Andrea Cozier McLean: A Newark Story

Andrea Cozier McLean, a celebrated businesswoman and influential Newarker, sits down with Newark Stories. Known for her dynamic presence at social events and her impactful community work.

Andrea Cozier McLean: A Newark Story
Andrea Cozier McLean at Baum Production Studios

From Brooklyn to Brick City. We’re getting to know Andrea Cozier McLean.

You may recognize this glamorous Titan from social events she’s produced at the hotspots downtown like The Den, supporting the tech and business sector at Newark Tech Week alongside EqualSpace or organizing with local non-profits to get resources like the Affordable Connectivity Program to those in need right here in Newark. Ladies and Gentlemen, Andrea Cozier McLean! 

McLean: Yes, thank you! They are honoring me for my Guyanese Heritage and my contributions to the Guyanese Diaspora. 

NNS: Who are you, where are you from?

I'm Andrea. I am a community curator, a friend, a daughter, a cousin, a jack of all trades, currently a fitness fanatic and a phenomenal woman. I moved to Newark from Brooklyn when I was really young.

NNS: How long have you been in Newark?

McLean: 20 years. 

NNS: You mentioned it got easier to ground yourself during your college years, once you found community. Walk us through that journey. Tell me what you've noticed about that element of community in Newark.

McLean: Well I did high school in north Newark, then I went to Essex County College around 2010. That's when I started to explore the burgeoning arts community downtown–which was a very different downtown than we see today. 

When I started to explore finding community, and finding people– like I said I was very much by myself. I was still mourning not being able to be in the place where I started my life, so I was very much not with anything that was happening. Once I started to get into the space of meeting people {in Newark}, it became really important to meet people who were different. You know, Jerry {Gant} made his own clothes, Akintola{Hanif} had his own style, Rodney {Gilbert} was very– his clothes, the way that he moved, the way that he talked, you know it was all very unique.

So, to be in spaces with people who were being themselves and being very unapologetic about it, it helped me understand that I could be myself as well. It made me wish I met these people when I first got here because I would have been way more comfortable.

Protect yourself. Protect your city.

Safe to say your core mission is impacting the community + activating young people. Tell us about your work background?

McLean: I graduated Essex County College with a degree in Business Administration, and then I went to Rutgers Newark until I graduated in 2015. I knew I wanted to do business in high school. I didn't know what that meant because obviously, entrepreneurship looked very different. There was no YouTube or social media, so I didn't know what it looked like.

In college, my friends started a nonprofit called ThemCloudKids where we mentored young people, hosted open mics, and a black panther-style free breakfast in the community. From there, while I was still in school I started an internship at a local nonprofit and I worked with Entrepreneurs from NY and NJ. So I was kind of at the intersection of the business world and the nonprofit world and that's how I decided to combine the two: purpose-based and money-based and be comfortable. It definitely helped me come into myself a bit more. Then I started getting experience running one of the first co-working spaces in the city and began getting into property management.

NNS: Now, you're a multi-business owner. All of that transformative experience, from college to community leadership, and property management; coupled with the microaggressions in that workplace, would this become the groundwork of the two businesses currently holding your focus? This vein of creating spaces for our creative community and professionals of color is what started Akin Worldwide. Why did you find it important?

McLean: I knew we needed a space like this co-working space where we can actually feel safe. Because I didn't want anyone to come in here and not be who they are. Originally Akin was started to take over that space, to fill that need. Now what I’m looking at it as is a vehicle to help curate safe spaces for creative professionals of color. I realized that we are our own spaces.

One of the ways we are creating those spaces is our Akin Rooted Supper Club series. It was started by one of our community members, Joseph Sir Moore. He is a photographer and Vegan Chef at Rutgers Newark. He started doing this last year in Paterson and reached out to ask if we wanted to collaborate on it! We wanted to create a space for people to experience an alternative palette, engage community, and promote healthy living. 

NNS: Pinetart Co, tell us a bit about your consulting company.

McLean: Pinetart Co started in 2020 as a result of Covid. Now I do Economic Development Consulting aiding larger organizations to better their community engagement. There’s a bit of creative coaching, strategic planning involved.

Where are you now in your professional life?

McLean: I am at a crossroads in my career. One thing they don’t tell you about starting a business, is that you're kind of going with the flow a lot of the time. So, my intention is to scale my business and to hire so that I can take on other projects and work in other cities, and hopefully other countries as well. I would like to grow in that way.

NNS: What is a project that you've worked on recently that brought you pride?

McLean: A project that Pinetart Co just wrapped in February of this year. I worked on the ACP with Invest Newark, which is our local economic development corporation. We helped local residents get a discount on their internet access or their mobile phone/home internet– which is very crucial. In the city about 60% of residents were eligible for it, and that’s a lot of people who needed some sort of subsidy for their internet. The program came about as a result of Covid, you know, young people couldn't get on zoom with their teachers. That type of thing, so that was very rewarding.

We also worked with the Newark Public Library to help sign up people who were transitioning out of homelessness. As much as the program didn’t end the way we wanted because of funding from Congress, we were still able to help a lot of folks get free internet as well. 

NNS: What is your connection to  Newark now?

McLean: My connection to Newark now….It’s my home. My community is here and my family is here. I love it. I don’t always love it, I think that you know, it’s a typical city life thing where it has its moments. But–I do value our community. I value the relationships that I have with people who express their appreciation of me, and who I can also do the same for.

NNS: What would you say to young people who see your work or this video and want to follow a path like yours?

McLean: I would say to young people who are looking at me saying “Hey, I could do that!” you definitely could. The people with the most money in the world are winging it [trust me– I know]! So, you’re good. You can do whatever you want, you can climb any mountain. Just have integrity and use discernment in everything you do.


Stay up to date on all things Andrea!


Instagram – Pinetart Co

Instagram – Akin WorldWide


Thank you to Baum’s Production Studio for having us! You can find more info on their space at Baums Production Studio on Instagram.

Thank you to Opo’s Canon Production (Newark Stories alumni fellow) for filming and editing this incredible interview. Follow Opo’s Canon Production on Instagram.

This story and interview is written by DEVONNE. DEVONNE (Sophia's Daughter) is a Haitian-Jamaican-American writer, creative producer, professional performance artist, and flower child based in Newark, NJ. She has a mission to enlighten, inform, empower, and reconnect humanity to its humanity. Connect with Devonne at

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