Anika Jackson has been a serial entrepreneur before she knew the meaning of the word, it was ingrained in her DNA from both her European/American family and her family in Asia. Growing up with an immigrant mother in an extremely middle-class household, if she wanted something, she learned the business of how to achieve it, whether going door to door to sell knickknacks or coming up with other creative strategies.
In high school, this passion for entrepreneurship took her to Junior Achievement of Topeka, Kansas, and participation in their business programs, where high school students from different schools were placed together with a company and had to learn how to start a company, manufacture products, sell “stock”, and then close the company at the end of the semester. She won multiple, state-level awards and attended national camp every year.
“After babysitting, my first job was a cold calling sales rep for a carpet cleaning company. In those days, we called out of an actual phone book. While it wasn’t a dream job, it solidified my interest in understanding multiple angles of any business venture – my own or as an employee – so that I had a solid understanding of business and of the value of knowing how to work hard in different areas in a company, whether or not it was a personal center of excellence,” Ms. Jackson explains.
While teetering between entrepreneurship (promoting DJs, nightclubs and producing live events monthly as a teenager and in her early 20s) and working for others (as a marketer for Chicago- based KBA Marketing clients, from spirits to automotive by the age of 22), Anika learned many lessons along the way. One of the most important was that to be an effective manager or leader, it was important to not be afraid to work on any facet of the company, and to not ever think that any job was beneath her. From an early age, Anika knew that she wanted to find a way to combine both business and philanthropy and has held onto that ideal throughout her career. As such, when she felt she had built up a strong enough foundation and career, Anika turned to voluntarism and learned the skills necessary to become a volunteer community leader, board member, and thought leader. She credits this work with much of her business acumen and how to deal with others and structure projects, volunteer or otherwise, to this day. During her time as an entrepreneur, Ms. Jackson has co-founded a public relations firm, a real estate investment and management company, a social club, and a retail store. Today, Anika has returned to her love of communication and collaboration as the founder of Anika PR, a strategic integrative communication firm based in Los Angeles which includes a variety of beauty, entertainment, fashion, gourmet food, small business, and tech clientele from Los Angeles to Jamaica. She is proud to have grown her team during COVID from a “solopreneur” to a team of 16+ women, with a majority-minority of 65% BIPOC. Recently, her business successes have led Anika to be inducted into the QuickBooks Small Business Council for a two-year term, and her firm has joined The Halo Collective, a consortium of New York-based creative agencies.