Today we’d like to introduce you to Chiquita “Coach Chi” Anderson.
Chiquita, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I grew up in a single-parent household. Although I had a wonderful childhood, my father’s absence really affected me and my choices well into adulthood. I wasn’t the promiscuous type, but I’d often seek validation from men. I also had an eating disorder, low self-esteem and abandonment issues. All of these things would play a major role in how I allowed others to treat me.
I ended up marrying a man who started off as a void filler from a previous break-up. On the exterior he was every women’s dream, yet emotionally detached. During year 5 of the 7th year of marriage, I knew I wouldn’t be with him for the rest of our days. I prayed and I fought for our union, but I was seemingly doing it alone. Soon after, I received a call from a female who spilled her heart out to me about her dealings with my then-husband. Although I had been suspicious for quite some time, I never thought he could actually betray me in this way.
After finding out about the infidelity (that he denied at the time), we began to seek counseling. Before you know it, I was attending sessions on my own. This was the beginning of my Chi-Conquest to being whole and discovering who I truly was! So much had been revealed to me about myself and my past. I had no idea that I had married my father. I had no idea that I was drawn to men that were unavailable to me (physically and emotionally). My father taught me what to accept.
Yes, I had the support of my family and friends but I felt SO alone. I never wanted to burden them with all of my issues. That’s the reason why I started Prize & Shine Life Coaching/Mentoring. Women (especially black women) wear many hats and are effortlessly saving and solving everything around them except for themselves. Black women are the most disrespected and underestimated, but we’re also the strongest and most resilient. The problem is many women don’t know the power they possess. That’s where I come in at! My purpose is to pour into my Queens until they’re able to do it on their own. When your cup is full and running over, there’s no room for mediocracy. We can’t give the best of us if we’re not the best versions of ourselves first!
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It most definitely hasn’t been easy, but it has been worth it. The first year of separation was extremely difficult; it became my new normal rather quickly. I was used to a certain energy and presence. I wasn’t motivated to do much but eat…a lot; I gained over 50 lbs. I was told that this was normal and that it was all a part of the process.
Personally. Sometimes, I didn’t want to bathe. I don’t think bad hygiene was particularly a part of the process, but I now understand where I was emotionally. If I could offer any advice to anyone going through a breakup or divorce, it would be…
-Surround yourself with positive people. My sistas are the absolute BEST! They allowed me to be mad, sad, cry, spit and curse but they wouldn’t let me stay in that space for long. The prayer warriors were in full effect hunty!
-Try to keep busy. It sounds cliche, but an idle mind truly is a devil’s playground. I’d go visit loved ones (or they’d come to me) and I attended networking events. I dated myself (movies, pedicures, favorite restaurant). I also worked on my business whenever I had allotted time. I set realistic goals and when I met them, I would celebrate. I love to dance; choreographed routines became a huge outlet for me. And, I began encouraging others through dance as well!
-Speak to someone. Some look down on counseling because they don’t want to be viewed as ‘crazy’ nor do they want to ‘tell their business’ to someone they don’t know. It’s ok to release in that way; it’s actually healthy.
-Seek mentorship. If there’s someone who inspires you, ask them if they would be your mentor. I suggest you ask them in person or via phone. I appreciate my mentor so much. She’s a connector and a true confidant who has really helped me along this journey.
-What’s your niche? Who’s your target audience? What are your mission/vision and core values? Knowing these preliminary things will save you time and eventually increase revenue.
-Network. I’ve collaborated with some bomb people; it all began with a handshake and business card exchange. I suggest going to at least one networking event a month. This will increase opportunities and exposure.
When I first started out, I wasted a lot of money on things that didn’t matter (Ex: logos). Don’t get so caught up in your logo or even your business name. Your new network may possibly know someone who can create a logo for you for dirt cheap or you can purchase one for as low as $5 through fiverr.com or Canva. All of my business names actually woke me up out of my sleep not when I was actively thinking of one.
Please tell us more about your work. What do you do? What do you specialize in? What sets you apart from competition?
My mission is to provide a safe haven that encourages and empowers teen girls and women with the proper tools to reveal their true potential and purpose. As the Founder/CEO of H.O.P.E. Career Academy (Helping Others Prepare for Employment), I aid men and women who seek the necessary tools for finding employment and/or career advancement. I’m also the mastermind behind The EmpowHER Apparel Collection. These trendy designs are used to empower teen girls and women through fashion and can currently be found on t-shirts and hoodies in NINE designs.
I am one half of THE dopest podcast/YouTube channel (The Gender Project), which helps bridge gaps between men and women while decreasing traditional stereotypes that stunt relationship growth. I’m also a runway and print ad model. I recently created an all women’s EntrepreneHER directory to help build a supportive sistahood and sustainability; it’s accessible via my website. Above all else, I am a proud, passionate philanthropist who coordinates annual laptop fundraisers for teen girls who are attending college, coordinates food/clothes drives for those in need and sponsors/donates to small businesses, shelters and charities.
What sets me apart from other coaches is my ability to be raw and relatable. For me, it’s not about the big, fancy verbiage. I see so much in my clients and the feeling is mutual. I am not my sister’s keeper, I am my sister. #weinthisthang
- Website: prize-and-shine.com, thegenderprojectstl.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
- Instagram: prizeandshine, thegenderprojectstl
- Facebook: Prize & Shine Life Coaching/Mentoring, LLC, The Gender Project
- YouTube: The Gender Project
Jamar ‘Church’ Pinkston