Ten years ago, most people who knew him would have assumed that Quentin Evans’s life was on track.
He’d grown up in a supportive family, had an Honours Bachelor of Arts from Western University and a public relations certificate from Humber College, and he’d just established a new branch office of a non-traditional marketing agency in Toronto.
But things changed suddenly when Quentin had a heart attack at the age of 33.
“Although my path to living with purpose began earlier,” Quentin says, “it took the contemplation of my own mortality to truly push me to become more intentional about my life choices.”
He discovered a new sense of clarity, which prompted him to enrol in a social work degree at Lakehead Orillia. “I always believed I would embrace a vocation serving others,” he explains.
Quentin had a strong influence on campus. During his field placement with Student Services, he and his fellow classmate Laura East tackled the problem of cyber-bullying in postsecondary institutions.
The two came up with the idea of the Audacity Movement (AM).
We set out to shift the campus culture at Lakehead Orillia towards one that modeled – and rewarded – community, kindness, and social innovation
A key element of the initiative was tokens emblazoned with the initials “AM” that students and staff were able to give to anyone they witnessed performing an act of compassion or courage.
Quentin has never shied away from taking a risk on endeavours he is passionate about, most notably founding the independent record label Hope Café Records with his life partner, singer/songwriter Angie Nussey.
The duo experimented with innovative campaigns that set new standards in the industry. Unfortunately, after five years of operation, the label had to fold due to financial difficulties. Quentin, though, was unphased by this setback.
“Being deeply humbled by that perceived 'failure' enabled me to differentiate between living a ‘satisfied life,’ that would be measured by us, versus the more traditional ‘successful life,’ which is so often measured by others.”
Quentin is currently a community impact project liaison at Georgian College’s Centre for Changemaking and Social Innovation (CCSI) in Barrie, Ontario. Much of his time is spent helping students engage in social innovation by connecting them with progressive community organizations. Over the past three years, they’ve focused on food security, social isolation, and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
Besides his work with CCSI, Quentin teaches courses at Georgian and is the faculty representative for “ManUp” – a student-led social movement, in partnership with the Ontario Provincial Police, dedicated to addressing gender-based violence.
The pandemic, of course, presents some challenges to his work and teaching.
“Without question, I really miss being in the physical classroom,” Quentin says, “but there’s something so beautifully human about hearing families in the background or watching a pet cross in front of a web cam.”
Quentin recognizes how fortunate he’s been to have worked alongside so many inspiring individuals.
“I’m genuinely fascinated by people. I love to hear someone’s story and I’m always happy to share the things I’ve learned, and more importantly, un-learned during my journey.”
Anyone who would like to get in touch with Quentin is welcome to email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.