Some people are destined to succeed; others work hard for it. And, some merge the two and exponentially multiply their successes, leading to super-success. Andre Bynum is an example of super-successes.
Now in his 22nd year as the Director of Marketing for BF Companies, Inc., Bynum has been acknowledged locally and nationally for his marketing prowess and strategic marketing plans. Leading marketing teams and promotional campaigns in 10 states, for the Chili’s Casual dining brand, with over 120 stores; and 4 states, with the Wendy’s quick service brand, with 162 stores, takes on gigantean meaning and major peer respect.
With cyclic high and lows, Bynum and the marketing teams keep their eyes on the prize. Guest satisfaction and consumer loyalty are the impetus for continued growth for BF Companies. The motivating, inspiring and tactical evaluation of the marketing tools has become a passion that Andre Bynum obviously enjoys.
Like many high school students, at the urging of his older brother, Bynum first began working in a restaurant at age 15. He liked the business and quickly moved up the ladder. He reminds other young people that restaurant business remains a viable employment opportunity that offers endless personal and professional growth through transferable skills. “Never view the bus-boy or the dish-washer experience as the end of the line for it can be just the beginning. My career path began there but I quickly moved into management and eventually had an opportunity to operate my own store.”
Working with then Channel 55, in Milwaukee, Bynum had the opportunity to work with, and gain an early understanding of community involvement with the late Jeanetta Robinson. His partnership with Demetrius Jordan and Arthur Wilson, of Milwaukee, in WEKAN productions created one of the community’s first local black-tie entertainment events. The Black Butterfly Affair showcased numerous talents and was supported by many of Milwaukee’s own; the likes of Vick Thomas, Lester Kern, Faith Colas, Andre Ellis, Sadie James, Reggie Finlayson and Linda Cooper. These networking and local connections corresponded nicely with the skills needed to help BF Companies in its early stages. The skills were utilized in joining the team of the retired basketball legend, Junior Bridgeman of the Milwaukee Bucks. Bridgeman started off with five Wendy’s restaurants; the rest is history!
“ Within a year, I moved into marketing and decided to continue my educational goals. Never under-estimating the quality at Milwaukee Area Technical College, I discovered the school was magnificent! And, these resources are right on our doorsteps. I earned a marketing management degree from MATC and moved on to Cardinal Stritch to complete my BA.” he shared.
Offering advice to young people is personal with Andre. “ You know our young people need to know that it’s never too late. Even if they’ve made a mistake or two, they need to know that there are great schools to begin again. MATC is much more than a GED; there are hundreds of skills that can be learned there. All one has to do is decide that they want more and show that they are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to attain the certificates or degrees.
“Returning to school provided the learned marketing theories, but also a sense of personal fulfillment and it’s there for anyone else who really wants it. But no amount of education replaces hard work,” he continues. “It takes the hands-on experiences to make the information relevant. You know, years ago one could hire young people for their energy, or attitude and train them for skills. However, today, things move so fast, it is impossible to take on too many like that. Most employees come to us with skills, some even with degrees, right out the box. Youth have to understand the market place today, there are so many for so few jobs that employers can be very selective. But natural talent is also identifiable and a good manager is eager to support young people ready to learn, to advance and to become long-term employees with long-range goals within the company. That’s the kind of young person I will continue to support and encourage. I think the restaurant business is a very good business to learn and grow with.”
Andre Bynum attributes his success to several people. First, he recognizes BF Companies’ leadership of Junior Bridgeman who allowed him to grow and mature in his early stages; and Paul Thompson, the CEO, who has been instrumental in his continued career mentoring, making his path a permanent trajectory that promotes good business practices. “ It’s no doubt, I have been blessed to belong to a good company with strong Christian values. We understand that we are all a part of a higher power and all good gifts come from him.”
He speaks highly of his wonderful wife and their children and grandchildren who continue to ground him and give purpose to his opportunities. And, he remembers, with warmth, his Mom and Dad, married for over 60 years, who were always there. “Home was home; it was stable. We knew Dad was going to provide. There was no need to question nor worry.”
“Today, I recognize that these values were subliminally preparing me for my role as Dad. I knew I had to provide and I wanted home to represent my nuclear setting, meeting the challenges and experiencing together the highs and the lows.”
“I was just with my Dad for dinner, yesterday, and as he was going on and on…I thought, this is where it came from. It was amazing. And I know my children look at me as I banter on and on about what I think and what they should do. But, I also know that one day, they too will banter on and on repeating what my Dad has said and his father before him and now me to my children and their children. That is our heritage. These are our lines of communication and the values that we hold dear. And this is the substance of our First, Second and Third Lines…..these are our strengths.”
Andre Bynum, Marketing Director, your skills bolster and grow the hundreds of stores your strategic planning directs and oversees and your life values become beacons of light to direct the paths of many seeking to grow, learn, lead and prosper. You are our Second Line.