Get to know Darren Hopkins, Chair for Communications, Marketing, and Government Engagement
- What’s your tried and true coronavirus cabin-fever buster? I try to go for a quick walk every morning before I start working. I walked to and from work for several years, and that little 22 minute hustle provided me with a great opportunity to organize my thoughts, center myself, and get the blood moving with a bit of fresh air in the lungs. This pseudo-commute through my ‘hood has a similar effect. Variety helps too, so I try to throw in a good workout or strum the guitar every other day or two.
- How would you spend an afternoon in a new city? There’s a lot of culture around the places where people come together to share, so I like to experience a new place through its food and its coffee. I’ll eat and caffeinate my way through a cool neighbourhood or two on foot, and wander wherever my nose takes me along the way.
- Outside of YPAC, I’m passionate about… Community engagement and enriching the experience for myself and others. We all have time and talents and when we apply them, things get better for everyone which is really exciting to me! The outdoors and my health is important to me, and I’m always trying to push myself to new heights on the bicycle, a hike, the fencing piste, in the gym, or on the yoga mat. I’m also interested in biomedical design and biomimicry, urban design and architecture, and psychology and human behaviour, and I’ve dabbled a bit with woodworking in the past.
- What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? You get out what you put in. Whatever you’re doing, if you commit to it fully the rewards will be substantially greater than if you gave only a limited input. Immerse yourself fully, ask questions, and always keep working to raise the bar.
- What book have you drawn the most inspiration from? This author has been tainted with some bad karma over the years, but its effect on me still stands. I was hospitalized at 18 following a severe motor vehicle collision. I shouldn’t have survived but did, and found myself facing an uncertain future and a long, hard road to recovery; I didn’t really have the skills to deal with this and became quite despondent. A friend of my father gave me “It’s not about the bike – my journey back to life” by Lance Armstrong. The book was a catalyst to “rewiring” myself for positivity, and helped me recognize what was important in my life and to focus on that as a beacon of strength when dealing with challenges. I spent about six months in the hospital and a further two years in out-patient physiotherapy, but I made it back to life – and as a better person than I was before. I beat this – the hardest fight of my life, and I learned that if I can do this than I can do anything with the right mindset.