Andréa Hawkins, Top 25 Women in Business 2022 Honoree
By Susan Shalhoub
Andréa HawkinsEmployer:Leading Culture SolutionsTitle:CEO & Founding PartnerCheck out all of the WIB honorees here!
Andréa Hawkins heads up Leading Culture Solutions (LCS), a boutique business consulting firm that helps organizations align human dynamics to achieve organizational outcomes.
She has over 20 years of strategic planning and culture transformation experience with a focus on inclusion. With a master’s degree in organizational behavior, Hawkins co-owns three Berkins cafes in Greater Hartford with her husband, Doug.
Q: What’s been your biggest professional accomplishment so far?
Starting four businesses in six years and realizing this was what I was meant to do. I love creating businesses where people can be their best selves.
Q: What’s one of the biggest professional challenges you’ve overcome?
Allowing others to try to limit possibilities for my future and my career aspirations. I had a very modest start, having grown up in the projects in Hartford, attending community college and finally graduating with my master’s degree from the University of Hartford — all of this education part time at night for 25 years. Nothing about my life was traditional.
Q: What do you like to do outside of work?
I enjoy giving back to the community. We’ve started a donor-advised fund (Berkins Family Fund) to be able to help startup nonprofits and nonprofits that want to combine their efforts to serve our communities.
Q: How has the COVID-19 pandemic forced you to adapt as a leader?
For our café businesses — we had to be patient and really think about the safety of our employees and ourselves. We cut back our hours to limit exposure. At LCS, we’ve made good use of Zoom and have been able create and build relationships with our clients.
Q: What are your keys to maintaining business success?
At LCS and Berkins, we treat our employees like family (and some are). We’ve found that if you give to your teams, they give back to you.