An exclusive community of BIPOC C-suite and senior executives from global brands across all industries collaborating to influence a more inclusive world. A collective of changemakers engaged in business and culture while creating authentic connections.
Anastasia Williams is the Founder and Chief Curator of TheAList. A brand strategist with 15+ years of experiential marketing and B2B experience, Anastasia began her career applying her critical skill set and managerial leadership to working with some of the most relevant platinum-selling music artists of the 21st century and Fortune 100 and 500 companies.
MONARCH MAGAZINE: What inspired you to create TheAList?
ANASTASIA WILLIAMS: During the time I was working for a strategic advisory firm coordinating and producing B2B events, I realized that BIPOC senior and C-suite executives weren’t being thoughtfully included. As I worked on purposefully including BIPOC senior and C-suite executives on the guest lists of the B2B events I was coordinating and producing, I realized I’d created a community.
MONARCH MAGAZINE: What is the TheAList’s mission?
ANASTASIA WILLIAMS: TheAList’s mission is to secure generational equity in business, culture, and community by working with our members to activate their social capital and drive real, sustainable change.
MONARCH MAGAZINE: When you initially began sharing your idea to build this community, did you experience any reservations or skepticism from the potential participants, or did they immediately get it?
ANASTASIA WILLIAMS: The response to TheAList has been wonderful! The original members got it right away and began recommending potential members. Then those members recommended more potential members, and it kept going.
MONARCH MAGAZINE: With your efforts to design a world of inclusion, what are a few of the challenges that you and your colleagues encounter?
ANASTASIA WILLIAMS: Senior and C-Suite BIPOC executives in corporate America have to justify their decisions in many ways their White counterparts don’t. Department budgets, recruiting, retaining, and releasing talent are just a few areas where BIPOC VPs, SVPs, EVPs, and C-Suite executives are questioned where their White counterparts are not.
MONARCH MAGAZINE: Based on your experience why is there such a lack of diversity within industries such as music, fashion, media, & film?
ANASTASIA WILLIAMS: In my observation, it’s due in no small part to narrow thinking (i.e., only recruiting talent from Ivy League schools) and nepotism-based recruiting (i.e., someone’s daughter/son, niece/nephew, etc.). There are many incredibly talented and skilled BIPOC individuals who have graduated from HBCUs, state universities, and smaller colleges. Additionally, expanding recruiting outreach to organizations such as National Urban League, Unidos US, American Indian Business Leaders, America on Tech, and Creative Spirit US.
MONARCH MAGAZINE: Outside of the challenges of operating Fortune 500 companies, what are some of the unseen challenges that BIPOC C-suite executives face?
ANASTASIA WILLIAMS: Speaking engagement fees are quite often NOT offered to BIPOC executives, yet we are being asked to share our knowledge and expertise with audiences that have paid for the opportunity to hear it.
MONARCH MAGAZINE: How does TheAList plan to assist executives with overcoming those obstacles?
ANASTASIA WILLIAMS: We are always being asked for introductions to members for speaking opportunities. TheAList is committed to working with our members to secure fees and/or honorariums for the opportunities.
MONARCH MAGAZINE: Did COVID affect the trajectory of TheAList, and if so, how?
ANASTASIA WILLIAMS: The pandemic increased the need for community among BIPOC executives; the time working from home had us reaching out and connecting more with our colleagues and friends. As such, TheAList reached capacity on our former platform in the summer of 2020, creating a waitlist. We did our research and made plans to transition over to the Geneva Chat community platform in January 2021 and had a 90% member transition rate.
MONARCH MAGAZINE: What are the next steps for TheAList?
ANASTASIA WILLIAMS: 2022 will be our official launch year. We are expanding membership access, producing in-person events in cities across the U.S., and much more!
MONARCH MAGAZINE: Ideally, what do you want TheAList to become?
ANASTASIA WILLIAMS: TheAList will be the community for BIPOC executives to elevate their businesses, grow their leadership and entrepreneurial skills, and connect with diverse people.
MONARCH MAGAZINE: How can interested parties connect with you and TheAList?
ANASTASIA WILLIAMS: Through our LinkedIn page or through any current TheAList member.
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