Every week The Grindstone interviews an influential woman (or women) in the world of business. We scour our brains and hearts to come up with strong, successful women who not only inspire us, but will also inspire you. No industry is off limits, no interview subject too controversial.
This week we talk to Anyi Lu, the Founder and Designer of ANYI LU International – the home of fantastically gorgeous shoes. She discusses the lessons her grandfather taught her, her first job and why the signature of her outgoing emails reads “Make It Happen.”
If you had one piece of advice to offer to women who have their eye on eventually reaching the executive level, what would it be?
Patience is a hard quality to master but an important element of a successful person. I would advise any women trying to reach the top to be patient, especially with themselves. Each experience you have contributes to your success. Many years ago, I declined art school to become an engineer. Flash forward to today and it is my engineering skills that are crucial to the success of ANYI LU. Designing shoes is not only about inventing something new; it is about striving for perfection. Perfection takes patience!
What is the most important piece of advice anyone has ever given you?
I found the courage to follow my dream when I was reminded to believe in myself. It seems so simple now, but back when I was contemplating starting my business this advice made all the difference. Especially as a woman, it is easy to lose confidence in the business world – but if you don’t project confidence than no one will believe in your success.
What personality traits, of yours, would you say contribute to your success?
I am a decisive person. The signature of my outgoing email reads, “Make It Happen.” I believe my ability to evaluate business decisions and act quickly and decisively have contributed to my business success. I am a team builder. I encourage my staff to make difficult decisions and I stand with them. We are a team and we trust and support one another.
What was your first job?
My very first job was as a hostess in a family owned restaurant.
Who were your role models growing up? Who are they now?
Growing up, my grandfather taught me Chinese calligraphy and brush painting. These arts demand precision and creativity — a balance between technical and imagination. I didn’t understand it at the time, but he was also teaching me about life. Today, my role models are all of the working women who raise their children and earn a living and hopefully have some time for themselves in between. I am inspired every day by these women.