ANDREW HUNTER - ROLE MODEL & AMBASSADOR
Officially Inducted into the “National Wall of Role Models” on June 7, 2014 ( See full list www.BlackCanadianAwards.com )
Tell us a little bit about yourself? And what many people may not know about you.
My name is Andrew Hunter. I was born and raised in the GTA though I did spend a part of my childhood in Jamaica. I was raised by two very hardworking and supportive parents who taught me that the world is truly my oyster and I can achieve anything I set my mind to which helped me immensely throughout my career as a professional athlete and business professional. I am also someone who is passionate about helping people achieve success.
What's your inspiration and how do you get motivated?
I’m inspired by greatness! That’s probably the simplest answer I can give, but to be more specific, I am inspired by the perseverance and determination of high achievers. Essentially, people that have overcome great odds in order to be successful. I gain my motivation from overcoming any challenge that I’m faced with. My drive to win through performing at a high level and helping others around me to succeed is what drives me and the main source of my motivation
How did you get to where you are now and what more should we expect?
I’ve gotten to where I am now through maintaining a strong spiritual faith and work ethic that I inherited from both my parents. I’ve also tried to make good choices along the line that would support the overall goals that I’ve set out for myself.
In the future, you should expect me to increase my involvement within the local community particularly as it relates to youth mentorship. As you may know, I spent the better part of 15 years away from Canada due to my undergraduate studies and my career as a professional basketball player. I think that at this point in my career it would quite fitting to nurture the very community that helped to nurture me as a youth.
Aside from that, I am exploring opportunities not only in the athletic industry but also in the Banking, Commercial Real Estate and Auto Industries having completed my MBA at Henley Business School in England.
What would you like to be remembered for?
That’s an interesting question, I’ll try to give you a short answer. I would like to be remembered for being someone who is not only the best at what he does but for being a fair and just person. Someone who has integrity and effectively bring out the best in people. In the sports world, one of the best compliments a player can get is that he or she makes his teammates better; this is an accolade I strive for outside of the sports arena.
How do you balance work, family, friends and leisure?
This is sometimes complicated but I try my best to prioritize. Sometimes spending time with family and relaxing can allow you to be much more productive and efficient from a work standpoint even if it’s only for a short time spent together.
What's your favorite food, book, music and movie?
I’m sure many would think of the fanciest dish they can think of to answer this question and although I have had the opportunity to partake in the cuisine from several countries, I would say my favourite remains to be oxtail with rice and peas. Whenever I return home, that’s usually what I try to have, as soon as possible!
What's your experience as a Black person in Canada?
To be honest, I haven’t had much recognizable discrimination while living in Canada; though I know it does exist. I think that it is very important for the youth of African descent to develop professional skills. This includes the way you dress, speak and carry yourself. There is often a very big difference between how we conduct ourselves at home and in the workplace. Developing versatility in this aspect is paramount in order to be successful.
I often hear that people of African descent have to be better or more qualified in order to acquire a job that a non-African person would likely get with lesser qualification. Although this may be unfair, I think it provides us with a great opportunity to raise our “level of play” if you will. Therefore be the best; period! Michael Jordan, Oprah Winfrey, Barack Obama are some of the best of what they do. It’s very difficult to argue with success.
What is the Black community doing right or wrong in Canada?
I don’t know that we are doing anything wrong but what I do feel is we are quite fragmented in our pursuit of success. It appears that we lack the unity in our community that other cultures often enjoy. As a result, it makes our journey more difficult than it needs to be. You and I can achieve a task much faster if we work together.
For example, I recently visited Xiamen, China, my experience there was life-changing because I saw what working together really meant. When I arrived at the airport I was collected by the team manager that I was playing for, we then drove to the hotel where I would be staying. Once I dropped my things off I was introduced to my liaison who would be my translator. She explained the schedule for the next few weeks and we then went for dinner. While at dinner, I noticed that we sat at a large table where our food was placed on a rotating centerpiece, so the idea was that we were to take what we wanted and another person could easily access the food they wanted by spinning the centerpiece. I later found out that all 10 people at the table, excluding myself, of course, were related and made up the senior management of the company that I was working for. A simple example; but what I got from that experience is that it is important to share success with, family, community and so forth. I think that our community can improve vastly in this regard.
Should & do Blacks support black music, events and businesses?
I think people of African descent should work to strengthen our community by focusing on educating our youth at a very young age. This is vitally important because it will equip them with the skills to be successful when they are older. It’s much less effective doing this when they are teenagers; although not impossible. The old adage, ‘an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure’ certainly applies to this situation.
Some claim we have musical artists and talents in Canada that are as good or better than those in the US?
I absolutely agree the same goes for athletes as well. I think the major drawback in Canada is that we do not invest in these respective industries and talent. In my travels, I’ve seen countries with a fraction of Canada’s gross domestic product of (GDP) that make much larger investments in their athletes and entertainers. This is evidenced by the majority of talented athletes traveling to the US or even Europe to pursue opportunities. Canada is a fantastic country and offers so much as far as quality of life, but I think that we can do better to support local talent and I think that we will.
Mention a few of your favorite Black Canadian Artists?
I’d have to say start off with one of the originators, Maestro (Fresh Wes) followed by Drake, Kardinal Offishall, The Weekend and a few others.
What’s your understanding of Black History in Canada?
Certainly not enough, but I do know that African Americans migrated to Nova Scotia and formed one of the 1st African Canadian communities. African Canadian’s also fought alongside their American counterparts to help abolish slavery.
Staying on the topic of African Canadian history, my sister Mitzie has also made history, Canadian or otherwise, by recently being elected as the MPP of Scarborough Guildwood which is the only 6th person of African descent to do so. With that said, we are creating Canadian history as we speak so it is important to not only accurately document it but to also ensure that it is shared with our young people of all ethnicities so that they too can aspire to be great.