#WeAreArity Wednesday: Anthony Johnson

Meet Anthony Johnson from our Sales team.

What was the first way you made money?

I sold candy at school. My brother and I wanted a computer, an Atari ST. And my parents said if we earn half the money, they would pay the other half, and we could get it. I would sell blow pops, gum, and all that kind of stuff. I would probably eat half of it, too.

Sam’s was around back then. So, we would go to Sam’s, go to the candy aisle, and get the big boxes of candy. I was 10 years old.

It worked out really well. We got the Atari and games. There used to be a computer store called Babbage’s back in the day. So, we got it from Babbage’s, and we bought some games for it, and we were rocking and rolling.

We kept selling after a while. I don’t remember how much longer afterwards. It was a nice, little side hustle.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Growing up, I wanted to be an architect. I had an interest in drafting and design, and I’ve always loved seeing the art in everything – including architecture.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received at work?

It was my first job out of college, and I’ve never forgotten it. One of the partners in the company was giving these, just, different tips for success. And, I don’t remember all of them, but I remember one. It’s, “Be brilliant on the basics,” because a lot of people are not.

Just the basic fundamental things — be brilliant at that, whether that’s communication, being on time, and the core function of whatever your role is. Be brilliant at that, and then you build from there.

What fictional family would you most like to join?

It would be the Huxtables from “The Cosby Show.” When that show was on, I wanted to be in their family. I’m like, man, they look like they have so much fun. I mean, it was the first time that I had seen a Black American family on a television show.

I mean, before that, it was “Good Times” and “The Jeffersons.” But they were older, and their kids were grown, so I didn’t identify as much – although I liked the show, and I watched it.

And then “Good Times” — it was anything but good times. Somebody was always out of work, they didn’t have any food, and their lights were getting turned off, and all that stuff. I’m like, “I don’t live like that, and I don’t know anything about that.”

So, on “The Cosby Show,” seeing that dad’s a doctor, mom’s an attorney, and nobody is worrying about paying bills. They were successful in their careers, and they still had time for family, and it was good. I liked seeing that they promoted education, and the arts, and music, and all those good things. So, it was awesome. It gave me something to aspire to. I’m like, “Oh, you can live like this. This is a possibility. It’s not even a question of whether I’m going to college or not. Of course I am.”

What is an item on your bucket list that you haven’t done yet?

Standup comedy. I want to do a five-minute set. I love comedy. I grew up watching Eddie Murphy and even watched Richard Pryor. I like Eddie Griffin. I love comics. I’m fascinated by them.

I think they’re some of the most talented people in entertainment, in my opinion, because to get up there, and it’s just you and a mic – you don’t have directors and production. You can have people writing your material, but for the most part, it is just you up there. You don’t have props, and it’s not a set. It’s just, “Get up there and share your truth,” in a humorous and engaging way.

I’ve done a lot of public speaking, just being in sales all these years, but never where it’s like I’m trying to entertain you. So, it’s like another level. I can get up in front of people and talk, but now, it’s just that added layer of, “I’m trying to give you some jokes now.”

What is the best kitchen gadget?

Right now, it is my air fryer. You can get that crisp, but it’s so much healthier.

It works really well. I’ve cooked ribeye steaks in there. I just tried it on a whim. The main thing is it cooks really fast, so that’s the thing you have to be aware of. Kind of like a convection oven. The food is getting hit from every direction with heat, and that’s why it cooks so fast. So, you’ve got to be mindful of that. And depending on what you’re cooking, you might want to toss it in a little bit of olive oil, or something like that. Just something to kind of protect the meat a little bit, if you’re cooking meat.

What is a good way to give back to the community?

Working at the food pantry. My church has a food pantry every Saturday at our church. But they have food pantries all over. Going there, volunteering, and serving that way is something that one could easily take for granted — where your next meal is coming from. But if you ever serve at one of those, you realize, man, there are so many people, and they need help, and they need groceries.

And then also working at a homeless shelter — there are so many roles and volunteer stuff that you can do. They may have you in the back, in the kitchen, on the pots, or serving the food. Those are a couple of things that I’ve done that I’ve enjoyed.

What is your favorite way to practice self-care?

I would say working out, running, and going to the gym to lift weights – or really, just exercising because it’s taking care of your body. And I believe there’s, obviously, the physical component – but there’s a mental component too. Just to do that exercise, you’re accomplishing something.

So, it really doesn’t matter how crazy your day may get professionally, or personally, or both. That’s kind of that one thing that I can hold on to. It’s like, “Hey, so I did something for myself, and I accomplished something, and it’s a positive thing.” It’s not like I’m gung-ho and excited to do it, but when I’m finished, I’m always so glad that I did.

Typically, I work out in the morning, so my days go much better when I work out versus when I don’t. It just puts me in a more relaxed state throughout the day when I’m able to get that workout in to kick my day off. If I had to pick one, I prefer running. There’s the fresh air, the sun, my music or a podcast.

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Arity is a mobility data and analytics company. We provide data-driven solutions to companies invested in transportation, enabling them to deliver mobility services that are smarter, safer, and more economical.