Choannah Gordon Anderson is a mum of three girls. She juggles her talent agency with full-time study in Events & Entertainment Management at GSM London and became a student rep in April in addition. Not content with having all that on her plate, the 31-year-old wants to use her experience in the talent and entertainments industry to support student activities at GSM London.
"As much as the academic side is important – so is the social aspect of college/university life," she said. “It is part of the experience and is an area that I have a lot of knowledge in. I wanted to do something about it when I started here.”
Becoming at Student Rep in February was a perfect opportunity for Choannah to put her ideas into action. As part of her role, she participated in the College's first Creative Industries Musical Showcase called 'Get Lit' in October, which brought together a number of established musicians, DJs, rappers and TV and radio presenters and producers.
She was able to draw on her presenting skills during the one-day showcase and introduced acts and speakers to fellow students keen to forge a career in the sector. Her own journey started when she was 17 years old when she established entertainments company Round Robin with her significant other Michael Mantock. Choannah believes this experience as a young entrepreneur, the skills she acquired later juggling motherhood and her academic learning could give other students in a similar position incentives to keep on going.
“I have grown up experiencing low self-esteem, a strained relationship with my mum and no real sisterhood figures in my life,” she said. “These factors have affected my ability to build lasting female friendships. I didn’t realise what I was truly lacking until I became a new mum in 2008 and realised I did not have much female support.”
Choannah, who was also studying events management at Thames Valley University (now University of West London) at the time of her first pregnancy, ended up leaving her course to concentrate on raising her daughter. Struggling to handle motherhood, she hired a doula – a woman that helps new mothers during pregnancy, birth and in the early weeks with a new baby – which helped to boost her self awareness.
“It is through the doula that I came to appreciate just how much support I lacked and ended up learning a lot about myself,” she said.
Even though a first-time mum, Choannah kept on working. She is the events project manager and talent scout of London-based talent agency UK Talent Train Promotions (UK TT). UK TT is an evolution of Round Robin – the first business she established with Michael.
Engaging with the youth
The company was established to engage mainly with the youth in communities across the major UK cities to provide an outlet for creativity and community building. Its aim is to also motivate and inspire young people to develop their arts talent; encourage positive attitudes amongst youth to enable them to realise their dreams, goals and aspirations through positive thinking, combination of hard work, dedication and commitment. The company targets people aged between 18 and 34 years old.
Despite managing the business, low self-esteem still had an impact on her and she sometimes missed out on opportunities because she did not feel like she or the business were good enough. Choannah has always been keen to put some qualifications behind her growing entertainments experience. Another daughter followed two years after her first, setting her studies back but in June 2015, she enrolled at GSM London.
“I know that juggling so many different responsibilities can be a challenge and is hard work. Personally, I do not come from a family of high achievers and did not get any support from them when I decided to further my education. That is why it has been even more important for me to succeed,” she said. “Because I have three girls, I wanted to be a role model to them and try and break the cycle. I needed to get qualifications to show the children that it was possible to make a difference.”
Choannah had her third daughter in 2016 but hasn’t let the added responsibility faze her. She is still running her business and coming to classes. Her goal moving forward is to share and inspire others about her personal journey in a novel, which she has started writing. She also has plans to launch her own clothing line called Nubian Kweens Wear.