Andrea Learned was destined to be a vegan activist long before she had an inkling of this. She had been fascinated with the idea of being a vegetarian years before identifying as a vegan.
Andrea recalls how she didn’t like the look of meat on the kitchen counter as her mom prepared a meal, but it took years for her to connect the dots on why this was.
The greatest shift came when Andrea moved from Vermont to Washington state and volunteered for a radio station.
When interviewing one of the DJs for a project she was working, Andrea had an epiphany about going vegan. The DJ had been a longtime vegan and his compassion and empathy was what most appealed to her to even consider going vegan.
Her decision to identify as vegan was an overnight choice.
Destiny Was Knocking at Her Door
Andrea’s first job out of college was with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in their international division. Her responsibilities included working with speakers for events. She loved the opportunity to network with a wide cross-section of individuals and organizations.
Her career always had a focus on marketing and communications. Yet, in the late nineties she focused on how women make decisions. She wrote the book, Don’t Think Pink: What Really Makes Women Buy — and How to Increase Your Share of This Crucial Market.
The book is a guide to marketing to women explains women’s buying decisions, helping marketers to see their brands from the perspectives and experiences of women and allowing businesses to develop their products, services, and marketing strategies to capitalize on this market.
Her passion for marketing and understanding why people make the decisions they do was more about leadership than simply buying decisions.
From there, she began writing for the Huffington Posts on topics specific to women as green consumers. More specifically on how women make decisions that impact sustainability.
As her parents saw her passion and involvement grow, they recommended she get a master’s degree in in sustainability. This took her further into understanding leadership, sustainability, empathy, psychology, and communications.
Her Passion Grows
Andrea’s passion for sustainability, green initiatives and business took her deeper into the B2B space. To this day, it continues to grow as she helps elevate leaders and sustainability.
One way she does this is teaching very effective strategies for using Twitter and LinkedIn.
Andrea is active on both platforms.
Rather than spread herself too thin on social platforms, she sticks with only two for two primary reasons.
One, she knows she can accomplish more by going deep into these platforms and two, being an example for leaders of what’s possible by going deep into a minimal number of platforms.
The most important platforms for a CEO or a leader are Twitter and LinkedIn. Twitter is used by media who are covering agriculture, methane, etc.
Being visible and engaging on both these platforms can get a leader noticed by the media.
In her personal life, Andrea has managed to incorporate her passion for bicycling with her branding. Not only does she encourage green and sustainable living and initiatives, she can often be seen riding her bike around her home in the Pacific Northwest.
Name & Shame vs Name & Fame
She also recommends being aware of how you are posting comments. Rather than, “Name and Shame” to do what is called, “Name and Fame.”
Simply put, acknowledge what others are doing in a positive way. From there, you can make recommendations on other actions they can take.
What many people do is point out what others are not doing. This is Naming and Shaming. This is not as effective as a more positive approach.
During our conversation we talked about other effective ways to use both LinkedIn and Twitter. Additionally, how you can make a difference each day with simple actions.
Most of all, stick with it. Know you are making a difference. You don’t have to be famous to make a difference.
Although we need more public figures like Eric Adams and Cory Booker, we need men and women from all walks of life to take a stand.
About Andrea Learned
Andrea Learned is a global climate action influencer with a 25-year career in marketing, communications and thought leadership platform building. Since her COP21/Paris Agreement social engagement strategy work with global NGO We Mean Business Coalition, Andrea has further built her own platforms in Plant-Based food systems transition (her tag: #PlantBased4Climate) and bikes and eBikes as transportation (her tag: #bikes4climate) which are sectors the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) sees as in the top 4 that must be addressed to reduce emissions in this climate emergency.
As an independent climate influence advisor, she’s worked with executives from a range of private and public sector clients including: 50by40.org, Iron Mountain, Ceres, C2ES, The Embedding Project, and the International Boreal Conservation Coalition.
Whether for climate action or other social impact purposes, Andrea’s “5 L’s of Twitter Leadership” (https://www.greenbiz.com/article/5-ls-leadership-twitter) hold true, and apply across social platforms. To develop authentic engagement, people hoping to develop leadership must first listen, learn, love up, and then, leverage the news and connections that serve their communities of interest.
In her early career, Andrea was a recognized marketing to women expert, during which time she co-authored the book, Don’t Think Pink, and spoke internationally on the topic. A piece she wrote in 2011 serves as an informative backgrounder on her journey from marketing to women into sustainability and climate leadership: https://www.reuters.com/article/idUS246854589720110311
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