MEET ANISTIA THOMAS - PHIARIA ENTERPRISES
Female CEO, Leader, Advocate, and most importantly a bonafide Mother, Anistia Thomas is empowering women near and far with her extensive business experience, mentoring and community leadership. She’s here talking to the Female CEO about her journey so far and the biggest adventure of all, the birth of her baby boy Grand. In fact, in true Gamechangette style she held the most incredible baby shower recently (you can read more about that here) but instead of a traditional shower, she wanted to bring the message of Empowerment, Motherhood, Career and Life+Balance Wellness to her invited guests and she certainly did it in style. Her Baby Shower included a women's empowerment panel with over 130 female guests, bringing together a great mix of all distinguished dignitaries, influential, and mainstay Millennials. Talk about a Powerhouse!
Want to know more about this fabulous female? Of course, you do!
So, ANISTIA, What’s your story?
My story is so involved that it should be a mini series alongside a novel!! I am a Corporate Entrepreneur, Community Leader, Philanthropist, and now most phenomenally a Mother. In the era of Transparency, I am also a Former Wife to a former State Senator, as a result of that relationship a Domestic Violence Survivor, and Prior Business Failurette. All the bells and whistles are a part of my biography but my Transparent Truth is most imperative to me. There are many stories shaped as to how one wants to orchestrate them- however I want my story of Transparency to be one that others can gravitate to and inspire themselves to take action after reading. I want my audience to genuinely get a sense of knowing me through personalised experiences.
What gets you out of bed in the morning and excites you most about your work?
My child motivates me to get up and execute more progressively than ever before- I now know the true meaning of purpose. As soon as I gave birth, I was sending business emails literally 1 hour afterwards- I was tired but also had a SuperPower of energy that overcame my body and mindset.
What excites me about work is the fact that I am helping others to acquire their best life. I have been instrumental in creating legacies and helping others provide for themselves and their families. There is much humble gratification in knowing that I am utilised in changing lives on a consistent basis. It is all spiritually connected.
Who inspires you?
People who fail and are humble enough to admit it and share are my biggest inspirations. Anyone who has publicly failed at something and has been able to bounce back from it have personally inspired me. Life inspires me- even though that is considered a "What" vs. a "Who"- Life is so real that it moves like a Human Being- it essentially is.
How do you handle criticism?
I am highly criticised often being one who has been graced with long term success and speaking up in arenas where society deems Women as "Those who should stay in their place". Criticism is inate as a community leader -Change for the better is placed on your shoulders as leaders and it increases by being in the problem solving business. I take criticism humbly, but with evaluated discernment. It is important to evaluate and weigh criticism however for not all criticism is valid.
Were you always entrepreneurial?
Yes- both of my parents were entrepreneurs- I never witnessed them in working for someone else. It was common ground in our family for me to be an entrepreneur- I interned each summer at age 12, and my first client projects were for Prince and Will Smith. I started my first business as a collegiate student at The School of The Art Institute of Chicago while working pro bono for major fashion brands to get the hands on Executive Management Operations experience. I also believe it is great to work for someone to gain experience and learn from mistakes. The expertise gained and the lessons learned were priceless.
What has been the most exciting project you have been involved with?
The most exciting project probably was as Founding President of the Ann Arbor Ypsilanti Black Chamber (a chapter of the Michigan Black Chamber - division of The U.S. Black Chambers). History was made, I had to start from scratch and formulate a board, plan events, generate memberships etc.- you name it. It was an additional 40 hours of time I did not have but I believed in it so much. In a town that promoted diversity it was historically segregated and Klu Klux Klan concentrated. I had a phenomenal board- We surfaced 3200 businesses in the Washtenaw county area that most were unaware of. I am proud to be in the history books for such a monumental change in the Michigan economy. Another initiative I was invisible in initiating is through that association I was on the Task Board of (African American Initiatives) of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago developing financial regulations to have financial institutions fund Entrepreneurs of Color and startups through Character based requirements as opposed to credit and revenue streams. When I look at all of the Detroit movement regarding Entrepreneurs, I know where the root of where it all started was birthed from. I am proud of each entrepreneur who has benefitted from this including Detroit Development Fund, Michigan Women's Foundation, MotorCity Match, NEIdeas, Invest Detroit, and so many others.
How would you like to be remembered?
I would like to be remembered as someone who was a resilient die hard Prowess, passionate in all she did from love to pain- respected but never embraced the State of Opinion.
Are you planning ahead to balance your work and motherhood and how will you fit it all in?
Well with Motherhood- plans are ridiculous-I am a heavy Planner where my plans have plans- they get cast to the side quickly. I planned to be on Maternity leave- not. I am working past full time with an infant in my lap- making things happen. He has his own office designed for him while i work when he is there. Planning is ideal but it is also teaching me to plan to live life for a change. My child cares less about life's schedule- it is totally sporatic and it gives me life! I love him so!!
What have you found difficult on your journey?
The most difficult for me in my journey is dealing with others who are negatively opinionated of my personality and success, especially those who don't know me- no matter how kind I am- for your success makes some cringe- moreso those proactively jealous for there is a difference. Proactive jealous people actually take action in attempting to stop your shine. Understand those who are unhappy and it is a reflection of their own insecurities.
What’s your top tip for our awesome female entrepreneurs reading this article?
Whatever you do, plan your strategy around Passion, People, & Profit. Deep down, most people don't want to be rich- they just want to know rich people to admire-Otherwise they would diminish the fear of success they possess.
What would you change about your journey or what would you avoid if you could do it over again?
I would have never dated certain men I was in a relationship with!!! I formerly was a magnet for Narcissists who are drawn to my success and persona- and pretend to be great in the honeymoon phase but end up revealing the opposite. At the same time I embrace such a loss, because it also manifested my son, therefore it was worth it.
What’s your current number one played song?
Psalm 42 by Tori Kelly- my son loves her music and her voice. Secondly and "Baby Shark" renditions.
What do you know for sure?
I know for sure if I were not an entrepreneur anymore that I would be dead. I would prefer for my memoriam to be placed at my business- my spirit will still be working on something In the afterlife.
Do you have a book or favourite podcast recommendation for our Female CEO members?
Rya Hodges’ Podcast about Intentional Living. Not just because she is my niece, but she is taking on my torch of community leadership passing down to her. She is currently US Ambassador for @futurefemales and she is so wise beyond her years! I literally am taking notes myself.
What have you learned about yourself through this entrepreneurial journey?
That my entrepreneurial purposes have shifted - I am much more about my wants now- when I started it was being successful for others and to provide for others. Now it's about what type of life do I want for myself here on out.