A Conversation with Andrea Buckhamjack
As part of a new series, “Power & Purpose” captures the essence of success and how perseverance can lead to creating a purposeful life. This series will explore various leaders and how their determination, drive, and faith caused them to make a difference in today’s world.
To kick off this new category, I had the pleasure of interviewing Andrea Buckhamjack. Andrea is a dynamic woman with an incredible mission of giving back to her community. She is the Senior Management Director at the Pinnacle Agency. She was also awarded the title of Ms. California in 2019. This phenomenal woman provides practical advice on how to use failure as fuel to fulfill your destiny. Here are a few highlights from our conversation:
Sarah: Tell me about yourself. What drives you?
Andrea: What drives me is wanting to be the architect for change in our environment and our community. There’s a time that requires change and that time is now. We always say that there’s a time and place for everything and right now, there’s a lack of education in [the black community]. We have to find a way to fix that, so that’s one of my major drives.
Sarah: How did you get your start in business?
Andrea: One of the biggest things for me is that I like to go through the pain [of starting a business]. Many people are afraid of pain but I like to endure the pain. Once you go through that pain, there comes a breaking point where you get numb to it. It’s the same [process] with entrepreneurship.
When you come into the business, you will get a lot of setbacks. I had setbacks from a lot of people. There were people who I thought would be supportive, but it turned out that they weren’t. I made the decision not to allow those [setbacks] to stop me.
I also made the decision to clock-in, even after numerous failures. I realized, after a long period of time, that everybody who’s successful had to fail.
I’m not afraid of failing. I’m afraid of not trying.
For me, business is not hard, business is a learning process. Many people would spend their last [dollars] on food and clothes, but they won’t make an investment in themselves. They don’t bet on themselves because they don’t believe in themselves.
Sarah: How did you develop that diligent mindset? It’s important especially when starting your own business so how did you develop that?
Andrea: It all comes down to divorcing what you already know. Divorce your past, divorce your tradition, divorce your culture, divorce what you already know in order to learn what you need to know [for future success]. Having this mindset is not an easy journey. It takes a lot of personal development, being brutally honest with yourself, a lot of failing, and taking full responsibility.
It’s waking up early in the morning knowing, even if I don’t feel like it, that I have to go and [develop my business]. The most important thing is keeping your commitments. If you say you’re going to do something, do it. That increases your confidence and your capacity to be able to push yourself. Some people don’t know their capacity, so that makes them afraid of challenging themselves.
Sarah: What is the source of your passion? Where does your strength come from?
Andrea: For me, it’s waking up every day in the right state of mind. That’s my strength right there. It’s being able to go and do better. Many people don’t understand what it means to improvise and make things happen. Every day you have to wake up in the right state of mind.
That’s the time for you to go to work. Some people were born into that mindset of being mediocre. I’ve seen people around me settle for meritocracy but I didn’t make that [part of] who I am or what I’m about. You need to learn how to detach yourself from certain things.
You need to be able to focus on the right things. Having the right energy is everything.
What drives me and keeps me going is my energy. I charge for my energy. I’m here to give back [to my community] because I was in a position where I needed someone to reach out to me but I had no one.
Being where I am now, I want to make sure that I reach out to everyone. If someone reaches out to me, I try my best to respond on time so they understand that [having support] is all part of the process.
For me, my drive comes from waking up in the right state of mind and having the opportunity to go be free so I can go help others be free.
In terms of giving advice on financial stability, Andrea urges us to build a proper foundation for our finances. She says that the most important thing is “making sure that you do your homework and know what you’re getting into with your finances.” She also claims that it’s important to plan for the future and “have a blueprint for your business.”
For Andrea, success is all about learning from our leaders. She says that “success is copy and paste. You need to emulate a successful person’s style and give it your own flavor.” Andrea’s perseverance is inspiring and worthy of emulation. It also reminds us that “failure is all part of the process.”
“She is a hard worker, strong and industrious. She is strong and respected and not afraid of the future. She speaks with gentle wisdom.”
-Proverbs 31:17, 25-26