Sounding Board for Growth: AnaLise Matheson’s Impactful Role in Client Success

AnaLise Matheson could best be described as a powerful woman who exudes zealous tenacity. Her diverse business journey affords her a multitude of approaches to each endeavor. Her journey started in a 2004 grade school Career Day when her young son described her job as someone who “sells people.” From a child’s mind, that’s a perfect description of a staff agency saleswoman, but the group of minority women there may not have heard it that way.

Something about that moment spurred AnaLise to give her employer notice and she quickly found that her planned 30-day notice turned into four hours. Over a chocolate martini and zucchini sticks, her napkin sketch for life turned into an incredible adventure of finding ways to use her talents to propel others to success. With two hundred borrowed dollars, she bought the minimal equipment she’d need and joined online platforms to find clients for her business, Rumpelstiltskins. 45 days into that
adventure, she finally got paid. Adversity is no stranger to this woman, but she takes the challenges and
turns them into growth and gold.

Her initial focus was in public relations. In 2008, when the economy experienced a downturn,
businesses transformed their office staff into marketing gurus, leaving a gap between executive
leadership and their clients. Ever astute to spotting opportunities in change, AnaLise pivoted her
business to offer virtual executive assistance supporting entrepreneurs and rebranded her business as
VirtuallyAnywhere, LLC.

As she began serving multiple entrepreneurs and nomadic founders across the globe by creating
solutions to meet her client’s professional and personal needs, AnaLise found her stride. Her ability to
tease out creative solutions to everyday challenges removes the minutia from her client’s lives. Her
approach brings to life her motto, “I make time, so you can make money.”

While keeping VirtuallyAnywhere, LLC humming, AnaLise entered a world of business in 2016 that few
women enter. AnaLise co-founded and manages 408 Works with her husband, best friend, and retired
fire Battalion Chief, Alan Matheson. Doing this, she became likely the only black female, firearms
manufacturer. While Alan is the chief creator and gunsmith, AnaLise is a natural complement to 408
Works by lending her talents wherever they’re needed.

Then, the plot twist of 2020—the Covid curveball. Service businesses began closing their doors and her
client’s need for her talents shrank along with their ability to pay for her services. Through business
connections, she found work at Zions Bancorporation with teams focused on transforming the banking
world by consolidating business lines to a single technical solution. Being the best virtual cruise director
ever, she dove into diversity leadership as a chair on the African American Business Forum, developed
workforce engagement presentations and educated the transformation team on segments of the Agile
methodology all the while, applying her administrative experience to support multiple teams.
As her time at Zions came to a close, the allure of her true passion pulled her back, and she re-emerged
as the rock star of making people look amazing in their roles by branching out to establish Rubicon
Executive Assistance with a focus on her primary endeavor “Imma Give Her a Call.”

More than just a colleague or partner, she is the sounding board that sparks growth. Insightful, detailed,
and relentless in seeking the best for others. AnaLise Matheson is more than just a business ally. She is a
narrative waiting to unfold.

We had the pleasure of sitting down with AnaLise to discuss entrepreneurship, evolving in business and future plans:

Can you share more about that pivotal moment when you first decided to step out and change your career?
Years ago when my son was in the 3rd grade, I was invited to Career Day. Each child had to
introduce their parent. The room was full of people of color and the community had a large
Jewish population including my mother. My son introduced me by saying, “ This is my mom and
she sells people.” You could have heard a feather drop! There I was a black woman in a room
full of other minorities who have a past full of oppression and slavery and I was labeled as a
seller of people. It was on my way home that I ruminated over my current job title “Staffing
Sales” and then considered the rate I was paying the employees, the rate I was offering their
contracts at, and what I was making and realized all things being equal how I was introduced
wasn’t entirely incorrect. That is when I decided to move forward.

You initially started your business with just $200 and a dream. Could you tell us more about
the early challenges you faced, and how you managed to turn adversity into growth and

The biggest challenge was by far, DIAL-UP! I had found platforms to network and even websites
where people and businesses were actively seeking contractors. Unfortunately, there was no
autosave, so if I lost connectivity I had to start the entire process or proposal over again and it
was very frustrating. Using a two hundred dollar hard drive I didn’t have much storage, and
lastly, I had to do a lot of looking for clients and correspondence after ten at night because I
needed the neighborhood internet to not be as crowded.

Your business evolved from public relations to offering virtual executive assistance. How did
you identify the need for this service, and what inspired the transition to VirtuallyAnywhere,

In 2008 when the country had a financial crisis I was steadily doing public relations and was on
track for over a six-figure income, but suddenly there was no money on the table. I was
evaluating if I would need to return to work or how I could change my offering to fit the current
need. I made a call to a current client and was informed that they no longer had a budget for
marketing or public relations and that his assistant would be taking over. I called a few more
clients and businesses echoed the same sentiment. It was then I realized that if yesterday’s
assistants were doing today’s public relations yesterday’s public relations person could be the
new assistant. A new era was born.

Co-founding and managing 408 Works in a male-dominated industry is quite remarkable. Can
you share your experience in this field and how you’ve navigated challenges as a black female
firearms manufacturer?

Being a groundbreaker and pushing boundaries, are not something I really intended to do. I’m a
businesswoman, and where I see business, I’m interested.
My husband and I did notice a lack of support and training venues, catering specifically to the
minority and female market. We set out to do something about that.
My husband and his family had always been shooters, and so I became one as well, receiving
one of my most treasured gifts, a rare pistol, as a wedding gift. It really got me interested in not
just shooting pistols, but anything. I’ve always been interested in anything I don’t understand,
always inclined to find out more about it, and a way in.

When I started 408 Works L.L.C. and started attending trade shows, training, and recreational
shooting events, with guns Works had built, the results were interesting. They thought it was all
my husband. They would often assume that I was just along for support. Then the questions
really started, when I would use my own guns in classes and start speaking to other men, and
manufacturers on a common ground. I’m sure many were surprised by my knowledge of
firearms, certainly more than one with my skill, but after the mistake of referring to me as “the
little lady”, we were able to get down to the business of doing business.

As many vendors, suppliers, and clients, are first reached over the Internet, and so much of our
business is word of mouth, by the time clients met me, they were already hooked on Works
products, and me being the owner and operator. The shooting community, as a whole, really is
quite welcoming. Works started doing more events to gather those like-minded, together, and
we did make an effort to reach out to the new shooters, the young, the small, and those
interested, but intimidated. My husband has a knack for teaching those sets, and will often use
my personal firearms to garner interest, and even have me demonstrate my skills. Most people
are a bit surprised to find out that I don’t carry a “pocket pistol” in a minor caliber such as .22,
.25, or even .380, instead preferring to carry a full-sized, custom 408 Works Glock 22. A
.40S&W is most commonly carried by police, or a Glock 48 single stack 9mm.

As far as challenges being a black female, I don’t know that I have really had any, but very
marginal events, that were quickly cleared up when people knew who I was. Being a woman of
color has actually been a draw. Women seek us out to train because I’m there, they see me do
it, and this boosts their confidence. People will sometimes do a double take, when they see me
behind a suppressed long-range rifle, shooting out to 500 yards, or handling a machine gun I’ve
built, but mostly, skill and business savvy leave the lasting mark. I’ve often sold to my
husband’s friends’ wives, even his healthcare providers. Seeing a woman, and one of color at
that, at the helm, seems to develop credibility and validation that they, as a customer, will not be

Moving forward and getting Works Certified as a Minority and Woman Owned Company, is our
next step—no sign of slowing down. Business principles learned from past experience and
future experience will only make this company stronger, as well as any further venture I choose
to pursue.

The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on service businesses. How did you adapt
to the changes and find work at Zions Bancorporation, where you branched out into diversity
leadership and Agile methodology?

Moving from self-employment to being an employee was a transformative experience. The
environment at Zions Bancorporation was unlike what I’d experienced previously as an
employee. In this professional organization, I was a peer to all and respected. It was assumed
that my skills and experiences could benefit the program and that assumption led to multiple
opportunities to branch out into areas that were new to me. I was called on to teach hundreds of
my peers about segments of the Agile Methodology. I facilitated multiple sessions where the
organization’s values and goals were explored and tangible examples shared.

As I branched out to participate in committees and forums, I was quickly invited to become a leader in the (African American Business Forum, and the Cohort for Emerging Leaders, a part of the Bancorporation’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion program. I so enjoyed the involvement in the DEI program that I considered moving into that program and staying with the Bancorporation long-term. I had found my tribe. Living in Colorado was an insurmountable conflict with the organization’s drive
towards in-person leadership of the DEI program, so as the role I had in the Banking Transformation Organization came to an end, I returned to the expanse of entrepreneurship.

You recently established Rubicon Executive Assistance with a focus on “Imma Give Her a
Call.” Can you explain what this entails and how it reflects your passion?

Post-pandemic we know that the world is smaller in terms of access to others and regardless of
current debate individuals and businesses are more accepting than ever with the idea of remote
work. This time around I am more experienced in both public relations and I am now a power
admin who has a plethora of skills that will benefit anyone from a solopreneur to a nonprofit
organization. I am most passionate about being of service to others and putting everything
together to create something amazing. I currently write workshops and press releases, maintain
a social media presence, write donor emails, and function as a fractional Director of Operations,
and a personal assistant to a couple of Founders. I am a caregiver and problem solver by
nature. I love waking up and being myself and doing what I am passionate about and naturally
good at. There is always room to learn and grow, but my chosen profession allows me to be my
most authentic self.

As someone who offers executive assistance, you are known for being a sounding board that
sparks growth. Can you share some examples of how your insights and attention to detail have
made a difference in the careers of your clients?

Certainly! I Dominique have been working closely with AnaLise, who has been instrumental in
managing both Empowering Individuals Inc. LLC and Sherrie Betty’s vendor care package.
AnaLise’s role as Director of Operations/ Virtual Assistant has involved supporting Dominique in
various aspects of the business, such as infrastructure development, coordination with
designers and agencies, and managing communication with different stakeholders.
In terms of insights and attention to detail, there are a few examples that showcase how
AnaLise has made a difference in Dominique’s career:

  • Website Development: AnaLise worked closely with the website designer to ensure that the
    websites for both companies were not only visually appealing but also user-friendly and
    optimized for search engines. Her attention to detail helped in creating a seamless online
    experience for customers, leading to increased traffic and improved conversion rates.
  • Catalog Design: AnaLise’s keen eye for detail and understanding of the target audience
    played a crucial role in the catalog design process. She meticulously reviewed and provided
    feedback on the layout, product descriptions, and overall aesthetic appeal of the catalogs. Her
    insights helped to create visually appealing and informative catalogs that resonated with
    customers, resulting in increased sales and brand recognition.
  • Shipping and Logistics: AnaLise’s attention to detail extends to the operational aspects of the
    businesses as well. She ensured that the shipping process was well-organized and efficient,
    reducing errors and delays. Her insights into different shipping options and cost-saving
    strategies contributed to improved customer satisfaction and optimized shipping costs.
  • Relationship Management: AnaLise has also played a key role in managing relationships with
    various stakeholders, such as agencies and prisons. Her insights and attention to detail in
    communication have helped to foster positive relationships, ensuring smooth collaboration and
    reliable partnerships.
    Overall, AnaLise’s ability to provide valuable insights and attention to detail has made a
    significant difference in Dominique’s career. Her contributions in website development, catalog
    design, shipping logistics, and relationship management have not only saved time and effort but
    also sparked growth for both companies. Dominique acknowledges that AnaLise’s support has
    been invaluable and that she couldn’t have achieved the success she has without her.

What is your definition of a Pretty Woman Who Hustles?

A Pretty Woman Who Hustles is always trying to improve, is quick with a smile or a solution,
extremely resourceful, and working on multiple projects and opportunities at once. The most
important things about a pretty woman who hustles are her zealous tenacity, the ability to stand
up for herself or others without being labeled, zealous tenacity, and uncompromising integrity
and authenticity. It doesn’t hurt to always have your nails done, earrings on, and a million dollar
smile. They used to say, “Never let them see you sweat.” I think now my phrase would be,
“Always make them wonder what’s behind that smile!”

Social Media Handles:

Jakia Cheatham - Myles

CEO/Founder of Pretty Women Hustle Magazine

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