Genia C. Philip is, at her core, a community advocate. From working in law to consulting with nonprofit organizations on business strategy, every step of her career has been dedicated to serving communities and bringing positive change to the systems she interacts with. Genia is passionate about ensuring everyone has the opportunity to strive towards their fullest potential, regardless of their circumstances or socioeconomic status.
This cause is especially near and dear to Genia Philip’s heart after immigrating from the Caribbean and seeing first-hand the influence something as simple as familial support had on her own opportunities. Despite growing up in a “poor” family, Genia recalls having an incredibly fulfilling childhood, never realizing her relative lack of resources until later. This instilled in her a deep appreciation for relationships and the non-tangible resources that can help individuals thrive. Knowing that many people don’t enjoy the same opportunities she did, Genia has dedicated every step of her career to helping bring change to the lives of those in need.
At Bernard M. Baruch College in New York City, Genia Philip earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration. She earned her Juris Doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and has continued to pursue various certifications to continue her education throughout her career. After spending time working in the legal field, Genia has recently pivoted her career to work in community and economic development.
Currently, Genia Philip’s endeavors are centered around her consulting business, Synergy Strategy Group. Genia provides remote consulting services to for-profit and nonprofit organizations through this business, helping them enhance their business operations and maximize their impact.
In addition to business strategy consulting, Genia Philip has also demonstrated success in grant procurement and fundraising for nonprofit organizations. Her varied background has also given her a solid understanding of the inner workings of local government, which helps her guide her nonprofit clients to success. Through her work, Genia has become involved in various foundations and boards, including the National Alliance for Children and Families and the Essex County Human Services Advisory Council. Additionally, she has received multiple awards for her work. Connect with Genia Philip on social media to learn more!
Our Interview With Genia Philip
Question: What’s the most important thing we should know about you?
Genia Philip: I had a difficult time choosing one important thing so I am describing below two of what I believe are the most important things to know about me. First, one of the most important things to know about me is that I am a comfortable ambivert; I am happy being sociable just as much as I am happy being alone. I enjoy having dinner with myself just as much as I enjoy dinner with family or friends. I love great conversation and dialogue, but I prefer short and to-the-point conversations. Understanding that I am an ambivert makes it easier for people to get to know and understand me. Another important thing that people should know about me is that I have no regrets! I attribute this to my faith and my belief in God. I firmly believe that everything that I experience, good or bad, is all a part of God’s plan for my life.
Question: Name the most impactful lesson you learned from failure.
Genia Philip: The most impactful lesson that I have learned from failure is to get back up no matter how difficult it may be or how badly my life may have been impacted. I have learned over time that failures are God’s way to help us reset, refocus, and to highlight areas we need to grow and improve. So despite how inconvenient or painful a situation might be, instead of focusing on the failure, I instead focus my thoughts to identify the lessons that I need to learn or the ways that I need to improve to be the best version of me that God intended.
Question: What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Genia Philip: The accomplishment that I am most proud of is being the first person to both graduate college and law school in my family. As a first-generation immigrant in this country who came from very humble beginnings, it was a major personal and professional accomplishment to achieve both of those goals. It has paved the way for my sister and now nieces and nephews to pursue higher education and a law degree because it was something they did not see as unattainable since they have witnessed firsthand my accomplishments.
Question: What did you waste the most time on when you were first starting your career?
Genia Philip: Trying to be a perfectionist by overthinking and planning! I look back now and wonder why I felt it was necessary to spend so much time and energy trying to get everything just right. I eventually learned that my rigid time-consuming practices only served to delay my progress and in some respects stifled them. I now focus on trusting my abilities, knowledge, and skills and instead focus on putting my best foot forward in everything that I do. That strategy has shown to be more effective in my achieving my goals and in successfully implementing plans and projects.
Question: Name a tool you use for work that you can’t live without.
Genia Philip: A tool that I use for work that I cannot live without is diligent note-taking and putting to paper my thoughts and plans. Note-taking helps me to internalize what I am thinking and planning as it serves as repetition. Additionally, seeing my thoughts on paper helps me to bring them to fruition as seeing them in writing makes them more real.
Question: What is your favorite hobby and why?
Genia Philip: Gardening and landscaping is my favorite hobby. I find gardening and landscaping peaceful, calming, and therapeutic. It helps me to slow down my pace and to focus on the beauty that my gardens provide to others. My gardens and lawn are my happy place.
Question: What excited you the most about your industry right now?
Genia Philip: One of the most exciting things about my industry is the ability to work with people, organizations, and businesses all over the country and world. The ease with which I can share my talents, experience, knowledge, skills, and expertise with organizations and businesses all over the country is not only exciting but also very rewarding. Organizations and businesses that as a result of proximity could not avail themselves of my services and expertise, can now easily access and benefit from them. Conversely, my business now has the opportunity to grow in ways that were not possible before by undertaking unique projects that previously would not have been possible.
Question: What concerns you most about your industry right now?
Genia Philip: One of the main concerns about my industry right now is the ease at which remote work and the growth in the consultancy and freelancing industries have made it easier for professionals who do not necessarily have the experience or expertise to enter the field and compete with you for projects. This often results in clients having bad experiences which erode confidence in the industry and also makes it more difficult to gain clients’ trust.
Question: What’s the greatest risk you’ve ever taken?
Genia Philip: The greatest risk I have ever taken was leaving to attend law school seven hours away from home in an unfamiliar environment knowing that, despite having a scholarship and financial aid, I did not have all of the financial resources needed to cover my expenses through the end of the semester. I decided to attend despite the obstacle by reasoning that I could just not try at all by not attending and give up this life-changing opportunity or I could step out in faith and claim that it would all work out; if it didn’t, at least I tried. Well, it did work out in the end. As a result of my academic performance thus far, I was able to secure an additional scholarship to cover all of my expenses for the duration of my law school tenure.
Question: Name one small habit that positively impacts your productivity.
Genia Philip: It may sound cliche but take the time to develop a to-do list and stick to it! A to-do list has time and time again assisted me in organizing and staying on top of what I need to accomplish each day. On the days that I do a to-do list, I find myself throughout the day remembering things to add to the list which does not happen on the days that I do not initiate a list.
Question: What tips do you have for getting a seat at the table?
Genia Philip: One of the tips I can offer for getting a seat at the table is to demonstrate your expertise in your field and the unique value you add to any organization or project that improves or enhances it. In essence, bringing something that only you can contribute to a conversation, project, or job. This however requires taking time to not only thoroughly understand your field, but also learn what skills, expertise, talents, and attributes a person must possess to contribute to the field, but also taking time to analyze and identify what skills, expertise, talents, attributes that are unique to you and that also enhance your field. Another tip for getting a seat at the table is to demonstrate confidence in who you are and what you are and the quality of your experience and work product. When you display confidence, people around you will see it and trust in your talent and everything else you bring to the table.
Question: What book has made the biggest impact on your life?
Genia Philip: The Bible has made the biggest impact on my life. Not only has having to read the bible continuously strengthen my relationship with God, but it contains a wealth of lessons and instructions on how to live life being the best person you can be. After reading the Bible, I always feel a renewed sense of purpose, peace, strength, and belonging.
Question: Do you value intelligence or common sense more? Why?
Genia Philip: I value common sense more than intelligence. Common sense is about your inherent intuition about life and what makes sense and what feels right in a given situation. It is invaluable in-centric six sense that no matter how intelligent you are, you just may not have. Also, you can improve intelligence, but with common sense you either have it or you do not. Although I consider myself to be a fairly intelligent person, my keen common sense has been more impactful in my achievements and success.
Question: What would you consider to be the perfect day?
Genia Philip: A perfect day for me depends on what my focus is for that day. Irrespective of what the focus of the day is, no day is perfect if I have not taken the time or the opportunity to pray, meditate on scriptures and bible verses and express my thankfulness and gratefulness for all that God has blessed me with, for the very minor things to the major thing. If my focus is to rest and to take time to recharge, then a perfect day for me is to wake up a little later than usual, spend time engaging in leisurely activities work, and spend time just letting my mind be free from responsibility. On the other hand, if my focus for the day is work and tasks, then accomplishing everything that I set out to achieve that day is a perfect day. This includes waking up refreshed and energized, spending time in prayer and meditation, running and/or strength training, consuming healthy balanced meals, and completing all tasks and activities for both work and my personal life.