Monday, December 7, 2009

Andre Harper: Cincinnati City Council Candidate

Andre Harper
Andre Harper is the youngest endorsed candidate for Cincinnati City Council. He is a decorated army veteran and graduate of Florida A&M University. He has received numerous awards for his service to Cincinnati, including the Cincinnati Business Courier’s “40 Under 40” for 2005 and “Emerging Leader” by Applause magazine in 2004. He is looking forward to bringing strong as well as visionary leadership to Cincinnati while leading the Queen City into its next golden era. Andre has served as a trustee at Smart Money Community Services and Oaktree Elementary. He holds leadership positions in Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc, New School Cincinnati (Young Professionals), and The Lincoln Douglass Republican Club. He is active in the Hamilton County Republican Party and was appointed a precinct supervisor. He’s the Sigma Beta Club Advisor (Fraternity youth auxiliary). He spends time explaining the importance of black male leadership development while providing an example. He coordinated the Sigma Bazaar clothing drive that collected over 11,000 garments given away to Cincinnati residents. It was covered by local radio, television, and print media.

FCL: How would you define a leader?
Andre: I would define a leader as someone who understands that leadership and service are inseparable. This person understands the plight of those that they lead. A leader should inspire others to reach beyond their potential.

FCL: Who are your biggest influences as a leader?
Andre: I have had many influences as a leader including Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X, Vince McMahon, and scores of others.

FCL: What gives you the greatest joy in being a leader?
Andre: The greatest joy I get from leadership is watching someone that I have led become a leader. While in college I started an organization called Men of Impact which was designed to help young black men develop leadership by getting them involved in campus activities. I am proud to say that every one of them has graduated and they still call me to tell me how much of an “impact” I had on their lives.

FCL: What is your biggest pet peeve as a leader?
Andre: My biggest pet peeve as a leader is unrealistic expectations. Some people believe that a leader should be perfect and free of human error. Once an error is made, people love to watch the mighty fall.

FCL: What is your biggest challenge as a leader?
Andre: My biggest challenge as a leader is the time commitment. I am always working when others are not. My days are longer because I have to balance life, career and leadership responsibilities.

FCL: Who has impacted you the most in your life as a leader?
Andre: The person who impacted my life the most as a leader was my mother. It’s not because she is the world’s greatest leader, but because she allowed me to see her strengths and weaknesses so that I can learn from her life.

FCL: What are your favorite books and what are you currently reading?
Andre: I love reference books and social commentary. I like to consult them in times of need. I am currently reading Enough by Juan Williams.

FCL: What is your vision for business and community leadership in Cincinnati?
Andre: My vision for business and community leadership for Cincinnati is collaboration. Cincinnati has some of the brightest corporate and civic minds in the country. The public and private sector should not compete. Each has its place. Government should create the atmosphere for business to thrive. When businesses are thriving, then government will be happy because of healthy revenue.

FCL: Where do you see yourself five years from today?
Andre: In five years, I see myself in Cincinnati working in the community and enjoying my family. I love helping others and helping people to maximize their lives.

Closing remarks (from Herman): What a marvelous interview, Andre! You are right on! Leaders are 'always working when others are not' yet, as you say, most people have 'unrealistic expectations' of their leaders, expecting them to be 'perfect and free of human error'. Leaders work more than non-leaders because they are committed to improving the lives of those they interact with. More importantly, the leader has to set aside time for his or her own personal growth because this is the key to influencing others and impacting society positively. Followers, therefore, need to have realistic expectations because leaders are not super-human. Thanks for sharing your marvelous insight. Good luck as you continue to lead the Queen City into its next golden era.