Education is important. Nobody knows this better than Anisa Flowers.
The San-Diego based educator is currently pursuing a Master’s of Education degree in primary school education. But, Anisa also knows that learning transcends age and a traditional classroom setting. That’s why she also serves as Chief of Staff for Pipeline Angels, an organization dedicated to supporting and women and non-binary femme social entrepreneurs.
Her Agenda recently connected with Anisa to discuss why an organization like Pipeline Angels is so important for entrepreneurs, what working at a startup is really like, and about why community is the key to success.
From the Compton classroom to Pipeline Angels’ programs, it’s all the same fight, just different students.
Her Agenda: So, tell me a little bit about yourself and your background. How did you get involved with Pipeline Angels?
Anisa Flowers: I am so many things! I am an enrolled Woodland Cree Tribal Member, I am Black, I am queer, and I am Deaf. By trade, I’m an educator. I’ve been a primary school teacher for seven years now and while teaching and children absolutely occupy every corner of my heart, the classroom setting is what it is—it doesn’t leave too much room for the entrepreneurial spirit. As I was searching for a way to stay grounded in my educational roots, but somehow branch out, Pipeline Angels sort of found me via an Instagram post. I read about it and knew it was the perfect, most organic transition possible. In the war for social equity, I have chosen the field of education as my literal battlefield. At the core, Pipeline Angels does just this—fights for social equity via community learning and collaboration between underestimated people. From the Compton classroom to Pipeline Angels’ programs, it’s all the same fight, just different students.
Her Agenda: While no two days are the same, what’s your day-to-day like as Chief of Staff?
Anisa Flowers: I can genuinely say that after almost two years of working here, no two of my days have been the same. Working from home is both an incredible blessing and a curse—it allows an introvert like me to thrive, but you can also get a bit consumed. I start most mornings with exercise and one small act of self-care. Then it’s straight to emails (thanks to my OCD, I am an inbox zero type of gal). Next, I’ll try to jump on a video call with [Pipeline Angels Founder] Natalia so that we can plan our day, map out our goals, and check-in about and needs for personal and work-related support. Then, I turn on Kendrick Lamar and power through 9-10 hours of planning programs, communicating with members and founders, recruiting, and more. While I try to get a decent night’s sleep when I can, running a startup can sometimes feel like raising a newborn.
Working from home is both an incredible blessing and a curse—it allows an introvert like me to thrive, but you can also get a bit consumed.
Her Agenda: Why is an organization like Pipeline Angels important in your opinion?
Anisa Flowers: For me, Pipeline Angels is important because we, as marginalized people, live in an incredibly difficult world. I believe that the solution to not only surviving but thriving, is twofold. On one end, we must create spaces that support the emotional and mental needs of marginalized people. This is the only way we get through the day to day, and this is the easiest to achieve. On the other end, we must reverse the systems that have been put in place to ensure our failure. Pipeline Angels’ immediate mission is to do the latter, but for so many, it has also been the former. This is why it is such an incredible organization.
We must create spaces that support the emotional and mental needs of marginalized people.
Her Agenda: What’s one common misconception about being an entrepreneur?
Anisa Flowers: While I don’t consider myself to be an entrepreneur, I’d always assumed that it was a life of glamour. One could create their own hours, follow their own rules, work from home, etc. While it is all this, the glitz starts to dim a bit when you realize that that awful smell isn’t the kitchen trash, it’s you because you haven’t showered in days because you’ve been chained to the never-ending emails. They never stop. Seriously—never.
The glitz starts to dim a bit when you realize that that awful smell isn’t the kitchen trash, it’s you because you haven’t showered in days because you’ve been chained to the never-ending emails,
Her Agenda: What is one thing that you wish you had known when you were starting out in your career?
Anisa Flowers: When I first started this job, I wish I had a better idea of my own worth. I’ve made incredible strides here and I could’ve made them faster with a little more faith in myself. Overall, though I’m so proud of what I’ve contributed and who I’ve become in this position.
Her Agenda: What are the best pieces of advice you’ve ever received?
Anisa Flowers: The best piece of advice I’ve ever received is “know your worth.” In typical Leo fashion, this took me a while to absorb and fully embrace, but I’m finally arriving, and it was worth the wait.
Her Agenda: What is your personal definition of success?
Anisa Flowers: As a Black person, as a First Nations person, as a Deaf person, and as a queer person, I am my community and my community is me. All of the money and success in the world to me takes me nowhere if my community isn’t thriving as well. I am successful when my communities are successful.
Her Agenda: What is a motto or mantra that you live by?
Anisa Flowers: Do no harm, but take no shit. Period.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: INTERVIEW HAS BEEN EDITED FOR LENGTH AND CLARITY. THIS FEATURE IS SPONSORED BY OUR FRIENDS AT PIPELINE ANGELS A BOOTCAMP FOR ANGEL INVESTING FOCUSED ON CREATING CAPITAL FOR WOMEN AND NON-BINARY FEMME SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURS. TO APPLY FOR THEIR NEXT COHORT AND BECOME AN INVESTOR, CLICK HERE.]