Andrea Negrin is one of Fourth Economy + Steer’s newest team members, having just joined the team in February 2022. Andrea is a recent graduate of Florida International University, where she majored in Economics and Economic Development. In her role as an Assistant Community & Economic Development Consultant, she gets to put her studies into practice. From Miami, where she lives, she collaborates daily with team members and clients to make sure that communities have what they need to make people-centered, data-driven decisions.
We asked Andrea a few questions about her new role, how it builds on her past personal and professional experiences, and what she’s excited to accomplish at Fourth Economy. Andrea is also an avid reader, so we had to get her to give us a book recommendation!
You are Fourth Economy’s new Assistant Community & Economic Development Consultant! What does that entail? What does your work look like on any given day?
My workday always looks different! Some days, my calendar is jam-packed with internal calls as well as clients calls, other days, I might have a call or two, but I’ll spend the majority of my time contributing to engagement plans, strategizing, conducting desktop research for our clients, or assisting on the logistical end of planning and scheduling. One constant throughout my varied workdays, however, is collaboration; there is not a day where I am not asking my project managers or teammates for their input, opinion, or just a second set of eyes.
At FIU, you were really involved in economics-related extracurriculars, like the Omicron Delta Epsilon International Economics Honor Society. Tell us about your passion for this field of study! What motivated you to pursue it?
Growing up, I always felt trapped between wanting to pursue something analytically driven (STEM) versus something creatively driven (the humanities). Around the same time that I was intensely considering what I should formally study, I took my first economics course, and I quickly realized that economics is at an intersection of the sciences and the humanities. My perspective on economics is that it requires both consideration and compassion for people as well as an analytical bent and love of data. So, when I decided to formally pursue economics and concentrate on economic development, I did so with the values of sustainability and accessibility at the forefront. How could I help make sure that quality education, healthcare, housing, and opportunities were developed in a way that elevated communities and supported the foundations of those communities? How could I use data for this purpose? I think that data and economics can be really intimidating, but I am grateful that I get to work with a team that aims to get these topics–data and economics–to work for communities.
My perspective on economics is that it requires both consideration and compassion for people as well as an analytical bent and love of data.
Fourth Economy’s theme for April 2022 is fair housing. What do you wish more people knew about this pressing community issue?
Fair housing is a topic that is relevant to every community and group of people; however, it is particularly important to communities of color. Housing discrimination finds its roots in systemic racism, with the intent of undervaluing the capital–financial, physical, and cultural–of communities of color as well as alienating the economies that people of color have a stake in from larger economies. While housing discrimination can and does have individual effects, it also results in billions of dollars in lost equity from black and brown communities–equity that could otherwise elevate the quality of life, social programs, and community services. Fair housing assures that the homes belonging to people of color are appraised and refinanced fairly and justly, that home values in entire communities and neighborhoods are properly calculated and reflected, and that everyone–independent of their race, color, national origin, religion, gender, sexuality, familial status, and disability–has a fair shot of purchasing or renting a home.
What do you hope to accomplish with Fourth Economy this year?
This year is all about gaining experience and setting the tone for my career. I have the passion and the formal education needed and I’m now seeking opportunities to build experience and context in communities across the country. My goals for the year are to better understand how to lead client and community interactions as well as to start building my personal brand as it relates to the energy and eventual expertise I bring to the table.
You describe yourself as a book nerd and collector of bookmarks! What is your favorite book to recommend to people? And tell us–what is the most outstanding bookmark in your collection?
Like every other book nerd, I have an incredibly difficult time answering the “what is your favorite book” or “recommend me your favorite book” question. Instead, I’ll tell you what my favorite recent read is and why I think you should read it. The City We Became, by N.K Jemisin, tells the story of a city so great, so complex, that it has a soul. New York City, in particular, has five souls, and The City We Became tells the story of how the five souls of New York–which are physically embodied in five characters–must come together to defend their city from an existential threat. It’s funny and devastating and packed with cleverly written and relevant social commentary, and I cannot recommend this book enough. On another note, the most outstanding bookmark I have in my collection is from Barnes & Noble and says “we are stardust, meant to shine”. It’s the most outstanding because I unintentionally bought a matching stardust-themed notebook, and both the bookmark and notebook are aesthetically compatible with my copy of Neil Gaiman’s Stardust–which is another of my favorite books!