Walker’s Legacy Profiles recognize unique women of color in business that embody the legacy of Madam C.J. Walker, the first female self-made millionaire. In this installment, meet Chandra Anderson.
Who is she? Chandra Anderson, a model, actress, and designer representing both international & national campaigns; as well as founder, of The Model Behavior a collective of models dedicated to supporting women in need. A self-proclaimed ‘problem solver’ she attributes to her training in Architecture at Howard University. The Model Behavior continues her entrepreneurship endeavors, which began at 13 when she created her first jewelry design business.
My first job: Jewelry designer and owner.
The biggest inspiration behind your career: in The Model Behavior was to build a bridge connecting my network to my passion for assisting and supporting women. Through research, I learned about the inaccessibility of feminine products for women who are displaced and living in shelters. Many of them suffer from humiliation, depression and significant health issues related to improper or a complete lack of sanitary products. This is inexcusable. As women we can wholeheartedly empathize with and must come together to support our sisters.
One professional thing you would change about your career in your twenties: Working in the architecture field with a lack of experience in how to handle sexual harassment in a professional setting. I always viewed myself as an audacious, independent woman capable of dealing with whatever came my way. One job in particular during my first day I was notified there is no such thing as sexual harassment and subsequently forced to sign a waiver. That was merely foreshadowing to a horrifying boss and enduring months of inappropriate requests and demands that I swiftly denied. My humor ‘saved’ me in many instances but only for the time being. It wasn’t until a few years later that I truly understood the lasting effects. The truth was I did the best I could with the skills I had at the time. That experience gave me depth and understanding into the shared experiences we as women endure in our professions and even more so as a woman of color.
This propelled my passion of supporting women, through mentoring and creating discussions to assist one another and share our skill sets.
Tell us more about your business: The Model Behavior is a collective of women supporting women in need. Our first National Campaign, ‘Box or Bag’, which concludes on January 22nd raises awareness, hard goods and funds to reach our goal of providing feminine products for 100 displaced women and those living in shelters for 1 year. This is a growing need and commonly overlooked in the realm of donations and we must help our sisters. The Model Behavior will be giving 100% of donations received to their 2015 four locations; Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. Each location has TMB Ambassadors who are utilizing their platforms for powerful acts of kindness and accepting local donations. We are accepting boxes or bags of feminine products and online donations thru our Generosity site. If you are interested in joining the movement please check out our website: themodelbehavior.com
Your thoughts about women of color in business: To not have Women of Color represented in business is to attempt to play a symphony without a conductor. We are instrumental for the success of any group or corporation and pave the way of the future. Our legacy and experiences have shaped our ability to be creative, compassionate and be unique voices in the workforce.
The woman that serves as your greatest source of inspiration: My mother.
Staple items you must have for a power meeting or networking event: (in addition to a positive attitude) a pen & paper, Altoids [never consumed while talking] & water. Depending on the location of the event, it is also important to have your business card. I do realize that’s more than two, but they’re all very important!
Your favorite vacation spot: Italy, which is my most recent trip.
Your thoughts on balancing work and life: In this case like many others, ‘Honesty is the best policy’. We must be honest with ourselves first and communicate realistic expectations to those we are working with. At times where I feel I am spreading myself thin, I believe communicating realistic time frames and deadlines are essential. Learning to say no should be practiced so long as you are saying yes to yourself first. If you do not honor self-preser vation, how then are you able to help others?
Your inspiration for creating this organization: One of the hats I wear is working in TV, Print & Film as an actress and commercial model. While working on-air with one of my largest clients, QVC, I noticed that my co-workers and I had an excess of products that would be helpful to donate. I had been searching for a way to connect all of these wonderful, supportive women I was blessed to work with. We have supported each other through every major life celebration or struggle. I felt it was time to broaden our scope and offer that same encouraging support to women within our communities.
You can learn more about Chandra and her work with The Model Behavior by clicking here.