Tonya Anderson
Life at AlixPartners

Some business is like show business

Tonya Anderson
Celebrating African Americans in the arts this Black History Month, Tonya Anderson reflects on the parallels of her life at AlixPartners and her experience as a Broadway actor.
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With her BFA in Theatre in tow, Tonya Anderson moved to New York City in the 90s to build a career in the performing arts. 

Acting, singing, and dancing, Tonya’s agility on stage landed her roles in regional productions like Big River, Once on this Island, and the European tour of Hair! The American Tribal Love Rock Musical.

Auditions, workshops and staged readings were her whole world as she embraced thespian lifestyle and started to build a network among peers. “It was hard work and also the most magical time in my life.”

In between gigs, like many of her fellow players, Tonya worked temporary jobs at call centers, newspapers, and law firms.

It was in 2001 that Tonya squeezed in time between her paper routes for New York Press to crash Mamma Mia’s equity call. “I sang 16 bars of music, got a callback, and two weeks later I was cast in the Broadway production. It was unheard of for a non-equity performer.”

The show debuted that October and she performed in it for two years, followed by a run with its national tour.

For most of her career, there was a sharp dichotomy between her experience in theater and those of her corporate temp jobs.

On stage, Tonya was in spotlight, but as a temp, even if she was sitting at the front desk, she often felt invisible.

In February 2012, Tonya was hired as a receptionist temp at AlixPartners, where things felt different.

“At AlixPartners, people actually came up to me and got to know me. And they’d remember me the next day.”

Tonya was moved by the inviting culture at the firm. “I finally felt included, and I thought, maybe I could have a career here.”

When a full-time role became available on the administrative team, she decided to make a career pivot. 12 years later, she remains a vital member of that team.

Today, she still feels that sense of inclusion, which was further driven by the introduction of employee resource groups in 2016.

Tonya is a member of the AlixPartners Black Professionals Network (BPN), which helps her connect with fellow Black colleagues and allies. The group was especially valuable to her through times of heightened stress like the pandemic, during which she connected with a BPN “buddy” in Dallas.  

   

“Members of BPN support each other wholly. We’re equally focused on our members’ careers and personal lives.”  

This U.S. Black History Month, BPN is celebrating African Americans in the arts, including individuals at the firm like Tonya who contribute their talents in more ways than one.

While her time acting solidified a lifelong love for performing arts, it also raised her appreciation for the collective operating power it takes to make things happen. An actor must keep the story alive, respond and move forward even if things don’t go as planned.

“In theater, everyone has a role, and you must trust they’ll show up and execute. At AlixPartners, that’s happening too—everyone is accountable for bringing their best to the table and working together to get the job done with confidence.”

That mindset helps her connect with the consultants she supports.

“Our teams travel, showing up for their clients, and adapting to all sorts of variables until they accomplish success. That is life on the road. I know about that.”

And like a theater production’s company manager, no matter what happens, Tonya excels at keeping things on track behind the scenes.

“There is so much to putting on a show that most don’t even see. That’s why I know the serious value that accountable, effective admins bring to those they support. It’s empowering.”

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