Keeping Small Businesses Competitive through Sharing Best Practices of Global Leaders

Andrea Hansen’s BIO

Andrea Hansen


1. Oprah Winfrey has been inspiring us each month with her unique approach to life and to creating our very best lives so, as a tribute to her, A La Oprah, what did you know for sure when you decided to be a solo business practitioner?

Andrea: While I am not an independent contractor, I knew from early on that I would have a position of leadership in the jewelry world. I started working in fine jewelry when I was 15 and became passionate about the product, the industry and what an important jewelry purchase means to the client and the recipient. What I knew for sure was that I wanted to be in a business that combines incredible artistry, a miracle of nature and the ability to create beautiful memories and mark special moments.

2. Take us through a typical day with your schedule from start to finish.

Andrea: My mornings are quite crazy as all four of us – my husband, myself and two kids- need to get out of the house by 7:30. I am usually at the office by 8:30 and usually by then I already checked in on my business in Asia and the middle east. At the office I first try to spend some time with my production VP and my CFO early on, before everyone else arrives. The rest of my day is spent with the team working on our many fronts and new business development. I rarely take lunch, but often walk up a few blocks to Ivanka’s office and then to our retail boutique on Madison and 61st street. Those few blocks give me just the right amount of time to clear my head or work out some ideas or find a solution to whatever is up that day. I travel more than one week per month, so when I am in town, I am disciplined to work an intense day but leave the office around 6pm so I can be at home to do homework with my kids and have dinner together with my family.

3. What are a few of your “can’t live without” applications on your personal computer/smart phone?

Andrea: My social media deck, which combines all our social media efforts in one destination. My synchronized calendar with my husband and my team, and of course email access 24/7. Some people think it’s a curse, but as an executive working mother, to me it means a greater amount of flexibility and access to my kids whenever they need me.

4. What are your tricks for time management?

Andrea: I divide all actions and needs in three columns:

  • Short time frame AND generates immediate results to the company (in my case, direct impact on sales)
  • Not so urgent and has medium term impact on business
  • Important and necessary but results are long term – those things you need to get to at some point but others take precedence.

Once you train yourself to think of all tasks in those terms, it becomes clear and quite automatic which tasks require how much of your time and attention.

5. Best advice received when you started your business?

Andrea: Listen more than you speak.

6. If given an extra hour each day to seek new ideas and brainstorm, what are some sources you turn to?

Andrea: Networking with like minded individuals.

7. Given the current economic climate, how has your strategy for your companies changed for the short-term and long-term?

Andrea: Short term we are all doing more with less. Re-thinking the way we used to do business and being creative to achieve better results with less investment. In the long term we hope to strengthen sales and continue to grow but not forgetting the hard lessons learned over the past couple of years: be aggressive in presenting your brand but plan for a “rainy day”.

8. What’s been your proudest achievement as an entrepreneur?

Andrea: That my colleagues and my industry competitors think of me as successful, honorable and someone who is passionate and truthful.

9. What are some of the ways that you achieve balance in your life?

Andrea: My husband and I are proud of each other’s achievements and support each other. On weekends we head to our home in the Berkshire Mountains with our kids. There we have no internet or cel phone service, and despite whatever is going on in our professional lives, we make time for each other.

10. Two books you would recommend highly to our readers (and why?)

Andrea: These two books are some of the best I have ever read. I think business leaders must have two qualities above all – creativity and the ability to inspire people to love what they do and become excellent at it.

11. If you received a surprise bonus equal to half of your monthly salary, what (if anything) would you spend it on?

Andrea: There’s not much I crave but I have been thinking for a long time about buying a really nice classic vintage watch. I might do that.

12. What are some of your most rewarding charitable involvements and why?

Andrea: I am proud to be involved with the United Nations Foundation Girl Up! Campaign. This global initiative seeks to improve the lives of 600M adolescent girls in under developed nations through education, health care and violence prevention. Girls are the future of our society and need to be given every chance to succeed. Learn more at or

13. Who has been the most influential person to you as you’ve advanced in your career?

Andrea: Hans Stern, the founder of H.Stern for whom I worked for 24 years, who made me the professional I am and the woman I became.


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