After serving as an Arabic Linguist in the US Army, Tanisha Robinson continued studying Arabic at The Ohio State University. Upon receiving a fellowship, she moved to Damascus, Syria, taught English and worked in women’s rights throughout the Middle East for almost two years. Upon her return to Columbus, she built and sold an affiliate marketing portfolio, and went on to become the founder of Fudha.com, a daily deal site focused on locally owned, independent restaurants. Since its launch in early 2010, this social enterprise contributed over 30,000 meals to the Mid-Ohio Foodbank, supported the local restaurant community, and saved its members over $250,000 on the best independent restaurants in Central Ohio. 614 Media Group purchased Fudha.com in Summer 2011.
My Definition Of Success | My family didn’t have much money when I was growing up, and as one of seven children I had to work hard to get anything I wanted. When I was young, I thought success meant being able to have whatever I wanted – it was a very materialistic orientation. Now, I would say that being successful is about expanding my capacity to help others and bring about change. In my perspective, relationships and money are both powerful levers for impact.
I Am Driven By | Since I was very young, I believed I could change the world. When I was 13, I had to write my own obituary for a school assignment. I wrote about how I had dedicated my life to helping the poor and that people called me “Mother Tanisha.”
I still believe that I can change the world. Building a great company is a huge lever for impact in my community. We pay responsible wages, we take care of our people and we have a goal of over 2,000 hours of community service this year. Making money is only part of what I do as an entrepreneur; the huge driver for me is to do things that matter.
The Difference Between Good And Great | Passion and persistence are the big differentiators between the good and the great. Being great at anything is really, really hard. It takes massive amounts of both love and hard work to achieve greatness, but it’s totally possible.
A Key Talent | Having a sense of humor has been a critical piece of being able to overcome challenges throughout my life. As an entrepreneur, experimentation and failure is a constant. Being able to absorb failure, learn from it and move forward takes a lot. For me, my sense of humor has been a huge help. In building a business, failure doesn’t mean death, it means an opportunity to learn, laugh a bit and grow. Humor is a great way to maintain perspective and stay positive.
The Characteristics Of Success | My intense curiosity and desire to learn have been characteristics that have significantly helped me to be successful. I read constantly and ask questions even if I worry about looking stupid – I always think it’s better to know. Recognizing failure as a learning opportunity and moving forward is a major attribute of any successful entrepreneur.
Dealing With Doubt | I am actually terrified of public speaking, but it is an important part of my role as CEO. It’s my job to tell the story of our company to partners, investors and the public. My heart races and I sweat profusely, but then I take a deep breath, remember that I’m not going to die and walk up to the stage. It usually turns out well, and then I’m not afraid until the next one.
The Best Advice I’ve Received | There are a lot of naysayers and doubters in the world. I was struggling with a situation and one of my mentors said, “Let’s just see where we all land in a couple of years.” It really helps me keep things in perspective and reminds me to keep my focus on my goals.
On Inspiring Others | I always look for people that I like and that share my values.