Women in Business: Brenda Anderson

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Class of 2021 Women in Business Brenda Anderson Director of Real Estate Development Blue Crane, Bentonville

Residence: Bentonville

Education: B.S., geography/geology, Missouri State University; graduate studies in resource planning, Missouri State University

Professional background: In her existing role with the development and real estate company, Anderson leads a team providing a full suite of real estate services to private investors. She previously served in roles related to community development including time with the Community Development Corporation Bentonville/Bella Vista and positions in municipal and county planning.

What do you consider to be your biggest accomplishments or wins in your current job? First of all, hiring and keeping great people. There is no substitute for the right people in the right seats on the bus. Beyond that, I feel good about the variety of work we do and our ability to tackle whatever comes our way.

What advice would you give young women who are currently at the beginning of their careers? Be confident in your abilities and never stop learning.

What is a leader’s best asset? High expectations for yourself, your team and the products of your work.

How do you spend your time away from work? I spend time with my family — my four children and four grandchildren. We enjoy outdoor adventures and family dinners. I also try to spend time weekly with my friends. We laugh a lot, and we’re there for each other.

What’s the next big personal or career challenge you plan to take on? I don’t have a next big thing in my mind. I am challenged daily to do more in terms of both quantity and quality. It keeps me energized and happy. Our team is studying alternative building technologies and strategies for sustainable development. We’d love to identify a feasible model or two to apply to projects in the near term.

What was your dream job as a kid and why? When I was a child, I thought I would like to be a nurse. I’m not sure why I imagined myself as a nurse as I go weak-kneed at the sight of blood.

What’s your biggest passion and why? I have two: resiliency and gratitude. Life is full of ups and downs. Resiliency gives you the ability to be positive when you fail or don’t quite make the mark. It gives you the ability to keep moving forward even during tough times. Gratitude gives me the ability to start each day with a positive mindset and to end each day in a peaceful state.

What is something distinctive that people would be surprised to know about you? I have an affinity for adolescent humor. I belly laugh at “South Park,” and I’ve never seen a “Far Side” comic that didn’t make me giggle.

What’s the best way to encourage productive collaboration? The best collaboration occurs when participants come to the table open to one another and when participants share their knowledge and skills generously.

Can you share what you have learned about your business from the COVID-19 pandemic? We’ve seen pre-existing trends in the real estate market accelerated by the pandemic — retail footprints shrinking, office utilization morphing to accommodate flex work patterns and a strong demand for a variety of housing products.

What are your hobbies? Gardening, cycling for fun and reading.

If you have a bucket list, what are the top three things on it? I don’t have a traditional bucket list, but I’d love to encounter — safely — a bear or bobcat out in the woods. And I’d love to be, just once, ahead of the weeds in my gardens.

Can you recommend a book that has had an influence on your career? How did it influence you? “The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living” by the Dalai Lama. My work can be stressful. It’s filled with deadlines, moving targets and a revolving cast of partners, consultants, contractors and end-users to coordinate against high expectations for speed, budgetary discipline and design excellence. It would be really easy to let all those things drown me in worry and doubt. The teachings in “The Art of Happiness” have helped me to see and address the work in front of me in an objective way, independent of who I am as person and how I feel at my core.