Aniesia Williams: “This is a chance to reinvent yourself”

This is a chance to reinvent yourself. When life starts up again, you don’t have to go back to the things that brought you unhappiness. My ambition and drive have made all the difference in my career path. If you’ve lost sight of yours, this is a good time to rediscover it. As a part […]

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This is a chance to reinvent yourself. When life starts up again, you don’t have to go back to the things that brought you unhappiness. My ambition and drive have made all the difference in my career path. If you’ve lost sight of yours, this is a good time to rediscover it.

As a part of my series about the things we can do to remain hopeful and support each other during anxious times, I had the pleasure of interviewing Aniesia Williams.

Aniesia Williams is a proven thought-leader, journalist, and digital beast. Aniesia possesses over a decade of experience across digital & experiential marketing, branding, communications, and publicity. She has worked tirelessly without losing her vision or vibrancy to reflect the voices of brands and businesses that required a courageous leader to catapult them to success. She works in the trenches of Fortune 500 companies and top non-profits to build brands from being uncertain to undeniable. She contributes and edits insightful content that influences millions of readers via the top media outlets with a global distribution like Business Insider and Black Enterprise. She rightfully takes her seat at the table to speak on the needs for diversity and inclusion in the advertising industry. And while most consider these tasks as a part of her job description as Partner, Chief Experience Officer with Solve Innovation Group, Ms. Williams has consistently shown that this is her personal and professional plight. Her efforts exceed any nine-to-five obligations. She has made it her life’s work.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

I’m an entrepreneur turned corporate executive. My ability to strongly and meaningfully use education and experience in media and communications to build a bridge to companies that seek authentically-skilled and highly-capable people has been instrumental in my success.

The best part about entrepreneurship is that it helped me understand what “doing the work” means from a birds-eye view. If I didn’t work, then I didn’t eat. Building something from the ground up requires a certain tenacity, skillset, unwavering dedication, optimism, and vision that not everyone has. These skills allowed me to build a personal and professional brand that I’m extremely proud of, but it also taught me what decision-makers look for in their next leader. To join the ranks of those at the “top,” you have to reflect their tenacity, skillset, unwavering dedication, optimism, and vision — the very same traits that I continue to use as a Partner at Solve Innovation Group.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

Shonda Rhimes’ The Year of Yes. It’s only through trusting myself and saying yes that I’ve been able to build my brand successfully. I may have the drive and a strong work ethic, but it’s only through taking that personal leap in determining what success looks like for me that I’ve found real self-fulfillment. Also, when you are working for yourself, the hustle never stops, so I’ve been cautious about overextending myself, too, in all aspects of my life.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.

  1. This is a chance to reinvent yourself. When life starts up again, you don’t have to go back to the things that brought you unhappiness. My ambition and drive have made all the difference in my career path. If you’ve lost sight of yours, this is a good time to rediscover it.
  2. Build on the community you’ve found during the pandemic; this can outlast the crisis.
  3. Enjoy the unexpected opportunities like more time at home or with loved ones to sustain you. What you’ll learn about yourself is worth more than any retreat.
  4. You’ve made it this far; maybe it wasn’t easy, and it probably wasn’t fun, but you’re still here, and that matters a lot.
  5. It won’t last forever; what do you have to do now to be ready? So much of success comes from laying the foundation far in advance, like how internships pay off with connections and networking to land entry-level work where you hone your skills until you’re ready to fly.

From your experience or research, what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?

  1. Be aware. Who around you needs help? Maybe it’s the person who isn’t asking for it.
  2. Listen. The first step in helping those around you is to truly hear what they’re telling you.
  3. Ask. Find out if the person wants to just talk or wants your assistance in taking action.
  4. Brainstorm solutions. Sometimes the answer isn’t right in front of you. Don’t be afraid to get creative in supporting others. Most of us don’t have any pandemic experience to fall back on!
  5. Lead. Be mindful of the example you set in staying calm and focused.

What are the best resources you would suggest to a person who is feeling anxious?

Turn to trusted resources like NAMI for guidance. Keep up with exercise routines as a way to maintain focus on something other than the things that are making you feel anxious. Talk to a trusted friend or family member about your feelings. If your anxiety is interfering with your ability to make it through the day, consider talking to your physician/therapist about other alternatives for help.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

Fortune favors the brave. My success comes with a willingness to take chances. Things like networking are scary if you’ve never done them before, but reaching out and making connections pays off.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I’d love to see a movement that sincerely advocates for inclusion of the voices and needs of diverse communities at all levels of business decision-making. Let’s take the cliche off of diversity and inclusion at companies. It’s not enough to assume you know what your buyers are thinking and what their motivations are in purchasing your product or service; unless you ask them, you don’t know. Include communities of people of color in every aspect of the business, from crafting a message to creating the ads, the marketing strategy, and more.

What is the best way for our readers to follow you online?

I’m really in my element when it comes to social media, so I welcome hearing from readers through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Keep up with what I’m working on through LinkedIn and always on my website.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

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