Name: Brandon Andrews
Profession: Senior Consultant, Values Partnerships
What is your “Extraordinary Impact?”
I help brands build authentic connections and make sure the communities they connect with get value from those connections. I also support entrepreneurship in the communities that need it most. Entrepreneurship has the power to transform communities, and applying the principles of entrepreneurship to any project has the power to transform the world.
What does being one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction mean to you?
We need more positive stories. We need more positive motivation. Not only that, we need more profiles that show us that success is within reach because anyone can make the daily decision to be better. That is the story of my life and career. The BEMM 100 Men of Distinction is full of these stories. I’m also excited because sharing stories like these ensures that young brothers not only have something to aspire to, but also have a pathway to get there.
What are some examples of how you turned struggle into success?
If I am not struggling with something new, if I am not challenged, I am not truly living. There is a daily struggle to make the small decisions that lead to significant progress. The ability of small decisions to impact the trajectory of a day, a project, or a life is incredible. Never think that the small step forward that you take today is insignificant. Each step, each decision, each choice is meaningful. I’ve taken blows and overcome them. However, the key to each situation, from homelessness to losing a job to struggling to get traction with a new business, has been to make the decision to move forward.
What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?
I want to learn from everyone in my life. I am drawn to people who can teach me things, show me different perspectives, and challenge my thinking and actions. I work to reciprocate that. If you can teach me something meaningful, through your actions or your words, you’ve got my attention.
What are some immediate projects you are working on?
With Values Partnerships, I lead a nationwide casting tour for ABC’s Shark Tank developed to bring more diverse ideas and voices to the show. I am working on Steve Harvey’s Funderdome, a new seed capital show for entrepreneurs on ABC. I also lead the Google Connected Churches program. We are hosting free tech classes at African American churches around the country to empower the churches to better serve their communities, and to close the digital divide.
What is the best advice you ever received?
Never stop learning.
What is some advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?
Raise your hand when asked to help. The best opportunities for me have come after I responded to someone else’s need. Sometimes a community needed volunteer help, other times a colleague needed assistance, and still other times there was a gap in the market that I responded to with a product or service. Identifying a need and filling it effectively is a skill that is transferable. Start early, start in the community, build that skill, and make a difference wherever you go.
How do you prep for an important business meeting and/or event?
I begin by asking myself what value can I add here. Researching who you are meeting with and what their interests are is a good step. Determining how to meet the needs of the audience is great. However, the key to any meeting or event is adding value. If you don’t add value, why bother?
As a busy Modern Man, how do you unwind on vacation? Share a story about your best vacation.
I take a daily vacation at the gym. I love being near the water. My best personal time—whether it’s five minutes or five days—is spent near bodies of water.
If you could travel and stay anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Mali. I love epic hero stories. The epic poems and stories from the continent of Africa are less well known than Hercules, Gilgamesh, and others. One of the best from the continent of Africa is the epic of Sundiata. Visiting Mali would allow me to connect with our history and humanity in a special way. Storytelling is important. BE is continuing that tradition of storytelling by sharing the stories of black men through this platform.
It’s our normal to be extraordinary. Follow @BEModernMan and join the conversation using #BEModernMan.
Come celebrate the BE Modern Man 100 Men of Distinction at the first-ever Black Men XCEL Summit, Aug. 30 – Sept. 3, at the PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.