14:12 PM

Florida retiree says winning Voice of TPA Contest was meant to be

Like many people, Coretta Youmans loves to travel.  And one of the few things she loves even more than her trips, is her hometown airport, Tampa International.

Returning home on a recent flight, Youmans says she heard the recorded voice of Tampa Mayor Jane Castor welcoming passengers to the Tampa Bay area while on the shuttle ride to the Main Terminal.

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

At her friend’s urging, Youmans decided to enter the Voice of TPA contest in mid-May by making a donation to United Way Suncoast.

“I said, ‘I would love that.  It’s a great opportunity, for a great cause,’” Youmans said. “When I entered, I specifically said, ‘Lord, I want this.’”

Several weeks later, Youmans got the call: She’d been randomly selected out of hundreds of entrants as the 2022 Voice of TPA winner.

“I was sitting at a counter stool and almost fell off," Youmans said of her surprise and excitement.

Voice of TPA 2

Last week, the recent retiree arrived at TPA to record her voice for the greeting messages that will now be heard by thousands of arriving and departing passengers riding the Airport’s iconic trams during the month of July.

It was her first time ever in a professional audio recording booth, but something about the experience made Youmans feel right at home.

“I felt so comfortable when I was in there," she said. "I felt like this is where I belong.”

In fact, Youmans has long dreamed of using her voice to help impact others, either in corporate training videos, or perhaps as a reader for audio books.

Voice of TPA 1The Voice of TPA contest may now help make that dream come true, she said.

“When I saw that recording booth, I was like this is real.  This is really happening.  They’re recording my voice!”

But more important than launching a second career, Youmans said, will be the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to welcome hundreds of thousands of people to the Tampa Bay area, many of them first-time visitors.

“I want them to feel welcome about coming to the Tampa Bay area.  I want them to be excited about the things they will see.”

Youman’s greeting is scheduled to go live on July 1 and run though the entire month. She plans to enjoy the experience while also enjoying her retirement, which will likely include at least a couple of trips in and out of Tampa International Airport while her very own voice is still welcoming passengers on the shuttles.

“Tampa is a city of unity, a city of love and togetherness," Youmans said. "It’s developing and hundreds of thousands of people come in and out of this Airport,  just to visit this city because it is so beautiful and has so many things to do. I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity and there’s no better place to come home to than Tampa Bay.”