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story.lead_photo.caption Business instructor Andria Hendricks answers a student's question during her class at Lincoln University. She is in the process of earning her doctorate degree. Photo by Mikala Compton / News Tribune.

The names can be confusing to some — Andria Hendricks has been married to Adrian C. Hendricks II for 20 years.

They met in Jefferson City in 1993, when the two Illinois natives (she from East St. Louis, he from Chicago) were Lincoln University freshmen.

They have three children, ages 20, 15 and 10.

And they've worked together for six years as leaders of the Joshua House Church — one of her husband's dreams for years before it actually began.

Andria Hendricks, 42, is a business instructor at Lincoln and just left the director's position at LU's Small Business Development Center, which she helped launch.

"Since 2015, I have assisted over 42 clients with their businesses," she said. "Some of the clients were existing business owners, while others were upcoming entrepreneurs."

The center also has helped those businesses borrow "a total of $425,000 in loans from various lenders in order to assist with and/or open their businesses," she said. "As a result of this collaboration, 33 additional jobs have been created within the community."

Hendricks earned her bachelor's degree from Lincoln in 2000 — in sociology, with an emphasis in philosophy — after deciding her first plan of becoming a nurse wasn't a good fit for her.

"When I actually started doing the classes," she explained, "(I found) I don't like blood, (and) it wasn't a passion for me."

But she likes working with people and later discovered a passion for business.

"It was natural for me," Hendricks said. "We can talk about business all day long, and I get excited — and it's never a dull moment."

She earned her MBA from William Woods University in 2003 and currently is working on her Ph.D. through Grand Canyon University.

"I'll be ABD — 'all but dissertation' — in December," Hendricks said. "I'll be done in another year; that's my plan. I do my online classes, but I have to go to campus for residency twice a year in Phoenix, Arizona."

In addition to teaching, she sees her future as being in consulting, with a "focus on federal and government contract work."

Her schedule doesn't allow much time for hobbies these days. "I love to take naps," she quipped.

Hendricks hopes people will describe her as persistent and has that same advice for people in business.

"Never give up on you!" she said. "You are worth the sacrifice, so do what needs to be done — in order to do what has to be done. Continue to lead the way!"

Q. Who has invested in you and your career?

A. "I'd have to say my husband. (He) has been the main supporter. A lot of people don't realize, but I was extremely shy — and now I'm a teacher and a minister. He would take me to the park and he would show me how to speak to the trees — he was helping me to remove my fears. As I began to remove my fears, I began to become bolder and more confident. He's just always really encouraged me. And of course, along with my parents and my children, I can't ask for a better support team. They really do invest in me because they have to sacrifice a lot of themselves in order for me to accomplish a lot of the things that I've been doing."

Q. What choices have you made to invest in yourself and your own success?

A. "I decided to go and pursue my Ph.D. program. A lot of people wonder: How are you going to do this with three kids, a church plant and teaching and so on and so forth? But I thought it was necessary. I want to be considered the expert in my field, so, whatever I have to do to make that happen, I was willing to make that sacrifice."

Q. Of what professional achievement are you most proud?

A. "I've done a lot in this short time-frame on Earth. At the age of 32, owning your own business and doing really well at it was scary for me but, 'Like, wow! You did it!' And if the recession (of 2008) hadn't taken place, I know it would still be flourishing. When I transitioned out of the mortgage company, I became the bursar here at Lincoln. When the opportunity was presented for me to be able to teach here on campus, I jumped on it because I've always wanted to be in the classroom."

Q. What do you see as the biggest issues facing women in the workplace?

A. "I think that, a lot of times, the skills are under-valued. I don't think that guys don't think women can do it — I (just) think it's how the structure has been set (and) no one has really sought to go out there and change it. Yes, I would say it is getting better — because if you look at the industry now, you will see that women are leading more so than men. There may be a difference in pay; however, there are more women in leadership roles than there are men."

Q. What drives you most in life and in your career?

A. "My faith, husband, children, parents and mentor. My family drives me — I can't stress that enough. My husband, especially, doesn't allow me to settle. He always pushes me and says, 'You can do this,' and, 'I believe in you.' And to see my children say, 'Mom, I'm so proud of you,' or, 'Mom, I appreciate all your sacrifices you're doing to make life better for us.' — it's just amazing."

Q. What advice would you give to a woman entering the workforce?

A. "I would just always encourage her to be good at her craft. Whatever you're considering yourself to be the expert in, make sure that you study.

"Make sure you are volunteering. Make sure you participate in other organizations and are doing things that broaden your exposure so that you're able to make an impact in that field, whatever your field of interest is."

More 17 in '17 from #jcmo Inside Business :

Alice Longfellow: Garden center owner grows own business away from family ties

Ashley Varner: Wellness director aims to improve community health

Claudia Schoonover: Love of books turned career with variety for MRRL director

Debbie Hamler: SLC director views work with children as a ministry, not a job

Diane Gillespie: Basking in eclipse glow, CVB director strives to promote community

Emily Mantle: Building connections in health care through programs

Heather McCreery: Driven by family, lawyer now a proud business owner

Holly Stitt: Avenue HQ owner wears many hats in business community

Jennifer Su: Medicine, exercise and faith define dancing doctor

Jill Snodgrass: Event planner promotes organizations she supports

Kara Miller: Sticking with artistic passions in changing times

Linda Patton: Vet goes from summers at a farm to 26 years at clinic

Marylyn DeFeo: 30-year volunteer exudes generosity

Missy Bonnot: Chamber exec grows business community, economy

Nancy Gratz: Cancer survivor, real estate agent strives to make people smile

Nathalie Tungesvik: Education, improving health top dentist's priorities

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