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Campus News / News

Rockford University’s Board Member Anisha Grimmett’s Career Journey: From Engineering to a Style Business

02/28/2024 9:36 am

By Sara Myers, Digital Media & Communications Specialist  

Anisha Grimmett headshot

Rockford native and local business owner Anisha Grimmett is very involved in the community and has become a key player in the city through the connections she has made. She sits on many boards including Keith Country Day School (where her children attend) and Rockford University’s Board.

Grimmett was asked by former President Eric Fulcomer to be on the board in 2020. She knows RU well, as it is both her brother’s and her mother’s alma mater. Her brother graduated from RU with a Business degree, and her mother graduated with a master’s in teaching degree. 

 Grimmett grew up in the Rockford area and went to Auburn High School.  

Years before her brother’s college journey, Grimmett decided to leave home and attend the University of Illinois in Champaign. She discovered more about herself that first year and began finding her independence. However, Grimmett quickly discovered Champaign was much too big of a campus for her. She transferred to Devry University in Chicago, Illinois, and finished her bachelor’s degree in engineering there. 

 Grimmett discovered her love for “figuring out how things worked” early on. 

“I was always the one taking things apart looking at the insides of things and putting things together,” she said. “Don’t give me instructions, I’ll figure it out.” It was her uncle who told her that she should be an engineer because engineers do exactly that. 

Before even attending college for engineering, Grimmett had a prestigious internship lined up at home. She received an internship at what was then called Sunstrand (now called Collins Aerospace). 

After a few summers interning “They hired me because I was going to be moving back to Rockford and driving into Chicago for school, so I was part-time,” she said. “They paid for my college, and it was a huge blessing. I would go to school in the morning and then come straight to work and work into the evenings sometimes.”

 After graduating college at Devry, Grimmett came back to Rockford where she worked at Sundstrand. There, she met her husband, they got married and had 2 kids. 

 “I was the person that wanted to leave Rockford and never come back but all the great opportunities that Rockford had for me,” she said. “It was hard to leave that. I had a job that paid well, and this was in 1997. I’m an intern making 18 bucks an hour. I was learning so much and being able to apply what I had learned in the classroom to work and vice versa.”

 Grimmett worked at Sundstrand for over 20 years. 

 During her time at the engineering giant, she had multiple opportunities. She worked in different departments like components, systems engineering, test labs, customer service, cost account management, project management, and international trade compliance. At one point in time, Grimmett was an engineering manager. 

 Around 2011, Grimmett’s husband’s position took their family to China for 3 years. Grimmett brought her two kids, their cat and dog, and all their furniture overseas. 

“That was the best experience of my life,” she said. “Especially in terms of discovering who I was as an adult and a mom and wife. I had the opportunity to stay at home with the kids, which was a true blessing. My kids went to an international school. We learned Chinese and met people from Sweden, Australia, France, Canada, Korea, Japan, Germany and South Africa. So many families were there, and we were exposed to many more cultures. Our potlucks together would just be amazing.”

 Grimmett also learned a lot more about fashion and style during her time in China. She noticed how different those in China dressed than in the U.S. She described the style as more “fashion forward, eclectic and unique.” 

 “To me, it’s the look of luxury without having a lot of money,” she said. “That is a skill in itself. It was just heaven to me to explore and create and to use the landscape and different cultures to hone in my vibe and style. And then bringing all that back here (to America).”

Grimmett came back to UTC Aerospace (now called Collins Aerospace). When she returned, her title was Executive Assistant to the President. In this position, Grimmett had a hand in UTC’s operations, marketing, human resources, talent development, and more. 

 It was in this position that she realized how much she loved working with people. 

After 20-plus years at Sundstrand, Grimmett went on to work with the Education nonprofit Alignment Rockford. 

“There are so many levels of decision-making and politics here,” she said. “I learned a lot and met a lot of great people who are now my clients today and created another level platform of public speaking.”

Grimmett added that the position helped her rediscover her passion for fashion and helping people. She had colleagues come up to her, compliment her fashion, and say how they wished they had Grimmett to go shopping for them. 

After doing some research into how to become a personal stylist, she found a personal stylist based in Los Angeles who became her mentor. Grimmett officially started her style business, “CEO of A New Look by Nisha,” in January 2022. 

Most of her clients currently are referrals and connections she has made through her network throughout the years. When working at Alignment Rockford, her network expanded and she’s been able to grow her clientele through the connections she’s made. 

 Grimmett is now working on creating a social media presence for her business to help her attract more clients in the future. 

“When I’m working with clients, it’s more of style therapy, even when going through their closets,” she said. “Because they discover things about themselves they never would have known. (For example) a client said I didn’t think I bought oversized clothes. That was 90% of my closet because I was too busy wanting to hide myself. It’s hard to achieve greatness when you’re hiding. So the problem statement is, how can I now make myself more visible so I can achieve the greatness I want?”

 If you’re interested in Grimmett’s style coaching business, you can reach out to her at