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Employee Spotlight: Andrea Montague
She has worked at two of Vista Outdoor’s brands and is often commended for her outstanding leadership. Andrea Montague, Eagle General Manager, has a unique approach to leading groups, building teams, and using out-of-the-box methods to guide a troupe toward the same goal.
Andrea Montague started with BLACKHAWK in 2007. She worked on accounting, financial analysis and special projects before fielding a request to move to the Eagle brand, a new role that Andrea says has helped her dive deeper into the business of contracting.
Andrea has a master’s in contracting, is certified in government contracts and has a doctorate in business administration. As part of her doctorate, Andrea shared she focused her dissertation on women in male-dominated industries.
“We must gain a sense of belonging to be a team,” she said. Andrea explained that tribal connection is a must-have in the business world – a concept she drew from her favorite leadership book, “Tribal Leadership.”
“Fish school, birds flock, people tribe. In creating tribal connection, you speak the same languages. You become familiar with each other. You’re responsible to each other. From that comes passion and drive. Once you create that culture, you are committed to it.”
Since September, Andrea has led all front-end business for the Eagle brand. She explained the team’s philosophy and how she works to motivate the crew.
“Our brand produces high quality items over and over in the thousands. Our philosophy to dominating our products and selling them is ‘capture, kill, clean, eat, repeat!’ Those five steps are most important. If you don’t capture anything, we go hungry,” she said, further explaining that this primitive approach ties closely with nature’s survival of the fittest.
“Eagle is not a steady run rate business. If we do not dominate in our products, if we are not respected among our peers, if we don’t create a lane for ourselves within this industry, we won’t survive. This need to win is what fills every aspect of entrepreneurial drive I have,” she said.
Andrea says there is a lot of room to grow at Eagle, a factor she does best with. She’s also great at inspiring others to fill big boots, too. Or, should we say, jars.
Andrea has given glasses, jars and vases to each member of the team. These containers are meant to be stored on employee desks. Then, as the year progresses, employees get to add rocks for capturing sales, or remove rocks if their goal is saving.
“I did this because you need mental attachment, a synergy to drive the team. This connection has been formed across the entire team, and it serves as a daily reminder of our goals.” But the goal doesn’t start and stop with your own jar.
“If you find yourself not quite making it, it’s a problem we are going to fix together. As a team, we need to fill those jars. We need to share a lead or help out, because we have a goal we are driving to, and the best way we are going to get there is together.”
Aside from the rocks and glasses, Andrea believes in making sure people feel they’re a part of the team. She does this by holding as many open, center floor meetings as possible, so nobody feels left out. She avoids conference rooms like most people avoid conflict, so that if an employee walks by, they can’t help but learn what’s going on.
Andrea says where she’s at in her career is one of her greatest accomplishments.
“In this moment, with all the changes, to work with people until they’re motivated, they come to work with a smile, and creating a culture that we all have a voice in – that’s a big deal for me,” she said.
What else is on her greatest accomplishments list? Finishing her doctorate in 2017.
“Once I was in the middle of it, I didn’t want to finish. Fifty percent of doctoral students don’t finish their dissertation. When I was started, I was a single mother of a 5-year-old, so it was not easy. But I’m proud of finishing that degree.”
Outside of work, Andrea is the mother of a 13-year-old girl, Khaleah. Together the two enjoy traveling to different states, shopping, visiting museums, going to movies, attending dance parties and spending quality time together in different places.
Last book you read?
“48 Laws of Power” by Robert Greene.
Most likely to buy in bulk?
Pecans. Paper towels. Gain dryer sheets.
A day off with no obligations would include:
A book, a latte or tea (or my favorite, a Medicine Ball from Starbucks!), and good music.
Best concert you’ve been to?
Beyoncé and Jay-Z. I was on the run to get there and back, so there was a lot of adrenaline involved. It made me feel young again… free and fearless!
If you could “kill a word,” what word would you do away with?
What does a person need to be happy in your opinion?
Freedom to be their whole self. Not a fraction of themselves, not a shadow of themselves. Having the freedom to be their whole self.
Something you’re looking forward to?
Winning. I just want to win. I want to win whatever is available to win. I want to show tomorrow I won. If the team is happy, I win. If I win a contract, I win.
Scale of 1-10, how is your driving?
Best advice you’ve gotten?
“Don’t give up. Stay the fight. Keep peace.” This was advice from my mother. As you grow, you understand you don’t have to fight every battle. Peace is better. With peace comes prosperity. Everyone wants prosperity. Don’t give up on peace.
Something people at work don’t know?
I have never shot a gun. Every time I go to the range, and we are about to, I think “I’ll wait, go ahead.” I have no problem with guns. I think bearing arms is one of the greatest rights we have. A lot of coworkers think I am joking when I tell them this, because I go to the range, but I don’t actually shoot. I just go to chat it up with them.
Almond Joy. Except, I am allergic to coconut!
Most interesting job you’ve had?
In the summer after my freshman year in college, I worked at an aluminum factory, Every day I had a different job, and every day I’d go home with dusty glitter all over. It looked like my skin was metallic and I smelled like aluminum every day.
Your greatest adventure?
Residing in North Carolina, one of my greatest wishes was to see one of the oldest trees in the state in Merchants Millpond State Park. To see it, you have to canoe. I don’t like canoes and I am not strong swimmer. But this tree is out there, so I got on a canoe and rode for an hour. I was crying, afraid the canoe might tip. Once I got there, I questioned how I’d get back, because I didn’t want to ride again for an hour. I faced many fears in those two hours all to see a tree. Sometimes you have to be pushed to the limit, face your fears. Now i can say I saw what is probably the oldest tree... or possibly the fake oldest tree in North Carolina.