July 21, 2017
BE Modern Man: Meet “Mr. Footwear” Andre McDonnell
Name: Andre McDonnell
Profession: Providing sneakers to the homeless and less fortunate
One Word That Describes You: Passionate
What does being one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction mean to you?
Being honored as one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction means a great deal to me. For years, I have read the magazine and been inspired by it. I can recall countless times sitting at my local barber shop reading the magazine and to now be featured in it is an amazing feeling.
What are you doing as a BEMM to help support black male achievement now or in the future?
I believe I am helping support black male achievement by pushing myself and others to give back to the community. No matter what your circumstance, there will always been someone worse off. Giving to that person can be the most rewarding feeling.
What are some examples of how you turned struggle into success?
When I began It’s From the Sole, my biggest struggle was having sneakers to provide for the homeless. I began to ask friends and family for their old sneakers. Eventually word spread and I was overwhelmed with the outreach from the community.
How do you extraordinarily impact?
I believe my impact is by trying to provide comfortable footwear for the homeless. It may seem like a small gesture but good footwear is important to protect your feet, especially for someone living on the streets.
What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?
An important quality I look for in others is compassion. I hope to surround myself with people who share that quality and understand my need to help the less fortunate. We could all be one paycheck or life event away from hard times.
What are some immediate projects you are working on?
My next project will be an initiative to encourage children to get involved with the organization. We’ll start by bringing children to the laundromat to wash sneakers, to understand the process of the organization & how IFTS is able to provide for the less fortunate.
What is the best advice you ever received?
The best advice I have ever received was that not everyone will appreciate or understand It’s From the Sole’s mission and that it should never stop me from giving.
What is some advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?
The best advice I have for other men trying to make a difference is to never get discouraged from pursuing your dreams. Learn from mistakes you have made and never give up on your end goal.
How do you prep for an important business meeting and/or event?
I prep for important events by researching local areas which I plan on trying to provide for. I try to connect with local shelters & organizations to maximize our common efforts to provide for the most poverty stricken areas.
As a busy Modern Man, how do you unwind on vacation?
I try to unwind and relax on vacation by traveling to beautiful countries to enjoy their local beaches, food, and music. I was born in Barbados, so traveling “home” is always the best way for me to rejuvenate my soul.
If you could travel and stay anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
If I could travel anywhere in the world, it would be to a country in Africa and bring It’s From the Sole to a country that desperately needs our help.
Anything else you’d like to say?
I’d like to thank Black Enterprise for honoring me as one of the 100 Men of Distinction. I am completely humbled and grateful for the acknowledgement.
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Come celebrate the BE Modern Man 100 Men of Distinction at the first-ever Black Men XCEL Summit, Aug. 30 – Sept. 3, at the PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.