Instructor Exemplifies Leadership and Service as Finalist for Grand Rapids Award
by Ellie Walburg (B.S. ’17)
With a positive influence in the classroom and the workplace, Andrea Owens (B.S. ’08, M.S. ’10) was selected as a finalist in the Grand Rapids Business Journal's Women Who Mean Business publication.
Owens is the owner and founder of HourGlass Testing Solutions, which provides same day, onsite drug and alcohol testing services for companies and organizations. She also teaches at West Michigan Center for Arts + Technology as well as at Cornerstone University's Professional & Graduate Studies division (PGS) in courses such as organizational leadership and management.
This award from the GRBJ that recognizes influential women-owned businesses and leaders is something she considers an honor. "I always try to do my work unto the Lord. Without Him, nothing is possible," she said. "I strive to work with integrity, helping employers create a safe workplace, environment and community. Someone saw that in me and what I do and nominated me for the award."
Whether in the classroom as an instructor or leading her business for the past five years, Owens is passionate about her work in empowering others to thrive, a call she's felt God has placed on her life. She began HourGlass to make a difference in the community. Her mom was involved in a car accident caused by another driver who was under the influence. With that experience and equipped with leadership experience and a passion to serve others, Owens was inspired to begin her own company.
"That helped drive my passion," she said. "God provides opportunities, and I truly believe that If I continue to follow His lead in what I do—whether I'm teaching or running my business—He directs my path and all those things come together."
Her approach to her work is also rooted in a unique element often found in women-led businesses—relationships. "When I work with my clients, I want it to be a relationship," she said, "I want to be a partner in bringing a solution to a problem. We as women can bring a lot to the table. I'm grateful to be a finalist among some great organizations and women who do what they do every day."
That passion for helping others has also influenced her experience both as a student and current instructor at PGS. Owens' journey at PGS began with earning her B.S. in Management degree in 2008. Her desire to be equipped in entrepreneurship and leadership continued with her master's in management degree in 2010. Now, she continues her positive influence as an instructor.
"As a student, I had instructors who pushed us in being leaders, entrepreneurs—to be our best self. Now, I'm able to pass that on to my students. We serve our students, not just teach them," she said. "If God gives you the ability to help people take their next step, you should do just that, because you don't know what kind of difference you can make in their life. I always want to help someone else because someone helped me."
Equipped with years of practical experience and achievement of a thriving business, Owens has been able to use her experience in moving forward in her passion for serving others, in whatever way that may look like.
"This accomplishment has given me more confidence in pressing forward," she said. "I worked in the medical field for 25 years and then stepped out in faith and became an educator. That was never my dream before going to Cornerstone. But when I started the program, things in my life changed."
Owens says that what brings her joy in her work is her love for teaching and leading others. Through continuing her education within her bachelor's and master's programs, she's gained leadership skills and experience that she incorporates in her teaching and business. "I learned how to be a servant leader," she said. "A big question I had when I started was how can I take my belief system and bring it into the business world? Through my classes, I learned how to navigate through and be myself in loving God and loving people. And I'm able to do that every day."
With the recognition as a finalist in the GRBJ's Women Who Mean Business award, Owens exemplifies what it means to thrive as a leader who both cultivates a successful business and is part of the transformative work of equipping and serving students and those around her.