Andrew Baker

Company: YMCA of Greater Charlotte
Position: Marketing Director

Age: 25

 

HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED IN CHARLOTTE AREA?

7 years; 2011-Present

 

TELL US A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT YOU?

Every day I work to be a community-driven leader in Charlotte. Through my professional career as a Marketing Director with the YMCA of Greater Charlotte, I seek opportunities to better myself and gain knowledge to positively impact the 19 branches I work with. With the ability to work in diverse branches I have had the opportunity to engage in a variety of projects including the Dowd YMCA’s $30 million renovation, the 39th Annual BB&T Corporate Cup race, the newly created YMCA’s Weight Loss program, and the Festival of McCrorey among other great projects.

Outside of work I can be found out and about around Charlotte representing UNC Charlotte as the President of the Young Alumni Board of Directors. The primary purpose of this board is to engage current students, alumni who have graduated over the last ten years, and the community to build a unified city that works hand in hand to better UNC Charlotte. We accomplish this through various community-driven programs and events. One of these events that I had the opportunity to create and implement two years ago is Dollars for Scholars. The purpose behind this event is to select a deserving scholarship at UNC Charlotte and partner with a local restaurant to hold a fundraiser. Our first year for Dollars for Scholars was 2017. At the inaugural event we raised over $300 for the “My Brother’s Keeper” scholarship which supports African-American men interested in STEM programs at UNC Charlotte. This year, we worked with the Pride of Niner Nation Marching Band and raised funds for their upcoming trip to Normandy for D-Day festivities. We were proud to raise over $1300 to help support their trip. Dollars for Scholars is now an annual event for the Young Alumni Chapter at UNC Charlotte. This program is in addition to our additional engagement events including our Veteran’s Drive, Senior-Sendoff, and Young Alumni Chapter’s 10 Under 10 Awards, which starts this fall.

On the weekends, I enjoy volunteering with the special needs community in Charlotte as the game-day announcer for the Miracle League. This baseball league is specialized for individuals with diverse needs and holds particular significance for me. While in college, I attended the Miracle League games to cheer on my cousin who has cerebral palsy. Now I am entering my 6th season of announcing four weekly baseball games every Saturday in the spring and fall.

In January, my fiancé and I created an opportunity to keep individuals with diverse needs physically active and engaged outside of the fall and spring Miracle League season. This idea jumpstarted what is now known as Dream to Achieve. Dream to Achieve is a community organization that supports individuals with diverse needs in the sport of bowling. Understanding the health benefits of bowling has allowed the opportunity to teach these bowlers muscle memory tips and strength building which has proven to be therapeutic for many.

As a 2015 graduate of UNC Charlotte and a 2017 graduate of the Charlotte Chamber’s Emerging Business Leaders program, I look for any and all opportunities to give back positively to my community. I am honored to be a nominee for the Elevate Lifestyle’s 30 Under 30 Awards.

 

DURING YOUR TIME VOLUNTEERING FOR A COMMUNITY ACTIVITY OR PROJECT, WHAT IS YOUR MOST MEMORIAL MOMENT?

The most memorable moment of community service was the completion of the inaugural season of the Dream to Achieve Bowling League. When we started the recruitment process for Dream to Achieve, we expected no more than 25 bowlers. In our first season we finished with more than 40 bowlers and their families excited about joining for the upcoming summer season. It was special for me to interact with many different bowlers with different abilities and help them each have their best games. During the medal ceremony, the bowlers were so proud of the skills they had gained over the eight-week league. It was evident to me how important organizations like this are to our Charlotte community.

 

IN YOUR OPINION, HOW DO YOU CONTRIBUTE TO THE COMMUNITY?

I am a firm believe of finding your “community trail”. It is important to figure out what you are individually interested in. For me, I am interested in supporting the special needs community and supporting collegiate students as they transition from school into the workforce.

My community contributions can be identified through these two branches. I have been the game-day announcer for the Miracle League for the last six seasons and announce four baseball games every Saturday during the fall and spring months. It is important to treat each and every game as if it’s Game 7 of the World Series and provide an engaging experience for the athletes, parents, and spectators. Beyond my involvement with the Miracle League, my fiancé and I have now completed our inaugural season of the Dream to Achieve Bowling League. This bowling league was created to provide individuals with special needs a physical and engaging activity to be involved with during the winter and summer months. We expected to have no more than 25 bowlers for our first season but were blown away by the more than 40 participants we welcomed. Dream to Achieve has now blossomed so quickly that we are in the process of filing for it to become a non-profit LLC.

In regard to my contributions to collegiate students, my role as the President for the Young Alumni Board of Directors at UNC Charlotte allows me a unique opportunity to create and implement events for the current students, alumni who have graduated in the past decade, and the Charlotte community. Events like Dollars for Scholars, Senior-Sendoff, and the newly created Top 10 Under 10 awards have become key events through the year to engage the UNC Charlotte community. Beyond these events, I take all opportunities to sit on panels, roundtables, and any other speaking engagements in an effort to engage students on campus, most recently sitting on the panel for the first Connect 49ers event back in the fall of 2017.

Finally, I have made it to a place in my career where I am financially able to give back. As a student at UNC Charlotte, I was part of the Student Niner Media organization and it was a major component to my growth both professionally and personally. In 2013 I received the Spirit Award from the organization for my tireless work and positive impact I had on the organization. At the time I had just completed managing the organization’s first fundraiser, “A Fit Body for a Fit Mind: Dance ‘till You Drop”, which raised funds for sporting equipment for a local Title I school, University Meadows Elementary. In 2017, I began sponsorship of the Spirit Award for Student Media. The recipient of the award each year will now receive a $250 check to help with whatever needs the recipient may have.

 

PLEASE LET US KNOW ANY AWARDS OR RECOGNITIONS YOU’VE RECEIVED IN YOUR PROFESSIONAL CAREER:

In 2017, I was the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Student Niner Media organization at UNC Charlotte for my professional accomplishments and continued support of the Charlotte community.

I am also part of the 2017 class from the Charlotte Chamber’s Emerging Business Leaders program. This program invites top young professionals in the Charlotte community to collectively come together for a year of classes, seminars, and events to better help them advance their own personal leadership. I was nominated to participate in this program from UNC Charlotte.

 

WHAT ARE YOUR HOBBIES OR INTEREST?

My hobbies include bowling, wine and design, attending Panthers and Charlotte 49ers sporting events, and binge watching a variety of Netflix shows.

 

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE QUOTE THAT YOU STAND BY?

I have two which I use frequently and help drive my passions and success:

“Honor the past; live in the present; look towards the future”
“Diversity is simply counting heads; inclusion is when you make those heads count”

 

WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 5 YEARS? 10 YEARS?

In five years I expect to have continued my positive career trajectory and am anticipating holding more responsibility whether that is through a senior level position or in the community aspect of my life.

In ten years, I will be firmly engrained in the community that I live in. My perfect plan would see me serving in an executive level position within an organization while balancing my continued community involvement. Dream to Achieve will continue to thrive and become a well-known program that supports the special needs community.

 

CAN YOUR SHARE ONE THING THAT IS ON YOUR BUCKET LIST?

On my bucket list is exploring the country of Ireland to embrace my Irish heritage. This has been a dream of mine for a long time and both my fiancé and I are excited to accomplish this in the coming years.

 

WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU USED YOUR PASSPORT?

I have not had the opportunity yet to travel outside of the U.S. and therefore have never used a passport. I am excited to use my passport for the first time on September 2, following my upcoming marriage, for our honeymoon trip to Aruba.

 

WHAT IS A FUN FACT ABOUT YOURSELF THAT NO ONE KNOWS?

I enjoy designing graphics and logos in my spare time for community programs that I have had the opportunity to be a part of and create.

 

WHO IS YOUR HERO?

My hero is and always will be my grandfather, Barry Green, also known as Papa. He was Secret Service for many of this country’s Presidents and held a lot prestige in the community he worked and lived in due to his responsibilities. My Papa was always there to push me to the same level of involvement, even when he was battling cancer and his health was nowhere near 100%.

He passed away only a month before my collegiate graduation but has continued to be present in my life as I continue to involve myself in the community. His guiding force drives me to be better than myself and always look at the large picture.

 

WHAT WAS THE LAST BOOK YOU READ?

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by: Stephen R. Covey

 

WHAT WAS THE LAST MOVIE YOU SAW?

The Strangers: They Prey at Night (Horror Buff)

 

WHAT WAS THE LAST CONCERT YOU SAW?

The Lone Bellow at Neighborhood Theatre.

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