Q&A: Amanda Brand
Editor’s note: Each Q&A in the Influential Women enewsletter will feature a woman from the region who’s influential, a rising face in her industry or doing interesting work. Submit tips on potential Q&A subjects to tgortsema at grbj dot com.
Amanda Brand is an advocate for local businesses and a community leader.
Brand’s background includes experience in health care and education, and she currently works as the marketing manager at MINDSCAPE, her family’s business on Grand Rapids’ West Side.
Brand said she is “excited to take her experience to Lansing” and is a candidate for State Representative for the 76th District.
Biggest career break?
My biggest career break was when a woman who I greatly admired asked me about my goals and future aspirations and then took the time to guide me and helped me achieve them. She saw in me something that in my early 20s I was struggling to see in myself: my ability to lead others by example.
My proudest business moment was when I received a phone call asking me if I would be interested in running for office. My name was given to leaders in our community as someone who understands our community and invests time to truly understand the needs of Grand Rapids. That phone call validated all the time and effort I spend engaging in community outreach and helping organizations achieve their goals. My community recognized the leader in me.
Best advice you’ve ever received?
To be true to myself, coupled with leave people, places and situations better than when you found them. These two pieces of advice are how I try to live my life and teach my children by example.
How did you make your first dollar?
My parents were small business owners, so I grew up in the pizza industry. When we were kids, we would get a penny for every box we folded. And let me tell you, we could really fold some boxes! When I was older, I made food and also worked as a delivery driver.
I’m not much for possessions. I really do love experiences though. On second thought, my hiking shoes. They have provided me many miles of beautiful adventures and quality time with those who I care about the most.
Governor of Michigan
If you were president for a day, you would … ?
Considering 24 hours would not allow time to implement change, I would take the time I had to remind people that we are in this big world together, and we need to look out for one another. In this new era of social media and instant gratification, I believe we are losing touch with our friends and neighbors, and we need to do a better job of simply showing kindness.
Last book you read?
“The Tipping Point,” by Malcolm Gladwell
Last search term you googled?
Your worst habit?
Saying yes! I love to support people and impactful causes, and it’s a challenge not to lend a hand. It’s my worst and best habit.
To unwind, you like to … ?
Binge watch Netflix, or go for a hike.
Anywhere that has sandy beaches, sunshine and great company. I wouldn’t turn away a fruity cocktail with an umbrella garnish either.
I love a good spaghetti-and-meatball dinner.
Person you most admire?
I admire those who listen to understand, lead by example and aren’t afraid to speak up when needed. We are fortunate in West Michigan to be surrounded by a lot of men and women who fit that description.