November 8, 2017
BE Modern Man: Meet ‘The Lyrical Engineer’ John Gunter Jr.
Name: John ‘Rewind’ Gunter Jr.
Profession: Lead Security Engineer @ McKesson | Content Creator @ Ay, Pops | Writer, Speaker, Lyricist
One Word That Describes You: Genuine
What is your “Extraordinary Impact?”
I live extraordinarily uncategorized. Often we are told we can only do one thing or we need to dim our lights for others. Too often there is a stereotype or standard for what you need to look and act like to be. The content of “Ay, Pops!” was created for black fathers who are told they are a minority or that they don’t exist. I’m a black IT professional, I go back home and tell the children that look like me that you can be a black engineer, even with your background. If you exist, then your future can exist in every way you fathom it. As a writer and a rapper, I let them know that if that’s the path you want to take you can. Or, you can be both. You can be whatever you want to be and you don’t have to choose between sheltering your blackness for anybody. I live abundantly true to who I am which allows others to be their true selves. I think we are at a time where we’re seeing more and more of us who aren’t afraid to be us.
What does being one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction mean to you?
It means everything; it’s indeed an honor. I’m just a kid from Rock Island, Illinois. To be categorized or even recognized by Black Enterprise is a grateful triumph.
What are some examples of how you turned struggle into success?
At 21 years old, I was met with my best friend committing suicide, flunking out of college, and constantly fighting against my depression paired with alcoholism. My mother passed away on my 22nd birthday and within that one year I felt as if I lost everything with meaning in my life. After my mother’s passing, I found purpose through her words, which helped to push me to finish school. I used her words as motivation and turned my life around. I completed my undergrad studies that next year, landed a job in my field (IT), released two albums detailing the low points, and had the opportunity to tour the Midwest performing and speaking to people that find themselves in circumstances like me.
What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?
I build with others that are true to themselves. I can accept all friendships and I love all people. You must be honest though. I think for relationships and people to grow they must be real. Sometimes that reality is tough and sometimes it’s awesome, but you can’t build on facades.
What are some immediate projects you are working on?
I currently manage the security posture of a Fortune 5 company; I’m working on improving that with innovative next-gen technologies. On the writer side, I’ve been composing songs the last year for some up-and-coming artists. Personally, I’m working on an anthology of sorts entitled For The Nappy Headed Children That Attempted Suicide. It’s a collection of poetry along with some of my personal thoughts and battles with depression and suicide. Lastly I am in the re-construction stage of my blog “Ay, Pops!”
What is the best advice you ever received?
I believe the quote is by Oscar Wilde, and John Lennon also said something similar. My good friend LaRoyce Hawkins is who brought it to my attention. “Everything is going to be fine in the end. If it’s not fine, it’s not the end.” It’s one of my life mantras since I heard it. I’ve been down a lot, but keep a strong faith in God and always understand to keep my head up and keep the work up and eventually the sun shines. God Work + Hard Work = Abundant Blessings. It’s the best advice to never trip on the small stuff.
What is some advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?
Keep going! Often, we get complacent and think that simply being a successful black man is making a difference. There are so many eyes on you right now that you don’t realize being authentic and steadfast allows you to be a vessel and motivates those eyes on you. Also, never forget who helped you get to where you are and be that person to someone else.
How do you prep for an important business meeting and or event?
I text my wife 100 times before I do anything. She’s my calm. I also rehearse my conversation, focus points, and/or presentation multiple times in my head the day before and leading up to it.
As a busy Modern Man, how do you unwind on vacation? Share a story about your best vacation.
I like to spend my vacations around good people, good food, lots of water, and fine spirits. My favorite vacations have been spending a week or so at a resort in Jamaica enjoying endless hours at a swim-up bar.
If you could travel and stay anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I want to see the world. Currently the Motherland is on my list because I feel the need to learn everything I can about where I came from.
Anything else you’d like to say?
I’d like to say thank you first and foremost. Truly an honor. I would also like to encourage everyone that finds this to take steps for themselves or for close ones to increase activities on improving mental health. We are all now aware that mental health is a serious issue in the black community and it all starts with a step in the right direction.
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