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Check Out Anoushka Kinney’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Anoushka Kinney.

Hi Anoushka, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I moved to Saint Louis from Stuttgart Germany when I was a Teenager, My Dad was a language teacher and we moved here for his job and, so I could attend College in the USA. I was homeschooled most of my life so attending an American University was a pretty scary thought at the beginning of my academic journey – I really did not know what to expect.

I started this journey at Lindenwood University in Saint Charles, I was determined to complete a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and then go get an awesome job doing… something. I had not really figured that out yet, to be honest. I soon realized however that attending a University in the USA was very expensive and that unless I wanted to be in debt for the rest of my life I needed to start working while in school. So, out of necessity, I started working full-time as an Office manager for a fashion company in Downtown Saint Louis while being a full-time Student. This was a scheduling challenge to be sure as my job required me to travel to India and China frequently.

However, the four years it took to earn my bachelors went by quickly being so busy all the time and before I knew it I had graduated. Working full-time while in school ended up being a great challenge for me and the inspiration for the choice I made next.

I decided to continue my education with an MBA at Lindenwood University in addition to pursuing an MBA at the prestigious Cornell University; at the same time…while also still working full-time. Shortly before my last year as an undergraduate student, I had accepted a position as a Chief of Staff for the midwest’s largest construction equipment dealer. This job had me not only supervising a large team administrative it also gave me the unique possibility to be at Cornell in New York for Mid Terms and Finals when needed.

At that point in my life, I was focusing all my energy on work and school. While I was accomplishing a lot academically and professionally I had no creative outlets. A friend suggested I try modeling, a complete nightmare scenario for an Introvert like myself. However, I like challenging myself and growth always seems to come from discomfort so before I knew it I was modeling in my free time and really enjoying it.

Fast forward 2 more years and I was a year away from completing both my MBA’s, One with a focus on Management, and the other with a focus on computer science. I had also turned my previous hobby of modeling into a part-time job, getting paid shoots at least twice weekly. I had even completed paid shoots for clothing, jewelry, and swimwear in Europe and Asia. This further enabled me to pay off school.

Modeling ended up giving me so much more than a way to pay off school, it introduced me to my now husband Jason. He is a professional photographer local to Saint Louis and we met at a photoshoot at the end of 2019. We had an instant connection the day we first met and we were engaged just 6 months later. I finished both my MBA’s on May 6th of 2021 and we were married on May 9th.

I believe that the balance and multitasking I learned from working full-time while pursuing multiple degrees and still finding time for a hobby of sorts, continue to drive me in both my personal and professional life.

Now over a year later, I work as an SR. IT Business Manager for a large Saint Louis-based company. In this role
I am responsible for helping to build a culture of collaboration, inclusivity, & intrinsic value. I listen for themes across the organization, remove impediments, & provide support. Knowing that trust-based relationships are critical to my company’s success, my goal is to ensure that IT Leadership cultivates & maintains key relationships across the organization & with our customers & outside partners. It is a challenging role but very fulfilling.

In addition to this work, I still Model and am signed to an agency that represents me globally. My husband and I also founded SAJ Media, a photography, social media management, and marketing company we run together with over 50 clients local to Saint Louis.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
My husband always tell me smooth seas don’t make a skilled sailor and he is right. It has been far from a smooth road. Something I did not mention in my first writing is that shortly after we moved to America my father actually passed away from sudden health complications. This left my mother and me in Saint Louis without family or a support system all throughout my college education. Additionally, English has always been my second language, and attending higher education classes while still learning about the intricacies of the language I was learning was well… difficult.

To top everything off being a woman in the male-dominated IT and Technology field all while being a model made it difficult to be taken “seriously”. I learned to let my actions speak louder than words and to disregard the perceptions and stigmas that seemed so easily formed of the “German model girl that probably can’t even code”

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I am multifaceted. I think what sets me apart from others is intern what I am also most proud of – my ability to Hustle. In my role as an SR. IT Business manager, directing administrative, Financial, HR, Sourcing, Communications, & similar operational activities across the IT organization or being an internal adviser & “honest broker” to the IT Leadership team.

As a model, I get to work with a variety of companies both locally, nationally, and internationally and let my creative side have some fun by producing some beautiful images and art.

As the 2nd half of SAJ Media, I am able to take my knowledge from my IT and Business roles, connect it with my Media and Modeling experience and work together with my husband to promote some amazing local businesses such as ByJack and Broadway Boat Bar.

I think the awareness of what my professional skills are combined with my passions for things such as modeling, photography, and travel has enabled me to create a unique personal and professional platform for myself and my family and I am really proud of how my husband and I are able to contribute to the local community and its businesses

We’re always looking for the lessons that can be learned in any situation, including tragic ones like the Covid-19 crisis. Are there any lessons you’ve learned that you can share?
If you haven’t guessed it already I am what some would call a Type A (minor control freak). I like having a plan, sticking to that plan, and not deviating. Covid-19 threw a LOT of wrenches in that method of doing things. Covid took the “by the plan, Type A” version of me and thought me to roll with the punches, slow down and accept that when things aren’t going to plan, that’s maybe not how they were supposed to work out in the first place.

Allowing myself to sit back a bit and relinquish control has helped me be able to get through crises like finals for two different universities at the same time, The same role with the punches mentality has also been invaluable in the fast-moving world of IT where Controlled chaos is often the best way to describe a day on the job.

Contact Info:

  • Instagram: @_Dutch_Dame

Image Credits
Christian Berens and Jason Kinney

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