F. Zaria Chinelo – Founder and CEO of Tutor for Good

[quote style=”boxed”]I reflect on a daily basis. I reflect on my family, my friends, my relationships with other people in general; and I recommend that others do the same. [/quote]

F. Zaria Chinelo is an artist, scientist, and entrepreneur. She possesses 6+ years experience in teaching education, and web development. Zaria holds dual degrees in Molecular Biology and General Chemistry. After being hired by Vanderbilt University, she led urban students to academic success before starting TFG. She has been honored as a National Merit Scholar and by Texas Instruments for her achievements. She leads Felicity Motivational Group and Tutor for Good’s projects.

What are you working on right now?

I am working on building and expanding my company. Felicity Motivational Group (Tutor for Good’s parent company) is my passion, and Tutor for Good is just one of many passions that I am consistently developing.

Where did the idea for Tutor for Good come from?

The idea for Tutor for Good came in 2008 when I found myself wondering, what type of company I wanted to start? I read in an Inc.com article that you should always name your company after what you want to do, if possible. I wanted to provide tutoring services that “benefited the people”. Thus, I decided to create a company that “Tutors for the Good of the People”.

What does your typical day look like?

My typical day is very busy. I am constantly thinking of ways to improve Felicity Motivational Group and to enhance the patient or student’s experience. But, at the same time, I have to take care of myself and perform my daily duties. My mind often wanders. Ironically, some of my greatest breakthroughs are made when my mind is relaxed; such as during my workout or video game session.

How do you bring ideas to life?

When I have an idea, the best way for me to bring it to life is to plan it. But, I don’t spend too much time outlining my plans. I like trying ideas in “beta” phases. During beta phases, I test out an idea and then get continuous feedback from its users. Feedback from users allows me to figure out how to improve the services that Felicity Motivational Group/Tutor for Good offer.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

The trend of “appscriptions” excites me because digital technology has taken over medicine. Medication compliance and reminder apps are being sanctioned by governments worldwide (Australia, UK, etc) as an upcoming necessity. As both a health and educational nonprofit, Felicity Motivational Group is poised to play a pivotal role in informing the minds, transforming the health, and changing the lives of people with technology (in fact, that our slogan!). We offer services that, in partnership with health informatics, could increase compliance and the well being of patients.

What was the worst job you ever had, and what did you learn from it?

When most people think of the worst job they have ever had, they usually refer to a fast food or grocery store job. However the worst job I ever had was as a manager at a summer camp. At the camp, I had several teenagers who did not know how to multiply or divide, but had somehow been “passed” by their teachers to the next grade level. I had no issue with teaching them. However, it was frustrating to learn that the owner of the camp did not want me to teach them, because the time spent on the children would take too much out of her corporations.

It’s a terrible feeling to be placed in a situation that you did not wish for, and have no control over. I learned from my experience at that camp that there was a need for accessible educational support services in America. That summer job was my inspiration for creating Tutor for Good, a free online and phone tutoring service, so that more students could get access to the help they need.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I would do everything much earlier! I think back to times in the past when I was hesitant to do things, because I did not know if I could dedicate my full energy to them. Now that I’m older, I realize that it’s better to try something and fail than to not try it at all.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing that you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

I reflect on a daily basis. I reflect on my family, my friends, my relationships with other people in general; and I recommend that others do the same. It’s important that, at the end of the day, you are satisfied with most aspects of your life. You don’t want to come home and have nothing to look forward to. After all, there is no point in creating a business if you don’t have people to enjoy your success with.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur and how did you overcome it?

As an entrepreneur, my first failure was in thinking that I could do everything by myself. For example, my first business sold small scale technological solutions for education. Years into the business, I had to close it because I had too much responsibility, and I had not created a basis for the business to run without my “micromanaging” it. I overcame this failure in my future endeavors and investments by recognizing the limitations of my own abilities, and recruiting talent whose strengths lay in my areas of weakness.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to readers?

A great business idea is to be an Internet Trainer. If you are good at something, makes videos of yourself doing it, and post them on youtube, a website/blog, and more.

If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about doing it?

Ironically, I would do away with interviews. I think the best way to determine whether or not a person will be an asset to your organization is to look at creativity. I want to know more about what a person has done in the past, and less about whether or not they can answer a set of predetermined questions. How do I go about doing this? I already have. Interviews at Felicity Motivational Group are a conversation; never an inquisition. We just discuss the past, present, and potential opportunities for the future. I also continuously evaluate the interview process, to ensure that we are recruiting innovative talent.

Tell us something about you that very few people know

I am a very private person. But it’s hard to maintain a low profile when you are a CEO; people naturally want to know more about you. Because of my interests, I have often found myself having to be more vocal, in most situations, than I originally intended. In those cases, questions about me are always admissible, but questions about my family are usually off limits.

What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?

Adobe CS6 – Everything a creative entrepreneur needs to design and collaborate

FormAssembly – The best, and easiest, platform that I have ever used to create forms, surveys, and polls

IdeaMensch – A great website for those stressful days when I find myself in need of inspiration from other entrepreneurs.

What is the one book that you recommend our community read and why?

The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington. The economic rise and fall that was portrayed in the novel by the Amberson and Morgan families parallels the advent of the globalized economy in which we are entrenched today.

Three people we should follow on twitter and why?

@billgates – If you’re the richest man in the world, you must be doing something right

@marissamayer – CEO of Yahoo and Silicone Valley’s most prominent female

@darthvader – Why? Isn’t it obvious that you can’t resist the force. No, really. You can’t!

Who is your hero, and why?

My mother. As an immigrant, it must have taken a lot of guts for her and my father to leave their world behind and come to America. But, they did so knowing that they needed to provide us with a better life. For that, I am very grateful.

What do you love about your journey?

I love the fact that the things my company does are having a positive impact on people’s lives. Every aspect of my company provides a service that makes people’s lives more productive, useful, and efficient.

What words of wisdom or mantra do you live by?

My favorite quote is by Alice Earle “….yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift, that’s why it’s called the present”. The quote is empowering and encourages you to take charge of the things that you can control, and leave those which you can’t.


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