An Interview with Andrea Cahill

In Beauty, Inspiring Women, Leadership by Erin Cartaya0 Comments

We are gearing up for another round of workshops, beginning May 5th, and we’ll have many new women from the community coming to speak. With the help of Microsoft, these workshop will continue empowering young women to embrace their own beauty!

We are lucky enough to work with some amazing leaders and innovators. One such woman, Andrea Cahill, is a Store Team Leader at Target. She knows that being a woman in one of the top retail companies is a lot of hard work!  Andrea tells us that the company has such an amazing reputation for community & culture, she has big shoes to fill when it comes to being a spokesperson and leader.

In the following interview, we dive in deeper to see just how she fills those shoes.

Team Leader

Q: What made you decide to be a part of this project?

A: I wanted to be a part of this project because I think that the empowerment of individuals, young and old, is crucial to success as the world continues growth in inclusiveness.

Q: What message do you want girls to take away from the EYOB workshops?

A: I believe confidence is what girls need to take away.  My goal would be to help them embrace the confidence within themselves to be and feel beautiful without someone or society telling them so.

Q: Here at StitchCharities, we’re all about empowering women. We start by teaching our girls how to embrace their own beauty. What advice do you have as they journey through this process?

A: My advice comes from a quote: “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.” I don’t even know who to credit for it, but I LOVE it!  I have lived by those words for a long time and believe in it 100%!

Q: We understand no one is 100% confident all the time. How do you handle self-doubt and uncertainty?

A: Self-doubt and uncertainty is definitely a part of life.  Having a good “trust” circle is how I deal with issues in confidence. Creating/having this group around you will help all the fear disappear.  I have always found it helpful to have a well-rounded group of friends.  If you don’t have anyone around you who can give you love, hard truths, a pat on the back, encouragement and any other feels when you need it, it’s time to re-evaluate those relationships.

Right This Way!

Q: Why do you think it’s important for young girls to have self-love?

A: Girls need to start with self-love to learn their worth.  I believe that having self-love helps you avoid the constant comparison to others.  Don’t get me wrong, it can be great to “compare” to encourage competition.  Self-love helps eliminate self-hating behavior.

Q: What motivated you to choose the career path you are currently on?

A: My motivation came from 2 sources.  My mom has been an extremely hard working woman her entire life because she raised me on her own.  She held a factory job since before I was born and took on a second job just to pay the bills.  My father was barely existent.  Watching his stints in and out of jail and rehab made me never want to be that type of individual.  I mention both of these things because I knew growing up that I wanted more.  I wanted more pride.  I wanted more connections.  I wanted responsibility.  I simply wanted more.  I wanted a job that I felt great about and allowed me to lead a team & be involved within my community.

Q: If you could only use one word to describe what you want to represent in your chosen career field, what would that word be?

A: Inclusiveness.

Q: What were the biggest hurdles you faced as a female in the workforce?

A: A few hurdles that I have faced are work/life balance, ideals that women are not as strong as men, career vs family (mom guilt) and perception that a female can’t be the BOSS.

Q: Many say the glass ceiling is tough to break through for a woman in the workforce. Do you agree? If so, why do you think this is the case?

A: I believe that times have changed and the relevance of man vs woman is not as much of an issue.  We create our own destiny a majority of the time, but I’d be a fool if I didn’t think it was still an issue in some cases.

Q: We’ve read that Target is focused on advancing the leadership of women in the workplace.  CEO Brian Cornell says he’s committed to ensuring that the next generation of leaders won’t remember a time when it was unusual for women to lead at all levels.  Can you tell us how Target has helped build your confidence and supported you?

A: Target has helped build my confidence by letting me be me.  I have worked for several companies in my MANY years of working and this is the first place I ever really felt at home.  Target is great about letting you know that you own your development and as long as you have the ability and desire that anything can be achieved.

Awesome Article: On Women Taking the Lead: Target CEO Brian Cornell Join Catalyst’s Board of Directors

A: Target has an active Diversity and Inclusion program. What do you feel are the benefits of having a diverse and inclusive workplace?

Q: Benefits of truly working in an inclusive workplace is that regardless of your skin color, religious beliefs, background or any of the other things that make us unique, you are a part of something bigger.  I believe the biggest benefit is that you have a TON of different perspectives when problem solving, making connections, and that many different minds come together helping each person gain more perspective.

Target’s Corporate Responsibility: Diversity and Inclusion – “As champions of diversity and inclusivity, we’re making our business stronger, building our talented team, and working toward a more equal society.”

Q: What were the biggest hurdles that you faced in your career path?

A: The biggest hurdles that I have faced in my career path have been balancing work and life.  I am an individual, mom, wife and boss.  The lines can definitely get blurred sometimes, but with the right planning and perspective, it can work.  I have always told my kids that without hurdles, we would just be boring.

I Love My Job!

Q: Why do you think the glass ceiling is so tough to break through?

A: I believe that the glass ceiling definitely exists, but I think that sometimes we are our biggest enemy.  Women and minorities often lack the confidence that it takes to “crush the competition.”  For many years, both have faced the ideals that they are a weaker class and need to stand up and make some noise!  I loved seeing all the women’s marches last year and would like to see everyone attend one.  Talk about empowerment and feeling like conquering the world!  Obviously, one march isn’t going to change issues in society overnight, but it does create the unity we need to make a change.

Q: Who is your role model?

A: I don’t have just one.  I have a few key players in my life that I model for different reasons.  I believe that pulling from one person would hold me back from being the best I can be.

Q: How have they inspired your journey?

A: I have been inspired in sooooooo many ways by a variety of women.  I have been inspired in health, parenting, individuality, strength, wisdom and how to inspire others.

Q: What is your favorite food?

A: Mexican, hands down!

Q: Who is your favorite music artist? Why?

A: This depends on the day!  I prefer hip hop at the gym because it gives me energy and keeps me motivated.  It’s all about being a boss in there. On a beautiful day, with the jeep top down, you might find me listening to a little Sam Smith.  My playlist is across the board, with a variety of things that inspire me.  It’s all about what the soul needs at the moment.

It’s Not Work – When You Love It!

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

A: I would LOVE to go to Europe.  The culture there is something I would love to see in person.

Q: Paint us a picture, what was high school like for you?

A: In high school I hung out with almost everyone.  I grew up with a lot of kids who later became super sporty.  My core group of friends did a lot of skateboarding, playing in punk bands, and living life to the fullest.  I was voted “most original” my senior year because I made a lot of my own pants, wore princess buns almost every day, and didn’t really care what anyone had to say about it.  I was on the honor roll, played softball, started a recycling program, and earned a few college credits early.  It’s funny to think back on.  I remember feeling like I was a nobody, that no one really cared about me, and thought I was ugly. I didn’t know how my life would turn out.

Q: Any advice for teen girls interested in starting their own business/entering the career field you are currently in?

A: My advice would be to push yourself to be the best you can be.  Apply this to all aspects of life and don’t be afraid to ask for help!  Stick to your guns about who you are and what means the most to you, regardless of business.

Thanks, Andrea, for sharing your story and wisdom with us!

Photographs by Glennmade Studios

To find out how to be a part of StitchCharities EYOB Empowerment Workshops click here.

The workshops are held at the Microsoft Store located in the St. Louis Galleria Mall.

If you’d like to find out more about theStitch click here.

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