#BEYOUROWN MEETS ANDREA WHITE
CEO of Elite Leadership Coaching by Andrea, Andrea White currently lives in Jacksonville, FL, serves others through 1:1 coaching, online small groups, workshops, and keynote presentations to increase leadership intelligence, position, power, impact, and influence.
While receiving accolades, awards, and making an impact in leadership positions all over the U.S, Andrea had a nagging sense of feeling stuck, unfulfilled, and, most of all, that she could do more. In addition, Andrea was not always surrounded by leaders that were honest, trustworthy, appreciative, or interested in helping her to become a better leader.
So she decided to take things into my own hands! Andrea began to figure out ways to work on my confidence, professional presence, and leadership skills. Andrea took the initiative to apply for a leadership program that was offered by an employer and was doubtful she would be accepted because of being so young in her career and didn’t have a lot of work experience, but never the less she was!
Things began to change for Andrea because she decided to take what she had learned and applied it each day at work, at home, an in her community. of course, as she expresses, “it wasn’t always easy, sometimes, I wanted to do what everyone else was doing, but I kept my eye on my goal of rising to an executive level position in my career. And, over time, I did! And I now I am the person people come to for leadership coaching, support, advice, resources, and accountability.” Now with over 20 years of business and entrepreneurial experience, Andrea has had the awesome opportunity to work successfully with professionals across the United States.
Hey Andrea, can you introduce yourself to us?
Hello! I am Andrea White, CEO of Elite Leadership Coaching by Andrea. I serve business professionals and small business owners who feel stuck, unclear, or not supported in increasing their leadership intelligence, influence, income, power, and position. In my 20 plus year career, I have supported professionals and organisations across the United States through 1:1 coaching and mentoring, workshop and retreat facilitation, and keynote presentations. I absolutely am passionate about serving others, creating and delivering events and experiences with creativity, humour, fun; and impactful messaging that help people develop personal plans of action.
Can you take us through your journey to where you are now?
While receiving accolades, awards, and making impact in leadership positions all over the U.S., I had a nagging sense that I could do more. In addition, I was not always surrounded by leaders that were honest, trustworthy, appreciative, or interested in helping me to become a better leader. So I decided to take things into my own hands! I began to figure out ways to work on my confidence, professional presence, and leadership skills. I took the initiative to apply for a leadership program that was offered by an employer. I was doubtful I would be accepted because I was so young in my career and didn’t have a lot of work experience, but I was! And things began to change for me because I decided to take what I learned and apply it each day in my personal and professional life. It wasn’t always easy. Sometimes, I wanted to do what everyone else was doing- leaders don’t always have that luxury – but I kept my eye on my goal of rising to an executive level position in my career. And, over time, I did! And I now I am THE person people come to for leadership coaching, support, advice, resources, and accountability.
What is a day in the life of you like?
Each day, I rise around 5:00 am for Bible reading, prayer, and mindset work. After I drop my 10th-grade son off at school, I return to my home office to knock out my business goals for the day. I cycle my day with work and brain breaks. Every hour or so, I take a brain break – I exercise for 10 to 15 minutes, I may also do a few house chores, or sit with Muffin, my office dog. After about 30 minutes, I work for another hour or so. Brain breaks improve work quality and help with creativity. My workday ends at different times each day – it depends on what is going on with family events and work projects. Ideally, I try to end my workday by 8:00 pm or 9:00 pm.
What was the concept behind launching Elite Leadership Coaching?
Throughout my career, I have experienced the effects of being in the presence of great and not-so-great leaders. I wholeheartedly know that leadership matters – and makes a difference in the way employees show up for work every day as well as its impact on business. Without confident, knowledgeable, communicative, emotionally intelligent leaders, employees, customers, the business, and the business’ surrounding community suffer.
Elite Leadership Coaching is a mechanism to ensure informal and formal business professionals and small business owners can have access to the accountability, knowledge, skills, tools, and resources that will support their growth, and thus, the business, and their community. We all have a responsibility to manifest our very best – and when we do so our lives, businesses, and communities thrive.
How is Elite Leadership Coaching funded, is it bootstrapped, self-funded etc.?
Can you tell us more about your brand DNA and ethos at Elite Leadership Coaching?
First, leadership is a decision – it is not a position. Leaders are needed everywhere – at home, at work, and in the community. I believe when people make the decision to serve as a leader, and then consistently seek out opportunities to learn, grow, and mentor others, then all of the spaces we show up in are better off. The notion of leaders everywhere, and spreading the message of the vital importance of informal leaders, is a significant mission and value of Elite Leadership Coaching by Andrea.
In addition, it is just as vital that leaders in the C-Suite are open and willing to consistently work to enhance their leadership intelligence through coaching and consulting. In doing so, due to their position, they are able to model the effectiveness of good leadership; and positively impact employees, teams, external relationships, and their community. It is important that C-Suite professionals and small business owners embrace their leadership skill development does not end – even when they have reached the pinnacle of their career or small business.
Can you give us 3 useful tips to help us develop the right leadership qualities every entrepreneur should possess?
- Develop your emotional intelligence. It is a scientifically proven concept that impacts business results and relationships. Some of the components of emotional intelligence include being self-aware, managing your emotions and reactions appropriately, and developing resiliency.
- Communication is often the root of misunderstandings, conflict, and inefficiency. Skills to develop include learning your communication style and how to interact with other communication styles; and understanding that communication includes the words you use, the tone used when speaking, and your body language. When communicating, it is important that these three things are aligned to decrease the likelihood of any of the negative impacts of poor communication.
- Develop a strategic plan for your business. Many entrepreneurs are busy with the day-to-day activities of their business, so it makes it difficult to create a larger vision for their business that includes all of the elements of a successful business: goals, activities, timeline to implement your activities, measures to know if you met your goals, and plans to reflect so improvement can be coordinated. Some may view this as “corporate business”, but strategic planning is a concept that is not fully embraced, understood, or used by entrepreneurs. Incorporating this business concept into their operations will increase their business effectiveness and impact.
Who does the team involve behind you Elite Leadership Coaching?
I have an eclectic, awesome team! From my 10th grade son, who helps me with my social media, including my glitches to my oldest son, who recently graduated from college, helps me think through business concepts. The two of them also provide me with real world/everyday feedback to my ideas and content.
I also have two great coaches that help me with content development, building my business, and to be sounding boards for the unique circumstances of entrepreneur life. And, last but not least, I have a great girlfriend who I can call anytime to discuss successes, challenges, all things not business related, and for great laughs! My informal team includes all of the people I meet at local networking meetings and workshops – they help with building my knowledge and network, inspiration, idea cultivation and feedback, motivation, and momentum.
Where can you see yourself within the next 3-5 years?
Elite Leadership Coaching is just the tip of the iceberg! Eventually, Elite Leadership Coaching will be under an enterprise umbrella.
My full concept to include local and national leadership development events that will include a community service component for attendees. We may spend one day in a conference style agenda and the second day, we will work on projects such as school building improvement projects, building school playgrounds and school gardens, helping a local food bank pack and distribute, visiting a senior living community to spend time with some of our most valuable citizens, or providing supplies for foster care and homeless students through the local school district. I am confident through these acts of service, attendees will be ignited on social issues and will continue to work long-term in the community after the event (and they will build upon it by inviting others and raising awareness).
In addition, I am planning to add a youth development segment in nontraditional settings as an avenue to cultivate and enhance the young community, entrepreneurial, and collegiate leaders. Frequently, in U.S. urban and rural areas and marginalised populations, there isn’t access to platforms that will expose young people to the knowledge and skills that will support their real personal visions and dreams for their adult life. This platform will elevate and expose young people to the possibilities, knowledge, and skills they need to live beyond the limits they may be allowed to determine their future.
What strategies do you have in place when looking at the expansion of Elite Leadership Coaching?
First, I have to become profitable to re-invest back into my business for the growth goals I have. Simultaneously, I have to constantly work to increase my business knowledge, skills, financial literacy, and network. Maintain focus on taking it one day at a time toward my long-term vision and plan. And, most of all, by keeping service and humanity at the center of my goals, I have full confidence that the ultimate vision I have for my enterprise will be a full reality in the future.
Can you tell us what areas you have struggled in professionally?
Three things immediately come to mind. First, entrepreneurship can sometimes be quite lonely. Sometimes it feels like I am the only one who really believes in my vision. Second, I am in the beginning stages, so finances are sometimes concerning as well. Lastly, statistically, small businesses and entrepreneurial endeavours don’t fare well, so not allowing the data facts to overwhelm me with fear of failure is critical as well. Positive self-talk, mindset work, affirmations, working my plan every day, and being open and flexible are vital to minimising the negative thoughts, doubts, and fears.
Have you ever had any other mentor? If so how has this benefitted you to grow?
I have had far more informal mentors than formal, but none the less I learned a lot from them. I watched them in a variety of situations and circumstances and asked questions. Informal mentors can be powerful because, in a way, it takes the pressure off of a formal relationship or agreement, and the lessons learned can be more organic and authentic.
What outlets do use to market your Elite Leadership Coaching?
I use social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook. I also participate in local events and workshops I find on Eventbrite, and through my local Chamber of Commerce. I also network, maintain relationships and attend many community meetings from my previous 9 to 5.
Which methods are you using to build your own support network?
My local Chamber of Commerce has opportunities specifically for small business owners, including some that are focused on women-owned business in particular. In addition, I have attended workshops hosted by my local Career Source (they help professionals to network and find employment) that has afforded me opportunities to meet new people that have been willing to introduce me to their networks. In addition, both of my coaches have created online communities to provide support, resources, and education for their clients.
What do you believe are the common misconceptions about coaching and how are you using your platform and voice to educate people more?
The business of coaching, at least in the U.S., is on a significant growth trend. I think it is important that people understand coaching is about moving you forward, but if you have significant issues from your past that is deeply rooted, they may require professional therapy for resolution. That is an important distinction that I share. It is important for coaches and clients to understand and work within those bounds for each party to have mutually beneficial success and impact.
What would you like to see changed for millennials in business?
Great question! So much pressure and negative information abound as it relates to the millennial generation in the workplace. I think there is work that can be done on both sides of the equation (employers and millennials).
I think employers have an opportunity to make a major shift in how they view, support, engage, and retain the millennial generation. Without a positive perspective of the strengths that lie within this generation, employers may be missing out on a significant opportunity for impactful succession planning, employee recruitment, and customer growth and engagement.
The millennial generation also has the significant opportunity in their perspective on their career and its growth through employer loyalty. Powerful career growth will occur through sticking with an employer beyond two years (or less). There are significant lessons, informal and formal mentoring relationships, and leadership skill and competency growth that are for the taking, but you have to decide to be committed to the company and its resources for a length of time to fully realise the capital gains. Learning in action, from real people and real projects, situations, and circumstances are what powerful careers, leadership positions, and entrepreneurial endeavours are built from – but you have to be there for these things to occur. Job hopping depletes your opportunity for compounded exposure and growth.
What is the best piece of business advice you have received to date?
To run my own race. We all move, learn, and grow at a different pace. It is counterproductive to wonder why someone is ahead of me. My race is my race – my time is my time – and only through each can I consider my journey successful. What is mine will be mine when I receive all that I need to get where I am supposed to be.
What is the number 1 critical lesson you have learned in your career so far?
There is an opportunity in everything – every relationship, every misstep, every experience. Positive opportunity abounds! It is everywhere. You have to shift your mindset to take advantage of this lesson.
How do you create an evenly balanced work and personal life?
I love to plan, organize, and communicate! As a single mom of two young men who play basketball year-round, these habits have been my saving grace. My sons and I frequently talk about the week ahead and who has to do what and when and we review day by day as needed. I use every minute of my day toward productivity and being present for family obligations, professional responsibilities, emotional wellbeing, fun things, physical activity, and rest and relaxation. I haven’t always lived this way. I lived out of balance for years. I realised living in that way was not sustainable, so I decided to figure out how to make things better. In the beginning, to establish new habits, I wrote everything down in a planner. Now I have more of an established routine so I don’t have to write everything down as much. And I am always prepared, I take my laptop with me everywhere I go – just in case I can squeeze in a work task, and I always have a pair of tennis shoes in the car – just in case I have time to get some steps in.
The highlight of your career so far?
So many! My favourite two include when I worked on an exciting project to improve the health and wellbeing of students in San Francisco, Philadelphia, and New York City for two years. The traveling was great, especially when I could take my youngest son with me, and I met some amazing people across the U.S.
My second favourite was developing a leadership development program from the ground up that was selected as a “Promising Practice” by the National Association of County and City Health Officials, a national organisation whose mission is to improve the health of communities by strengthening and advocating for local health departments.
What gives you ultimate career satisfaction?
Serving others in a capacity that encourages and supports them in being their very best.
What challenges have you seen to have been presented during the growth of Elite Leadership Coaching?
This is my second entrepreneurial endeavour. My first experience was 2005-2014. The online space has changed so much since then, so learning to harness the power of the online space for marketing, promotions, and business delivery has been a learning curve I did not realise I needed to learn until I decided to launch this second time around.
Which other leading entrepreneurs and pioneering game changers do you also admire and why?
Dr. Tracy Timberlake because she is my coach and has helped me to understand the digital space. http://drtracytimberlake.com/
Katrina Nickhol because she is solely responsible for inspiring and nudging me to launch this time around. She also serves as a great coach for me too! http://katrinanickhol.com/
Tracy Wilson Peters because I was with her when she and her previous business partner launched Childbirth and Postpartum Professionals Association in Atlanta, GA and now the organisation is global. www.cappa.net
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
‘The Book Of Mistakes’ by Skip Pritchard and ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ by Robert T. Kiyosaki.
How do you measure your own terms of success?
Some days, its that I kept going in the midst of adversity. Some days, its because I met a huge goal. Some days, its because I did what I chose to do for the day and did not feel guilty about it. Some days, its because I was inspired, nudged, or received some great advice from an unlikely source. Every day, its because I am now confident in my God given strengths, gifts, talents, and purpose to serve others.
What does #BEYOUROWN mean to you?
It means several things: Be your own person, boss, cheerleader, mastermind, and servant to others without guilt or seeking or needing the permission of others to do so.