Success is not a one-person journey for Andre Temple, solutions consultant for the UT Center for Industrial Services (UTCIS).
On Jan. 23, Temple was awarded the 2017-18 Trailblazer Award by the UT Commission for Blacks.
The Trailblazer Award recognizes African Americans who have been influencers, achievers and trailblazers in their fields or for diversity, civil rights, inclusion and social equality.
“Each of the selected Trailblazers are uniquely qualified for the award based on their contributions to the university, community or state. These are individuals that make us proud that they are carrying the UT brand while they make broad impacts,” Robert Nobles, interim vice chancellor for research and engagement and former chair of the Commission of Blacks, said.
The awards committee of the commission, led by coordinator of community learning services and diversity programs for UT Libraries Thura Mack, chose Temple based on his work as an economic development specialist and industrial solutions consultant. His work includes advocacy of public and fair housing opportunities for disadvantaged communities and comprehensive volunteering and service work with various organizations.
As an industrial solutions consultant for the past seven years, Temple has created curriculums and delivered economic courses for economic development practitioners.
In his service as a consultant to UT, he noted that he has worked with companies in the development of training strategies designed to preserve their ambition in today’s global economy.
As this year's recipient of the Trailblazer Award, Temple reflected on the influences that have led him to where he is today.
“A trailblazer is defined as ‘a person who creates new paths to success,'” Temple said. “In retrospect, I realized I have been surrounded by trailblazers all my life, and they have collectively provided me with the wisdom and confidence towards acquiring new generational success within my family and opportunities to serve our community.”
Temple went on to state that all leaders need mentors and models within their personal lives to advise and influence them. Likewise, Temple noted leaders additionally need to be mentoring and modeling growth to those that follow them.
Temple cited his mother as a person of motivation and a mentor in his life. Temple's mother, an African American female with no postsecondary education, gave birth to him at 17 years old. While she raised him as a single mother, Temple said she nevertheless aided in exposing him to educational pathways.
“Pathways to success are defined differently for many in our society, primarily due to the circumstances they were born into, including race, gender, ethnicity, religion and geography,” Temple said. “Your neighborhood can greatly impact the trajectory of your life.”
Despite his status as an award winner, Temple noted that recognition from his peers was a humbling reward in itself. Temple said that after being awarded the Trailblazer Award, he has begun to personally commemorate the people who have aided him in his journey, and he hopes that he is currently doing enough to pass along this encouragement and assistance to others.
“Mentors are trailblazers who not only create new pathways to success by providing new opportunities but (are) people who also inspire purpose, passion and pride in others,” Temple said.