, ‘Go. Stop. Record. Do it again. Step in. Walk out of the booth.’ It was an experience that I want to continue,” Youmans said

Other than having an opportunity to kickstart her voicing career, Youmans took the opportunity to make tourists feel as welcome as possible when entering her hometown.

"That's what it's all about — making people feel welcome when they come home to the airport, whether they live in Tampa or whether they're first time visitors, because I want that wherever I go," Youmans said.

Youman’s greeting went live on July 1 and will run through the entire month.

“A lot of times, travelers are stressed and anxious. So to hear a calming voice, a timeless voice, and one that you want to hear — I feel it would calm them and give them excitement for their adventure," Youmans said. "I think it would be a great experience for the thousands of travelers in and out of Tampa Airport.”

In her words, “Thanks for choosing America’s favorite airport. You now know why so many people keep moving here. Tampa Bay is awesome. We hope to see you real soon.”

Sarah Petrowich is the WUSF Stephen Noble Social Media intern for summer of 2022.