Crossing Paths With...


Alexa Brandt

Marketing Director at American Express

Step Up's monthly blog series "Crossing Paths With..." spotlights community members on their paths to success. This month's blog post features Alexa Brandt, who proudly served as Step Up's very first Membership Manager between 2005-2009. Alexa is a California girl currently residing in Venice Beach. She has lived in places like NYC and Boston and while she enjoyed it, California is home. Alexa's job includes supporting small businesses through American Express' flagship Shop Small® and Small Business Saturday® initiatives. Alexa is rooted in service. She believes that contribution is a form of currency so she loves to spend her free time lending her energy to the people and causes close to her.

How did you find Step Up? What made you get involved?

I was fortunate enough to find Step Up through a friend named Rebecca Kaufman back in 2005. She forwarded me the job description for the first Membership Manager position. As soon as I read it, I knew it was my dream job and applied for the role. After being interviewed by seven different incredible leaders from within the Step Up organization, I was lucky enough to get hired. As a passionate feminist and social creature, I was drawn to the mission of the organization and the high quality of women that Step Up attracts. 

How has your idea of what success means to you evolved? Have you experienced any pivots that have paid off in ways that you value?

The idea of success has shifted over time for me. After getting my MBA, I gave my all to my career. I chose to work long hours and let my over-achieving ways get the best of me. With age, I now see the wisdom of leading a balanced life. That means my career is still extremely important to me, but not at the sacrifice of other things. Now I really value and make time for health, rest, the outdoors and quality time with those I care about. I believe doing so makes me better at my job… and only wish I would have embraced this mindset sooner. So I encourage anyone reading this to really think about a way to carve out 30 minutes this week to prioritize their health.

In your field, how do you stay authentic to yourself and your values?

I am lucky enough to work on the Shop Small initiative that I am passionate about and aligns with my values – and I was intentional about pursuing it. In my role I get to celebrate the ingenuity of entrepreneurs, recognize the value of Main Streets in our local communities, and highlight the importance of small businesses in our economy.

I also believe it’s important to bring my full self to work. I recall early in my time at American Express I believed that I needed to fit a specific prototype of a corporate executive. Then I began to let my personality shine and share more about my life outside of work with my colleagues. This level of authenticity helped my work relationships blossom, and even led professional opportunities to surface. So these days, I do my best to show up fully as my genuine self. I have to be confident that my unique perspective and personality help set me apart.

What is the biggest hurdle when it comes to staying focused and consistent when you are working toward your goals? How do you recalibrate when you feel you are losing focus?

I’m all about a growth mindset and am constantly working on myself. The reality is that life is busy and unexpected distractions and demands pop up on a daily basis. It requires ruthless prioritization for me to stay focused on a goal. I’ll admit that I am someone who has the greatest success achieving a goal when I have a structure of accountability. Sometimes that looks like telling my best friend my goal and asking her to help keep me on track. Other times I hire a coach or participate in a group program. Instead of feeling ashamed about needing support, I have come to embrace it. In fact, I probably need to slow my roll with the number of coaches and programs I am involved with!

Which one of Step Up’s values do you identify the most with? Why do you identify with this value the most?

Hmmmm – I can’t choose just one! I have two:

Curated Connection – I get a high off of connecting great humans. I come from a large family (22 first cousins on one side!), and have always loved the energy and magic that happens when groups of people gather together. I’ve found a lot of joy in hosting events over the years, both personally and professionally. My friends joke that I must have been a Cruise Entertainment Director in a former life. That is why my role at Step Up was such a dream job – I got to design creative ways for amazing women to connect, and mentor teen girls.

Contagious Sparkle – I am an optimist that sees possibilities everywhere. That translates into bringing a healthy dose of energy and enthusiasm to everything I do. My friends find it endearing that I always have a new obsession to evangelize, and they are often persuaded to check them out based on my “sparkly” recommendations. I assure you that Step Up is on that list! I love spreading the Step Up gospel.

Has Step Up influenced your journey/development?

It certainly has. Working at Step Up and interacting with thousands of incredible women felt like a daily career fair. I got to learn about so many types of industries and jobs, and have the powerful experience of being mentored by brilliant women. All of this led me to apply to business school and get my MBA, which was a major pivot from working in the non profit space. I’m eternally grateful to Step Up and all of my mentors for giving me the motivation and courage to pursue a graduate degree.

How have you incorporated your passion into what you do?

I am a very curious person with a lot of interests. I am constantly in observation mode searching out the latest trends and cultural insights, especially when it comes to small businesses. Lucky for me, this comes in handy at work. My job is to develop creative marketing programs and campaigns that encourage consumers to make the conscious choice to Shop Small and support small businesses.

What is the best advice you have received from your mentor?

It’s simple, but can really set you apart: Do what you say you will. Follow through. It’s critical to building trust, which is at the heart of every relationship.


In honor of the contributions Alexa has made, Step Up has launched The Alexa Brandt Step Up Luminary Society. This is a community of leaders who have demonstrated a commitment to Step Up’s mission of helping all girls define and pursue their dreams of success through service on a Step Up board or sustained membership as a Step Up Luminary Circle member. This community, formed while mentoring girls, guiding the organization, and investing in the future of mentorship, continues to thrive and ensures that Step Up will be here for generations to come. To learn more about The Alexa Brandt Luminary Society, please contact Jamie at

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