Leisa: Hello, I’m Leisa Holland-Nelson, your host for Women Mean Business, where we’re going to take you up close and personal with extraordinary women, breaking glass ceilings, running big companies and starting new businesses every day. My guest today is Andrea Young, one of those women, who’s all of those things, a former corporate CEO, entrepreneur, and CEO of two companies, Nekter and DonateStock. Andrea welcome to Women Mean Business.
Andrea: Thank you for having me happy to be here.
Leisa: I want you to tell us about everything you’re doing and you can go one at a time if you’d like. Tell us about Nekter first.
Andrea: So, you mentioned when you introduced me that I’m a retired corporate CEO. I spent about 20 years really working for others, learning the ropes great experience, great bosses, and decided to transition to more of an entrepreneurial role working for myself. And I’m kind of leading my own destiny a number of years ago. And one of our early stage investments was buying all the territory rights to an emerging brand Nekter juice bar in Texas. So about 200 units today, we operate most of them in Texas, not every single one, but most. All of the ones in the Houston area, in the DFW area including the Woodlands and Katy and Cyprus as well. So that’s been a really exciting that I think they were at Safeway store 40 when we got involved and to see the growth that’s happened there and the continued growth that’s going to happen. It’s been a really exciting thing to be a part of.
Leisa: What’s next for Nekter?
Andrea: So next for Nekter is we’re going to keep growing. So, we have plans to probably develop another 10 to 20 stores being in the health and wellness space is a good space to be. It’s a space that I can feel proud to be as an owner. And you know, we’re going to keep you know, our goal is to be the next generation leader in this kind of functional juice, smoothie foods space.
Leisa: You’re going to expand beyond Texas?
Andrea: We will, I mean, whether, you know, that’s us or another franchise partner with Nekter, somebody will, and that’s all that’s going on every day. But really for me with that particular business, Texas is our home Texas is what we know. So, and there’s so much population in Texas. There’s plenty to keep going.
Leisa: There’s plenty of places here.
Andrea: That’s right. So on top of that we just co-founded and launched a company with a couple other entrepreneurs, very angel for me, in the sense where I’m used to having a lot of corporate infrastructure and systems in place called DonateStock, really it goes by DonateStock.com because we’re an online tech platform focused on making stock gifting, easy, accessible, and safe for everybody, not just the upper 1% or upper half of 1% who actually know about stock gifting, but also for not-for-profits and everyday investors. And we know that the market has changed dramatically in the advent of, you know, more retail trading and more platforms like say Robinhood. So, you know, for us, one of the, I wake up and say in the morning is, how can we democratize stock gifting, make it available to everyone, make it easy, kind of like Robinhood has attempted to do it, absent the Reddit forums and some of the noise.
Leisa: Right. So, tell me how you’re doing it a little bit. Tell me a little bit more about DonateStock. We can come back to Nekter later, but how are you doing it and what, how are you making it easier for someone like me to understand?
Andrea: So, I like to say I have focused on business to consumer businesses, but this business is really kind of B to B to C. So, the B2B being, let’s make sure we’ve got as many not-for-profits as possible latched onto our platform. And it’s really, it’s no cost for somebody to be part of our platform and why they want to be part of our platform is so that when you decide, I want to donate it to fill in the blank charity, that they’re going to be available to you to do it through our platform. You don’t even need to call your broker if you have one and most people don’t, frankly. So that’s the first part is making sure not for profits understand, because we know not for profits were particularly hit hard during the pandemic, particularly the arts and certain sectors, more than others. And they’re always looking for new ways of fundraising and will events come back. Yeah. I think events are coming back, but I think they’re going to be different. And there’s people who like a hybrid and we’ll see some continued changes there.
The B to C component is, okay how do I help you make a donation? So today say you were with Fidelity, pre COVID particular, they would actually make you walk into a branch with a notarized form. They would make it, in my view, intentionally difficult for you to take assets that they have under management and donate them to charity. The reason you want to do that is because say you paid a hundred dollars for your Apple stock and it’s worth a thousand dollars today. You would have to pay capital gains tax if you’ve owned that for more than a year, and you would be giving donations to charity post-tax. If you donate the Apple stock to the charity, they do not have to pay the capital gains tax. So effectively you’re giving more. And the only person in our system that loses is really the IRS. And I don’t think a lot of people get too upset about that. Occasionally, if you do.
Leisa: No, well occasionally. Yeah. I mean, I don’t think, yeah, you’re absolutely right. I know a little about your background, but I think that our viewers would be interested to know that you came out of sports marketing, running sports companies, even running a race track. I’m guessing that when you were a kid in the backyard that wasn’t your dream, but maybe it was, how did you get into the sports business in the first place?
Andrea: So, if you asked me what my dream was, my daughter just asked me this the other day, I told her it was actually to be president. And she said, president of your business, I said, no, the United States. Now clearly I’ve moved on from that one as it’s a much hairier playing field than it was when I was growing up. But I started early on kind of, I grew up as an athlete, playing sports was a big part of my life. And when I was in college, ironically at Vanderbilt in Nashville was when the Oilers relocated as the Titans. And that’s how I stumbled into sports marketing at 21 years old. Ultimately that brought me to Houston to work for the Rockets, where I had the opportunity to work with some great leaders and really kind of have the heartbeat of the organization. And they had a lot of confidence in me. So, I spent a little, almost eight years there. My last role we, you know, helped open Toyota Center, helped run the Comets until we sold them. And then transitioned when we sold the Comets and took on the role as president CEO of Sam Houston Race Park, and a couple affiliated racetracks also in the state of Texas. So yes, I’ve gone from sports and vice to health and trying to do good. And so, you know, it’s a, it’s a little bit of a, but you know, business is business.
Leisa: It’s quite the transition, but it’s all so exciting. And I know there’s been a central theme to all of it. What do you think that is?
Andrea: You know, I think that it’s really, for me, a couple of things, it’s, you know, B to C business to consumer. I do invest in companies outside of B to C. But they’re not necessarily the investments I’m active in every day. Those are where I like to get involved with teams. I like to build teams. I like to help, you know, get things started. And then I like to kind of let them run their course. And so, I think for me, just leading and growing and at this stage in my career, mentoring has really become, you know, much more important to me than it ever was before. And so, I just look for projects that I’m excited about. And fortunately Houston’s a great city to find a lot of projects.
Leisa: I always love to know what advice you give another woman who wants to achieve your success. And I used to say the next generation, but it’s not just the next generation. I think they just published an incredible book on 50 women over 50, who started their businesses over 50 and are millionaires or on the way to being billionaires and stuff like that. So, whatever age this woman is, she’s a woman. And what advice would you give her to achieve the kind of success and even the transition that you’ve made?
Andrea: It’s hard to answer that. And I actually told my daughter that I would answer this question differently today than maybe I would have 15 years ago or even 10 years ago when we would have maybe been having a similar conversation. But one is find something that you enjoy doing. And that doesn’t mean it’s going to be the first thing or the second or the third or the fourth, but cross them off the list so you can move on to the next. I think it’s important to enjoy what you’re doing. I also think it’s important just to keep going. Even when you feel like, you know, hey maybe I’m beating my head against the wall to your point, the number of people who have been successful over 50. So, my benchmark for me was I wanted to leave corporate America at 40 and I achieved that within about a year or so. And I want it to be out on my own and so shifting, and you can shift, you know, just because you weren’t an entrepreneur before doesn’t mean you can’t be an entrepreneur now. So, you know, the ability to shift and mold. And, you know, I think now to, again, to back to my daughter for a second, I’ve referenced a few times, but you know, when she goes to college, I’ll be 50 years old. And so, to me, it’s like, oh, I can’t wait for that next chapter too. So, you know, for me, it’s constantly evolving yourself and learning, you know, from your past mistakes and continuing to grow.
Leisa: Thank you very much.
Andrea: You’re welcome.
Leisa: There you have it, extraordinary advice from an extraordinary woman. I’m Leisa Holland-Nelson, your host for Women Mean Business, and you can find me at WomenMeanBusiness.us or Leisa@atastounds.com.
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