Tanya Sam is a Canadian born beauty whose presence slays on The Real Housewives of Atlanta.
The fashionable businesswoman and former nurse caught up with Sheen to discuss protecting ourselves from the Coronavirus, tips for small business owners, and future goals.
How have you been doing during the quarantine?
I am doing actually quite well. I have been in the house for about 13 days now straight. I have not left my house because I traveled overseas and I am being the good Samaritan, and it is the right thing to do. I have been feeling really well and completely asymptomatic for any COVID-19 symptoms, but just also doing that to make sure I was not out and about passing it on to others. I’m hunkered down at home with my fiancé and we are sort of able to work from home on our laptops and we are on Wi-Fi entertaining ourselves.
I understand that you are a former nurse, tell us about that.
I am a registered nurse (RN). I did a Bachelor of Science degree back in 2014 and I will tell you what is interesting about that. When I was finishing my degree at the University of Toronto, I was in nursing school, and I was doing my final location on-site at a hospital and SARS hit. This is not my first experience with the Coronavirus.
Share some tips on how to stay healthy during this pandemic.
First and foremost, I would tell everyone to stay healthy by eating a proper balanced diet. As we move into the Coronavirus, the big thing is handwashing and using hand sanitizer. We have seen this big huge craze of everybody buying all the hand sanitizer and they are not available, and everybody is worried about that. Wash your hands and wash them frequently. If you do have to go out, take a hand sanitizer with you and just continue to wash and dry your hands. What that does is kill the virus on your hands. The second thing is to stay home and practice social distancing. I think we have done a very good job of this, but a city like Atlanta, I think we can do so much better.
What are some useful tips for small business owners that had to close their businesses down and let employees go?
This is one of the biggest concerns for those of us that have small businesses and are unable to get work and this is why this is such a global crisis. We’ve been asked to stay home to protect humanity but at what cost? There is a huge economic toll, but on the other hand, we have the health and welfare of a good percentage of our population. So for entrepreneurs and small business people, this is a great time to continue to iterate, pivot, and think of your businesses. I work with a lot of entrepreneurs and before this crisis, I would give them the advice that they are building this business today and you need to think about what that business looks like in five years whether it is online or a brick and mortar store. It will constantly be evolving so this is the perfect time for people to think about how they can offer their services remotely and how they can be truly nimble. I really hope our government can help our families and entrepreneurs. They need to figure out how we can bail out not just the big businesses, but some of the small ones.
Tell us about your business.
I work in a startup in the technology space in Atlanta. I kind of pivoted from being a nurse about 7 years ago when I opened up a technology incubator space here in Atlanta. We also had an early-stage investment fund on top of that. So really it was a place where we can help early-stage entrepreneurs build high growth technology companies and so I spent the last couple of years working in that environment helping entrepreneurs be successful in building companies. Then I recently launched a second fund called the Ambition Fund and it helps minority and female entrepreneurs build businesses across a wider variety of areas, not just in the technology space. I spend most of my time running accelerators and business programs for entrepreneurs in that space and area.
What are some of the things you are teaching entrepreneurs about building their own business?
One of the things I used to say before we were involved in a pandemic was to get involved in your community. There are also many online courses that you can take to help you gain business skills. There are many ways that you can familiarize yourself with the technology industry.
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I don’t like chocolate and it’s so funny because everyone will always send you chocolate. I cannot sing at all but I love to sing all the time. I sing along with every song lyric I know and I probably sound like cats meowing but I still love it.
What’s next for Tanya Sam?
It’s funny because I definitely have the personality where I love to be in control and achieve the successes in my life, but I always think I berate myself because I’m like I need to be more goal-oriented.
One of the things is giving yourself the grace to achieve goals and if you don’t achieve them don’t beat yourself up over them. In the next couple of years, I hope to help more female entrepreneurs become successful. I think that is really important especially in the female and African-American community. We tend to be the ones who help support our families. I would also like to start a family at some point once I slow down. I hope to get back to traveling the world.
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All images courtesy of Tanya Sam