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Andrea Albright: “Don’t race to the finish line”

The most important role of the CEO is to be a visionary of the organization. It’s the most important skill set a CEO can have, and an important asset to every business. The vision is where you’re going and where the market is evolving. If the CEO loses its vision and is so bogged down […]

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The most important role of the CEO is to be a visionary of the organization. It’s the most important skill set a CEO can have, and an important asset to every business. The vision is where you’re going and where the market is evolving. If the CEO loses its vision and is so bogged down by the running of the business, they don’t see how the competition is innovating and changing.


As a part of our series about strong women leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Andrea Albright.

Andréa Albright, who is recognized as a thought leader and publisher, is on a mission to create the next movement for authors and evolve the publishing industry. She’s not just a publisher, she is a Legacy Maker. She’s become the author of 25 books, reaching tens of millions worldwide in over 40 countries. Now, she has taken her passion for helping authors find the same success by publishing books with meaning.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

My pursuit of entrepreneurship began by accident, after a nervous breakdown that I had in Corporate America. I was a very successful businesswoman and made six figures right out of college. I was one of the top sales people in the organization and 3rd in sales the entire country at the corporation the first year I was there. People kept telling me how successful I was going to be in the future. I had a Glendale highrise apartment and lived a comfortable life. It all seemed perfect, however, it was a very toxic work environment. I was sexually harassed and no one was listening to my complaints. In order to avoid others at work, I would go into the office and work at night. I remember crawling under my desk and holding my heart in a fetal position and I asked myself if this was success and my heart said no. After this I started my own company and became a CEO at 26. I remember incorporating the business and writing my name next to the field of CEO and this moment completely shifted my course of life. I chose myself in this instance and started to create my own reality.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

I have discovered a niche of entrepreneurs and successful business owners who are not being served by the publishing industry. One of my clients is a billionaire. He runs a multi-billion dollar hedge fund. You’d think he’d have every opportunity to write and publish a book with any publisher, but he doesn’t like the old fashioned publishing business. This is why he hasn’t published his book yet because he didn’t want to go down the path of working with someone who would take control of his intellectual property. His secret to success is very special and valuable to him.

Whenever he was offered a deal or opportunity to be published by a big name publisher, he read the fine print and it’d say that he’d need to sign over the control of his property. He knows as a business person that he won’t make a deal like that. He’s running multiple companies, so the time and energy to take to get his book written, he needed a good partner to make his time worthwhile. Here I am, disrupting the publishing industry, and already I’m attracting some of the most cutting edge business people on the planet and finally people are seeing that this model of publishing has been created to serve them. It’s fascinating to see this because everytime I publish their books, I’m really getting mentored through seeing how they think and solve problems. It’s a different approach than what you hear in the everyday business conversation. I’m awakened to the high networth investors industry, that you’d normally need hundreds of thousands of dollars to even be in the conversation.

Most people are competing on price. They lower their price trying to compete. I’ve chosen to raise my value and create more value in the industry, which attracts other people who understand investing and value.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

The biggest mistake I made was marrying the wrong person. We actually met through the internet marketing industry at a seminar we both attended. We were colleagues, worked together and were friends. He said we were soulmates, and after 5 years of knowing him, I finally believed him. We formed businesses together and had monetary and professional success as a couple. We were known as a power couple.

However, one day all of this changed. He had an affair, which was devastating. This prompted me to question myself and my self-esteem was at an all-time low. At this point in my life, I believed that I was unlovable and I really began to lose touch with myself. I went to live with my mom because I needed to be surrounded by people that I trusted. My mom actually had a spare room with a bunk bed at her house and I stayed in that bunk bed for a year. In this bunk bed, I did the deepest work. I reflected a lot and spent time thinking about my life’s true purpose. The idea of my business was formed from this bunk bed where I had this vision to serve other authors and thought leaders. Digging deep truly healed me.

It may not seem like a funny story, but looking back, I’m able to see the positives that came through this situation and seeing how successful I am now helps me with closure and clarity from the past.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

At the beginning, I was struggling to be an entrepreneur and didn’t know what that meant exactly. I found my mentor at 28. His name is Eben Pagan and he’s also an entrepreneur, but he helps people scale their companies. When he came into my life I was really transported to a new dimension. He made me feel understood for being different, when no one else could help me understand my gifts. He helped validate that I am here to create something never created before, so there is no manual or playbook to follow. He taught me to be self-reliant and own my gifts and sense of strength. He taught me that I need to be a lifelong learner. I have learned so much and still continue to grow and inquire to help me and my business grow. He gave me these tools to navigate the world of business while staying true to myself. This gift has been the foundation of my continued growth and success, not only a businessperson, but a human being too. My skills are always developing and it is so important to continue to find mentors to serve at the level you are at.

In my work, I often talk about how to release and relieve stress. As a busy leader, what do you do to prepare your mind and body before a stressful or high stakes meeting, talk, or decision? Can you share a story or some examples?

I keep my mind primed. Just like an athlete who is competing for the gold olympic medal, you have to practice to get there. It doesn’t happen overnight. The medal you win symbolizes all the time you’ve invested in getting there. It’s the same here. You don’t step into leadership when someone gives you a microphone. You practice and prepare for leadership when no one is watching. Every day, I meditate and do yoga to keep my mind and body very fit and healthy, so when the opportunity comes to be a leader, I have the abilities to think, navigate and problem solve like a leader. This also helps me remain calm when others are stressing out because I rarely get upset or triggered in business anymore. It’s a matter of preparing yourself to take on that leadership before the opportunity presents itself. I sit on the couch with my coffee before I turn on my phone or check my email. I take 20 minutes to meditate to eliminate the noise and chaos in my mind.

I recently had a launch and it was to position myself as the premiere seven star, publishing and marketing firm for thought leaders. By positioning myself in this market, I need to attract people who understand the value of the investment. The rest of the market is competing on price, I continue to raise my value. The first deal I made at six figures, I’ll never forget. When I first became an entrepreneur, I told myself if I could make 100k a year, then I’ll never have to go back to Corporate America again. This was always my goal, and once I made that happen, the fear finally went away of not being enough as a business leader. We’re making our own reality, and the first time I accomplished this, showed me that as I was growing, I was also gaining more value. It’s a reflection of your belief and I’m living proof that you can continue to grow your value.

As you know, the United States is currently facing a very important self-reckoning about race, diversity, equality and inclusion. This may be obvious to you, but it will be helpful to spell this out. Can you articulate to our readers a few reasons why it is so important for a business or organization to have a diverse executive team?

Diversity gives us a lens to see other people’s perspective. If you can only see your perspective, then you’re limited in your awareness, empathy and compassion for those who are different from you. Diversity in leadership is a role model for other people who may be minorities to see that if we can do it, they can do it too. It shows our future leaders that this diverse path is available. It also brings different voices to the leadership team. No one person can have all the answers. The best organizations are ones who will see the most perspective and serve the market, audience and humanity at the highest level. Having access to these lenses makes you a strong organization, stronger to serve humanity in a bigger way and prevent miscommunication through messaging that goes out.

As a business leader, can you please share a few steps we must take to truly create an inclusive, representative, and equitable society? Kindly share a story or example for each.

I’m a minority in business because I’m a woman. I’ve heard that less than 1% of female entrepreneurs make it to seven figures. That’s crazy! It’s not until you bring on the right partnerships and investing that you can get into these seven figures. The lack of female business owners is a problem because we aren’t being selected and women tend to give up quickly when they reach an obstacle. This starts with telling young girls to be polite, don’t speak unless you’re spoken to. It shows that girls should wait until someone calls on them to tak, so they don’t express their ideas. Women grow up being told that it’s more important to be liked than to speak up for what you believe in. I want our society to share that women have a perspective and if they do, that they won’t be labeled as something negative. There’s a huge social problem with how we treat women in business. I want women to own their power, speak their truth and share their vision with how they see the world can be better, from a place of empowerment.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. Most of our readers — in fact, most people — think they have a pretty good idea of what a CEO or executive does. But in just a few words can you explain what an executive does that is different from the responsibilities of the other leaders?

The most important role of the CEO is to be a visionary of the organization. It’s the most important skill set a CEO can have, and an important asset to every business. The vision is where you’re going and where the market is evolving. If the CEO loses its vision and is so bogged down by the running of the business, they don’t see how the competition is innovating and changing.

What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about being a CEO or executive. Can you explain what you mean?

A lot of people have this perception that being a boss is glamorous, that you automatically get respect, people are always treating you and building you up. The reality is that when you’re the leader, you have the highest level of responsibility above everyone else. When you’re a leader, you can’t complain to anyone because you’re the boss. Everyone else has their outlet for complaining about how the boss does this or the government does that, but the only person who you as a leader can blame, is yourself. It’s both a burden and the greatest path to self growth because the mirror is reflecting back to you. When you want to complain, you complain to yourself. It’s your responsibility and yours alone. If you don’t like how your team is performing, that falls on you because you hired them. When you’re the leader, it’s your team, business and brand. If you’re up for that game, it’s the greatest path to personal growth you can go down. Business is a direct reflection to your internal belief. How much value are you really creating on the planet? This directly reflects from the amount of money that is exchanged through your business. You can’t run from it and if it’s not going the way you want it to go, there’s no one else to blame.

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by women executives that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?

I’d say one big challenge women executives face is not being about to speak out the same way our male counterparts can. The big difference is that women are labeled differently. If a woman speaks out, shares her opinion or tells you something to do, she’s thought of as being bossy or being a bitch. Because women aren’t widely represented, we’re thought of differently.

What is the most striking difference between your actual job and how you thought the job would be?

As an entrepreneur I make up the job that I do. There’s no manual, owner’s book or anything that’s ever been laid down as to how this job will look. It’s my creation of business. It’s like an artistic expression. You create it however you want. One reason I’ve been successful is because I’ve created a business that feeds my soul. What’s funny is that I have way more fun than what people imagine. This is because fun is one of my highest values. If I don’t have fun doing what I’m doing, I’d never attract the clients and investors that I’ve attracted. I’ve found this business because one thing that’s always been fun is reading. You’ll never be successful at what you do if you’re not passionate about it

Certainly, not everyone is cut out to be an executive. In your opinion, which specific traits increase the likelihood that a person will be a successful executive and what type of person should avoid aspiring to be an executive? Can you explain what you mean?

To be successful, you have to love people. There are many people who get to upper level management because they’re great at what they do. However, there’s more to being an executive than just this. To be an executive, you always deal with people, and lead people. It’s about these relationships and it isn’t something you can fake. You should want to help people be the best version of themselves. I made the decision that every day, I’ll set the intention that when they connect with me, they learn about themselves and grow closer to their true self, just through being in my presence. That’s the intention behind my marketing and messaging and how I show up every day. Again, this isn’t something you can fake.

People who shouldn’t be executives are the ones who don’t care how they’re impacting others. If your only concern is yourself and you don’t think about the impact you have on other people, you shouldnt aspire to be an executive.

What advice would you give to other women leaders to help their team to thrive?

I wish more women empowered women. No matter how much pressure you feel, empowering others will help you live a better life. Not only this, but you’ll be a better daughter, friend, sister, and mom. This is because when you honor the vision that you have, you don’t give things up just because you want to please everyone around you. Giving up your passions turn into resentment towards the people you want to ultimately place because you aren’t achieving your dreams. Honoring your vision and dream will help you have better relationships in life.

How have you used your success to make the world a better place?

I’ve used my success to help everyone who I cross paths with. This is part of why I wanted to write my book. I honor my integrity and value and I honor this of every other human being that I communicate with. When you set this value for your business, it raises you as a person. I want to help people through difficult decisions and life circumstances because I’ve been there myself.. I know that the service I bring to the world is the best I can do and I want to have a positive impact on everyone.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)

  1. Don’t race to the finish line: Don’t go into something wanting a million dollar business. You shouldn’t try to finish something quickly, because that doesn’t always mean that it’s successful. Reaching the finish line was a big drive in my career in the beginning, but I wish I had more joy in what I was doing. What’s ironic is that the rush to get to the top of the mountain takes longer than if you were to be present and fully experience everything. These are the stories you’ll remember and think you wish you didn’t rush. It will all come at the right time.
  2. Who you surround yourself with becomes your reality: I would have been more protective of who I let into my social circle and business. This goes for clients and customers. When you first build a business or leadership role, you take what you can get. What you learn is that clients are not all created equally. If you say yes to someone who creates problems, complains and looks for excuses as to why they’re failing, this will weigh you down. I’ve taken on people thinking I could fix them and thought that if I wanted it for them more than they would want it themselves. I tried dragging them across the finish line. I got backlash in the beginning because I was trying to help people who didn’t want the help.
  3. Go for the big leap: Go for the biggest dream you can imagine. Most people have convinced themselves that they aren’t good enough for the big dreams. You find that most people compete in the middle level. This is the curse of mediocrity, which is thinking you can’t move forward in your career. Many people allow themselves to dream, but not act on it because the biggest dream of their life has too much competition. The counter intuitive truth is that there’s less competition to go for the bigger dreams
  4. Always invest in yourself: This took me a while to figure this out. Investing in yourself is the key to having other people invest in you. Most people will say they’ll invest in themselves once something else happens, but that’ll never happen. People won’t invest in you until you invest in yourself.
  5. Trust your vision: I’ve always trusted my vision, but I wish I had tuned everyone else out more. When you’re a visionary, the vision coming through you is your compass dialing you into your true north. Others will say you’re weird and strange. If I had tuned this out and listened to my vision, I wouldn’t have struggled so much. There were times I let this fear sink in and I’d have to build myself back up. I believe visionaries should be committed to their vision and if everyone did this, all of humanity’s problems would be solved. Our society tells visionaries that they’re weird, foolish, and need to play a safe game. I saw this paradigm shift that we’re going through as a culture right now and those playing the safe game are having a wake up call.

We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them

I am fascinated by what Reese Witherspoon is creating in movie and production. She is a wonderful example of a visionary and educator. She produces TV shows and movies. She also has her production company Hello Sunshine that tells stories from a female perspective. She is getting tons of success, but I see her as the cutting edge of production and storytelling. Reese now has a book club where she is leading this evolution of storytelling in a way that reaches audiences at their deepest level. Her innovation is incredible. She started as an actress and then decided to be the boss and producer because she was not getting the part that she wanted. She followed her vision and created her own production company. Her following that instinct is what has created a revolution for filmmakers and women. I am so inspired by her work, her entrepreneurial spirit and her relentless innovation. I would love to meet her and say thank you for what you are doing not just for women but humanity. She is the quintessential definition of a visionary.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.

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