Andrew Wexler

Herschend Family Entertainment CEO

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What Do You Splurge on in Your Business That’s Worth It?

Usually it's either the employees or it's marketing, right? You want to make sure that your employees have a great place to work. We call it great place to work for great people. Make sure…

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What’s the Hardest Part About Being a CEO?

Well, if you've got a lot of people whose lives depend on you, their livelihood, they make a mortgage payment every, you know, month, they put food on the table, so you want to make…

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What’s Your Morning Routine?

As a leader, you need to be fit. You need to take care of yourself. So while it's not in the morning, throughout the day, make sure that you're physically fit, mentally, emotionally, spiritually fit,…

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What Is Your Corporate Culture?

So we have what we call a lead with love culture, and so it's about serve in leadership. It's using the word love as the definition of how we're supposed to treat each other with…

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How Do You Make a Positive First Impression on Your Team?

I think it's about a positive energy. I think it's transparency. It's making sure they understand why you're there and that they can buy into why you believe working on what you're working on is…

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How Do You Keep Morale up Through Tough Times?

It's about everybody understanding the why. Once everybody understands the why and if it resonates with them, then they know what they're working for, they know what we're working for as a company and it…

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Tell Us About a Mistake You Made and What You Learned

I think the biggest mistake that I make is just not communicating to people. Deciding I wanted to go in a direction and not properly communicating to with my team, or somebody in a leadership…

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How Open Should You Be at Work About Your Personal Life?

I think I'm fairly transparent. At our level, you don't really have a huge personal life. You spend a lot of your time at work, so it's easy to be transparent from that perspective. But,…

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How Do You Conduct a Post-Mortem?

We do a lot of postmortems, whether it be a new ride at a park, or a new festival that we've done at a property, or any kind of major project. We like to look…

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What’s a Sign Someone Is Ready for a Promotion?

I think the core to any kind of promotion to a leadership role, the foundation is that you technically understand what you're doing. So, I technically understand what I'm doing. Now the question is, do…

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How Much of Your Career Has Been Planned and How Much Has It Been Left up to Chance?

The beginning of it was very much chance. I joined an accounting firm right out of college, and from there, happened to be playing basketball with a few gentlemen and one of the gentlemen said…

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How Do You Onboard New College Graduates?

We have different development programs, we have what we call a DC program development candidate and we have an IDC which is an intensive development candidate. So when you come into the company and you've…

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How Do You Overcome Indecision?

It's really about understanding what your objectives are and your time horizon. So, you understand that you've got to make a decision. Most of the time you're not going to have complete data or as…

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How Do You Stop Procrastination?

I kind of think of myself, micro-procrastinator. So, it's not procrastinating on big things, it's just taking those moments where I'm like, ah, I really don't want to do this, or I really don't want…

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Do You Have a Succession Plan and What Is It?

Succession planning is a huge part of any leader's role. It's making sure not just for you personally, but the entire organization has a good succession plan. We follow what we call a QTE model.…

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What Is the Best Advice You’ve Ever Received?

You recently might transition from CFO to CEO. Peter Hershend, who's one of our patriarchs here, he told me that, "People want to be led" by someone they trust, and they trust people" "that they…

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What Was the Worst Advice Someone Gave You?

When I announced I was leaving for the internet company, the head of audit for that company had called me in his office and said, Andrew you're having a great career, you have a great…

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What Teambuilding Exercise Actually Works?

We call it kind of just breaking bread. It's not even as much an activity as it is just spending time together, and talking, and communicating. If we're trying to brainstorm a new business, so…

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What Role Does Data Play in Your Decision-Making Process?

Data's critical. You really got to have good data and that's the key is good data. You hear a lot about big data and data, warehouse and collecting all these different points of data, the…

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What Advice Would You Give a First-Time Manager?

I always think about my situation when I was at the accounting firm I went from being a staff person to a senior, which meant you managed a team out in the field and so…

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What Is Your Must-Ask Job Interview Question?

I think the best interview questions are really having them give you detailed examples of situations that you're trying to understand if they have that capability, and you want it to be really detailed and…

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What’s the Most Surprising Thing About Being a CEO?

The most surprising thing about being the CEO, you always think of the CEO as the ultimate leader, as the top and they probably always get their way. Well, I find that I feel like…

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What Is Your Biggest Time-Saving Trick?

The step, the what I call, "micro-procrastinating moments," and it's making sure that when I realize that I'm not focused, just to focus on what I'm supposed to do and get it done quickly, and…

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How Do You Give Critical Feedback?

The number one thing about critical feedback is, in my opinion, is face to face. Because it's very important that they understand the context of what you're saying. A lot of times when you communicate…

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How Do You Fit Exercise Into Your Day?

I'm a late-night person, so I'll usually go to the gym at eight or nine o'clock at night, which is quite late, but it allows me to get it in. It's tough. It's tough, but…

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How Do You Put Yourself in Your Customer’s Shoes?

I'd love to go out to our parks, I always say I have the greatest job in the world, I get to go to theme parks and ride roller coasters and eat funnel cake and…

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How Hands-On Are You With New Projects?

It really varies, so we've got a concept that we're trying to develop right now that I would call a box concept. We have big theme parks, and we have water parks, and aquariums. We're…

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Do You Conduct Your Performance Reviews in the Office or Off-Site?

We tend to do them in the office. You know, it's more convenient. If I were to do some sort of a critical feedback that was fairly sensitive in nature, we might go off site…

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What Kinds of Questions Do You Ask in Your One-on-Ones?

Well, I want to understand from their perspective how they did, what you find is most people are generally harder on themselves, so if you let somebody give you their review, most of the time,…

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How Do You Strike a Balance Between Speed and Accuracy in Your Company?

We look at things at a very long time horizon. Speed, while it is important, we much more would rather err on the side of accuracy. A lot of it is about, again, your time…

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When Does It Make Sense to Take a Pay Cut?

I've always said that I've never taken a job because of money, you got to make sure you're going to enjoy what you're doing, you're passionate about the why and that you feel like it…

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How Do You Keep Long-Term Employees Motivated?

It' about stretching people. It's about giving them incremental opportunities to stretch themselves, new experiences. A lot of people equate new responsibilities necessary with a promotion or a title change. Really it's about saying, "How…

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How Do You Stay in Touch With Employees as You Rise Through the Ranks?

So I have these sessions I call Chill and Chew with Andrew, and I actually go out to the parks, groups of eight to 10, and it's literally wide open, they can ask me any…

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Do You Have Any Tips for Managing Millennials?

I think you got to first avoid those broad strokes. I think you got to really focus on situational leadership. Understanding the person that you're trying to lead. Their needs in terms of communication, in…

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What Keeps You up at Night?

What I try not to focus on are the things I can't impact. So in the theme park and waterpark world, weather is a big deal, right? If it rains or snows you're not going…

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If You Could Accomplish Only One Thing as CEO, What Would It Be?

The philosophy of the Herschend's as we grow the company. It's about us being employers, not investors. So as a share holder group they want to make sure that they can impact the lives of…

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What Role Does Instinct Play in Your Decision-Making Process?

Instinct, good instinct is about experience. And so if you have a lot of experience in the area, then instinct does play a role. If it's something that is just really your gut feeling good…

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Andrew Wexler serves as CEO of Herschend Enterprises, an Atlanta-based company committed to providing wholesome and immersive entertainment experiences. Herschend Enterprises is a family of companies focused on family entertainment and includes Herschend Family Entertainment, the largest family-owned themed attractions corporation in the U.S.; a live events company that includes the Harlem Globetrotters; and Herschend Studios, its media and content company, which co-produces the PBS animated series Splash and Bubbles in partnership with The Jim Henson Company.

As CEO, Andrew directs a range of strategic initiatives that leverage the company’s core competencies in entertainment to grow the business and deliver results for all stakeholders, shareholders, employees, guests, and communities impacted by the company.

Andrew joined Herschend as the chief financial officer in 2007 and assumed the role of CEO in 2015. During his tenure, Herschend has grown the company's profitability and strengthened its balance sheet despite the challenging economic times. Prior to joining the company in 2007, Andrew was a co-founder and chief financial officer of Derivion, a pioneer in internet-based billing, and chief operating officer of Martin Capital, a real estate development and finance firm. His work experience also includes time at Arthur Anderson and McKinsey & Company. Andrew currently serves on the Travel and Tourism Advisory Council to the Federal Reserve’s Sixth District.

Andrew earned his BBA and Master of Accountancy degree from the University of Georgia. He obtained his MBA from Harvard Business School, where he graduated as a George F. Baker Scholar. He and his wife live in Alpharetta, Georgia with their two children.