Anecia Maritza Wharwood is a multi-talented woman originally from south Trinidad. She is now a resident of Maraval. Anecia took the conventional route of obtaining a BSc in Geology and Geography as a minor at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona Campus. Eventually, she pursued a postgraduate diploma in Environmental Engineering at the UWI St Augustine Campus.
Anecia has always loved being creative and initially considered pursuing graphic arts. However, she was often asked, “What are you going to do with that?” Such questions dissuaded her from following through. Today, Anecia is a former Geologist of the Petroleum Company of Trinidad and Tobago, who decided upon its closure, that she could turn something she is passionate about into a business. Since that realisation, she has completed a professional certification in Event Management at the Arthur Lok Jack GSB in 2017 and birthed XOXO by Anna, a merge of her love of creating and executing uniquely themed events with her love for travel. Intrigued by Anecia’s passion and drive to go against all odds, the WE Mag team learned a bit more about her experience as an entrepreneur and what changed her life’s path. Here’s what Anecia shared with the WE Mag team in an interview:
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome and how did you deal with it?
During the last three months at Petrotrin, while everyone was so downtrodden and there was an atmosphere of gloom, I had to search deep within to visualise the path I wanted to pursue as an entrepreneur and the identity that I wanted for my brand. I surrounded myself with positive energy, positive people and experiences. Although to many, losing a job in the field that they studied was heartbreaking, to me it was a chance to do something that I am passionate about. I seized the opportunity that arose from what many perceived to be a challenge.
I generally do not think of things as a challenge. I look at new and adverse situations as a means of having new opportunity; maybe the universe has other plans bigger than you could have imagined. I face these situations head on, seeing the positive side of it.
What are you working on at present, what is keeping you excited?
I am currently working on my tour of Morocco in March of 2020. Researching the culture, brushing up on my French and executing this tour exactly as I envision, keeps me excited.
What is your ultimate goal or biggest dream for your future?
I do not just want to be a local brand. I would like to be an international brand for creation of event and travel experiences.
Tell us something about you that people may not know.
I was accepted to the BFA in Performing Arts with a concentration in dance at UTT in 2012. I turned down the offer for what, at the time, was considered to be a job offer any Geologist would not refuse. As a dancer, though my favourite style is ballet, I have done contemporary modern, Indian dance and even folk dancing, having performed at the Prime Minister’s Best Village Competition as a teen.
For what are you most grateful?
I am extremely grateful for my support system - especially my mom, who I can rely on for anything. As humans we tend to believe we can do it all, and sometimes we need to step back and embrace the support of others. As an entrepreneur and a mother, I definitely need people I can rely on and turn to for help when I need them.
Do you have any advice for other women who may want to get into entrepreneurship, event management, and travel curation.
Know exactly the product/service that you would like to provide. Do not let anyone try to dissuade you or make you think that it cannot be done. Surround yourself with people who do not doubt your vision and who support you. Additionally, trust the process and trust that you are exactly where you need to be at exactly the correct time and everything will fall into place.