s
s
Sections
Sections
Subscribe

Anisya Thomas Fritz, Ph.D.

Proprietor and director of consumer experience

Lynmar Estate Winery

3909 Frei Road, Sebastopol 95472

707.829.3374

www.lynmarestate.com

Notable Quote: “My advice would be for every young woman to be relentless in learning and developing a skill set that provides measurable value. If you can show how you add value, you can soar. If you rely only on others recognizing your potential, your path is much murkier.”

Professional background: Researcher, scholar, professor, executive, entrepreneur

2008-2017, proprietor, director of consumer sales, Lynmar Estate; 2000-2008, executive director, Fritz Institute; 2000-2017: CEO LynnCo Supply Chain Solutions; 1990-1997, assistant professor Florida International University ; 1997-2000, associate professor Florida International University; 1998-2000, visiting professor, Stockholm School of Economics.

Education: Ph.D. in strategic management; masters in management from Virginia Tech.; BBA, Loyola College.

Staff: 18

Tell us about yourself and your company: Lynmar Estate is a family-owned producer of ultra-premium chardonnay and pinot noir that is sold almost exclusively directly to the consumer. The underlying theory of everything we do is that the whole must be bigger than the sum of the parts. Everyone at Lynmar understands that the remarkable gift of the land must be matched by tireless efforts to push the boundaries of excellence in the vineyards, in our winemaking and in our hospitality. We are constantly experimenting, learning and improving, always excited by the challenge of getting better, as a winery, as a team and as hosts to the remarkable guests that visit us from all over the world.

My husband Lynn Fritz and I are resident proprietors and manage every aspect of the winery. I also teach a course in Wine Business Entrepreneurship at Sonoma State University marrying my previous career as an academic with my current one.

Is there a major accomplishment in the past year or so that you would like to share?

2017 marked the fifth year of teaching Wine Business Entrepreneurship at Sonoma State University. Over this time I have collaborated with the Wine Business Institute to create the Wine Entrepreneurship Network, a group of vibrant young wine industry entrepreneurs who collaborate, network, learn together and support each other. I am extremely proud of this group and their courage to blaze their path in our competitive industry.

Any community involvement?

I was raised to believe in the importance of giving back, of being a contributor to your community and society. I started out as a teacher and professor, then spent a decade working in humanitarian relief, before getting involved in the wine industry. Here in Sonoma County, I volunteer teach a 10-week course in Wine Business Entrepreneurship at Sonoma State University, am on the board of the Green Music Center at Sonoma State University and at my son’s school, Sonoma Country Day. At Lynmar Estate we support scores of local not for profits in arts, education and the environment. We also actively donate to the charities that are important to our community of employees and members.

Our community engagement continues in the investment we make in the training and education of our staff, in the sustainability of our vineyards, in our engagement with our industry associations and our neighbors.

What is the achievement you are most proud of?

As I look back over the course of my three careers, as an academic, a social entrepreneur and a vintner, perhaps the work I am most proud of is what we achieved with Fritz Institute. Fritz Institute is a not for profit that Lynn and I started to bring some of the best practices from commercial logistics to the field of disaster relief. During the decade that I was the executive director, in partnership with amazing organizations and people, we created technology that tracked relief supplies, created education that made humanitarians more efficient and effective at delivering relief and created metrics to measure governance and transparency. From Africa to Geneva, many of the innovations we created are still creating value and helping people all over the world. It was a privilege to have had the opportunity to understand the incredible work that aid workers do around the world and to enhance it in a modest way.

Anisya Thomas Fritz, Ph.D.

Proprietor and director of consumer experience

Lynmar Estate Winery

3909 Frei Road, Sebastopol 95472

707.829.3374

www.lynmarestate.com

What is your biggest challenge today?

Finding enough hours in the day to be a good boss, colleague, mentor, mother, wife and friend.

Words that best describe you: Tenacious, bold, unconventional, curious and fair.

As a successful female professional, what were the biggest obstacles you faced and how did you overcome them?

I think the obstacles that I faced as a female professional were the ones that my professional sisters are quite familiar with – having my voice heard and being taken seriously. I tried to overcome these by trying to really good at what I did, putting forward my views even as I knew I was being perceived as being ‘pushy’, and finding male and female colleagues that understood that I had something to offer and would support me. It was not and is not easy.

How do you think your profession will change in the next five years?

With the wine industry growing at a relatively fast pace, both in terms of consumers and producers, I think that we will see greater consolidation and greater differentiation. Small family-owned producers like Lynmar Estate, will have to excel at all aspects of operations, from winemaking to hospitality to be competitive. At the same time, consumers will seek special, memorable experiences and coherent philosophies and values to identify with.

Who was your most important mentor?

My most important mentor was Professor Bob Litschert, who was my doctoral dissertation chair. Hailing from Indiana, he was modest and understated, but had a giant brain and instilled in his students a love for pushing boundaries when learning. He taught us always to question, and to keep asking questions even when we thought we had the answers. It is in the pursuit of more questions that understanding happens, layer by layer. Gently, and unassumingly he drilled us in the theory of management, but also taught us the application of learning in life. If there is one thing I want my students and staff to take from me – it is to approach every situation by asking why – this simple exercise can unveil a universe of possibilities.

What advice would you give to a young woman entering your profession or the work world today?

I think the wine industry today is wide open for professional women. Given the myriad opportunities and possibilities, it is easy to plunge into the industry without a clearly defined professional skill set. My advice would be for every young woman to be relentless in learning and developing a skill set that provides measurable value. If you can show how you add value, you can soar. If you rely only on others recognizing your potential, your path is much murkier.

Most admired businessperson outside your organization: As sentimental as it is, the business person within and outside our organization that I admire most, is my husband Lynn Fritz. He has been a serial entrepreneur blazing new trails in the logistics and transportation industry, in humanitarian relief and in wine. I have had the privilege of working with him for over two decades and his ability to see trends a decade before they manifest fascinates me. He also is able to distill a vision to a philosophy and a value system that people can identify with and feel elevated by. He taught me about the importance of belief systems in the evolution of organizations. So few people recognize the human need to belong to something greater and larger than themselves – it is innate and universal.

Best place to work outside of your office: On my back porch looking over the vineyards and the magnificent Laguna de Santa Rosa.

Current reading: I am always reading several books - now “Last Call” about prohibition, “The Circle”, a novel about Silicon Valley, and “Sapiens,” a story about the evolution of humans.

Most want to meet: Oprah Winfrey - I admire her approach of living with learning and joy to make a difference.

Social media you most use: Instagram

Stress relievers: Sharing a bottle of Lynmar over dinner with friends; Walking my two dogs in our vineyards

Favorite hobbies: Reading and traveling.

Is there something we didn’t ask that you would like to add?:

I’m exhausted! I have said too much already for the very private person I am.