Influential Woman - Isa Andrews
Why this woman inspires me; first off, she's my mom. But, in my most unbiased view on her success, her love and her strength - I'll let you know. This is a woman that raised two kids without any financial help, had the drive to make a "better" life for her kids, who moved mountains and never let her gender get in the way of climbing the corporate ladder. She's all business, with an insanely large heart. She started as a bank teller and moved her way up to become the ultimate boss lady, I have ever seen. She taught me about business, life and how to negotiate like a "man". She taught me to love with my entire heart and to fight for what I'm passionate about. She instilled some of the most crucial morals and attitude(s) in me. That have in turn made me her protege. Yes, I finally admit it - I am becoming my mother...I could not be more thrilled about.
...That is why; Isa, is this weeks - Most Influential Woman
Job Title: Senior Vice President, Director of Marketing at Florida Community Bank
About Her: As a veteran banker in Central Florida and a dedicated community leader, Isa Andrews has worked in the Central Florida market as a local community banker for over 38 years; she has worked for various Financial Institutions including SunTrust Banks of Central Florida and Regions Bank. Ms. Andrews began her banking career in 1978 as a part time teller at the original Combank’s in Winter Park, Florida while also attending classes at Florida Technological University now known as the University of Central Florida. Ms Andrews gained extensive experience in the areas of management, marketing, commercial banking, treasury management, retail and business development. Currently, Ms. Andrews serves as Senior Vice President; Director of Marketing for Florida Community Bank, the second largest independent bank in the State of Florida. In her role, she oversees the marketing group and is responsible for helping to set the marketing, public relations and communications vision for the bank along with building partnerships and alliances in the Communities the bank serves through-out the State of Florida.
In addition to her many banking credentials, Ms. Andrews completed her banking studies from the Graduate School of Banking in Wisconsin, Isa has remained close to the Central Florida community she serves. Not only is she a graduate of Leadership Winter Park Class 20, she has served on the Finance Development Committee of the American Red Cross, served on the Orange County Public Schools Academy of Finance Advisory Board, and served as a lay member on the Florida Bar Grievance Board.
Isa Andrews is happily married to her husband, Dave Andrews, a partner with Gettysburg Commercial Corporation. She has two wonderful daughters Christina and Audra both graduates of The Florida State University.
1. Who has inspired you in life, and why?
The people that have inspired me the most in my life have been the ones who’ve had to overcome great loss, or endured tremendous pain and adversity and have chosen to pick themselves up, and proceed with heavy hearts to do great things in their lives because of it. These are every day, ordinary people. But to me, they are heroes. We read about them almost daily, they are the unknown, yet have found themselves in extreme situations. I find deep inspiration in their stories. Those are the ones that inspire me, challenge me, keep me grounded and focused on being a better me.
In addition, I’ve been deeply inspired by my parents who at a very young age, with two very small children in tow, escaped Castro’s Cuba. Their personal sacrifice to ensure a better world for me and my siblings is a precious gift to each of us and a true testament of their great love for our family- very inspiring and very personal for me.
2. What is one characteristic a person needs to succeed?
My mother once told me that she didn’t care what I did in life as long as I was the best at what I chose to do. Simple words yet full of wisdom. In my early years, I often thought about those words and how I would apply being “the” best or what characteristics I would need to accomplish this goal. Mind you, I am already fiercely driven, instinctively determined and unbearably passionate about the things I believe in. These traits have suited me well in my life’s work. Being highly motivated in today’s world along with being optimistic is a great strategy to ensure your part of making a better future. Faithful and Fearless, Courageous and determined, yet humble and great.
3. What is always in your purse at all times?
An Israeli ½ shequel coin that was given to me on a train by an Israeli couple on our way to Berlin Germany. I’ve kept this coin with me in my purse since the day it was given to me. It reminds me of their sweet gesture, where we were headed and where I would one-day visit.
4. What is your favorite phrase?
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind”
“You know you’re in Love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams”- Dr. Seuss
5. What motivates you the most?
Making a difference. I’ve often wondered and asked God to make me aware of any gifts given to me, to this day, I am still searching. I hope at the end of each day, that I have made a difference in someone’s life.
6. What was your biggest hurdle you had to overcome?
At the young age of 27, I divorced and became a single parent of two very strong-willed daughters. With limited income and very little financial support, I knew that I wanted to make a better life for my girls and I knew that if it was going to happen it was solely up to me. I was fiercely determined to make my daughters proud of me. I knew this would require a lot of time, work and effort on my part, but these two precious girls were completely worth it. I was setting the stage for their future and I was very focused. By the grace of God, a wonderful family, and meeting my future husband Dave, I eventually realized this hurdle was merely a stepping stone.
7. Who do you want to be when you grow up?
I always wanted to be a Flight Attendant but became a Banker, you see the similarity? Yea, me either. I want to grow up to be the happiest version of me, traveling the world, experiencing different cultures, drinking great wine, spending time with my granddaughter, my husband, my family, my friends and eating great food!
8. If you could meet one person either alive or deceased, who would it be?
Our Lord, Jesus Christ. I know one day I will have my chance
9. What is your favorite question to ask?
Whenever I interview a candidate for a job, I always ask “Give me 3 adjectives that best describe you”. This tells me a lot about a person, but I especially enjoy their reactions, I can instantly see the wheels turning in their head.
10. Biggest piece of advice to new moms?
Establish a routine for you and your babies from day one. As they grow, give them responsibilities suitable for their age. Allow them to feel what it’s like to do a good job. Children will get bored. When this happens, give them time to figure out how to be alone, bored. This will help them to begin developing their sense of creativity. Let them figure this out on their own and don’t do it for them. Talk them through it but let them own it. Sometimes parents want to put their children in front of TVs, or electronics, but kids also need to have some old fashion playtime. Go outside with them, ride bikes together, walk, talk- spend time with them and don’t allow yourself to innocently ignore them by you being trapped by social media. At bedtime, don’t forget about you. Stop and smell the coffee and always drink the wine!
11. Biggest piece of advice to a working mom?
Organization and planning. Let’s be honest, mom’s play multiple roles, don’t be afraid to ask for help and, ensure you communicate with your employer. If you need a flex-schedule- ask for it, PTO- ask for it, assistance...? Whatever your challenge, engage your family, friends or hire it out. Take control and be a boss-lady!
12. What is something that most people don’t know about you?
I secretly want to own a Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt shop but only so that I can eat all of the ice cream.
13. What makes you laugh?
I love to laugh, and it doesn’t take much for that to happen. I’ve been told that I couldn’t laugh in a closet because I would hurt myself. I tend to have big belly laughter (loud, unrestrained laughter) and I do find the silliness in most things. So, if you make me laugh, you are my friend for life.
14. Is it better to be perfect and late or good and on time?
It’s better to be perfect and on time- PERIOD
15. What one accomplishment are you most proud of?
I’m very proud of my daughters, blessed to say the least. They both graduated from The Florida State University with no-student debt. I also have the most amazing Grandbaby that makes me giddy with happiness!
16. What’s your favorite song?
Anything and everything ELVIS. I saw Elvis in concert the year he passed, 1977. In Orlando. Of all the entertainers I’ve ever seen (I lived in Las Vegas from 1980-83) Elvis was extraordinarily special.
17. What are you passionate about?
I have a great love for travel. Some of my adventures include trips such as: an Alaskan cruise, the Hawaiian Islands, Russia, Safaris in Africa, Japan, Iceland, Bermuda, almost all of Europe. My goal is to see the world, experiencing every culture possible!
18. What is your philosophy towards work?
There is a lot of truth in finding work that makes one happy. You spend countless hours working to build your future, so make sure you do something that gets you excited to wake up and go to work. If you’re dreading Sunday night because Monday is work, then you probably need to re-evaluate. I know it’s easier said than done because you need money to live. But, don’t wake up one day and realize you spent your whole life being work miserable. And, if that isn’t an option. Go to work and be the best employee you can be, raise your hand, do whatever it takes to stand out. Motivation and hard work always brings you luck!
19. How do you define success?
I’ve had to learn that defining my success is different than defining success for those that I love. Personally, I’m a goal-setter. I’ve set financial goals, health goals, travel goals- you get the picture. I often spend time re-assessing, revising, tweaking but I know it’s personal to me and it also encompasses feeling loved, valued, productive and charitable.
20. What does family mean to you?
My family is my life. I would do anything for any of them at any time of the day or night, and I am always just a phone call away. My most favorite memories are times spent with my family, either for the holiday’s and especially during some fabulous vacations we’ve taken. We laugh, we cry, we give, and we take. There is nothing more sacred, more cherished, more important to me, than my family.
21. If you were an animated character, who would you be?
Without a doubt: Mr. Magoo. A wealthy, short-statured retiree who gets into a series of comical situations because of his extreme near sight-ness, compounded by his stubborn refusal to admit the problem. However, through uncanny streaks of luck, the situation always seems to work itself out for him, leaving him no worse than before.
22. What worries you, and why?
I worry about those that I love, of losing them, or of them getting hurt. Thankfully, I have a lot of faith and trust God is our protector but being human is my weakness.
23. Would You rather be respected or liked?
Respected. It’s nice to be liked. But, you will never be liked by everyone- that is a fact.
24. What is your favorite joke?
I don’t have one favorite rather, I just love a great joke so feel free to send one over, and make my day- any time!
25. What was your favorite job?
One of my first jobs was being a cashier at Ferrell’s Ice Cream parlor. It was my favorite for obvious reasons, but it also taught me some valuable skills and lessons. I would work very late hours and later in life, I learned that my father who was concerned for my well-being would sit in his car in the parking lot watching out for me as I would walk to my car. Unbeknownst to me, my dad would always ensure my safe return home those evenings.