Founder of The Reach Series

Kwasi Adu-Poku II

Published Writer & Speaker
City of Toronto & Toronto Youth Cabinet Award Winner: Building Community Through Entrepreneurship 2024
5X USports Academic All-Canadian
Former McMaster Mens' Basketball Player '16-'21
HBSc Kinesiology (McMaster) '21
MA Public Policy & Administration (TMU) '22
Prompt Engineering Specialization (Vanderbilt University) '24
Spoken at/hosted 90+ Speaking Engagements

Kwasi Adu-Poku
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My Beginnings

I was born in Toronto, Canada to parents of Ghanaian origin and grew up in the Jane and Finch area. As a child in what some used to describe as one of the country's most notorious neighbourhoods for gun and gang violence, some would say the cards were stacked against me from a young age.

I somehow managed to distance myself from the statistics at a very young age. This was thanks to the values my family instilled in me, luck, and a traumatic injury that led me to the game of basketball.

My passion for playing basketball led me to see a life outside of Jane & Finch; it's also what brought me to value education. Unfortunately, this love for basketball also brought serious self-esteem challenges. I continued to place my self-worth on my performance. At one point, I  realized that this was unhealthy as my mental health fluctuated with each game I played. I would feel great when I had a great performance, but even struggle to get out of bed after a not so great one. Once I started to isolate myself from the people who wanted to help me most, I realized that I needed professional help.

So in 2019, I embarked on a journey to proactively address my mental health challenges. My first visit to a therapist marked the beginning of my journey to holistic wellness. I didn't just want to understand what contributed to positive mental health outcomes in my life, I wanted to support people in their silent battles as well. I know what it's like to fake a smile when your world feels like it's falling apart; and I don't want others to feel this way. There is a plan. There is a way out; and many people who can relate to you. This conviction is one of the many things that inspired me to launch THE REACH SERIES.

Experience and Insights

The road to success is not an easy one. Like many of us, I've encountered many roadblocks that have shaped the person I am today.

Sport was one of my introductions to the dark places that life can take us mentally. Fortunately, I've been able to transform these experiences into ones that I can apply in other areas of life. Being cut from teams for most of my childhood, struggling to get recruited, and the struggles I faced when I actually got to McMaster pushed me to my limit. In these moments, timely support and a determination to use my struggle to inspire others pushed me forward. I've always wanted my story and experiences to help people see the power in theirs.

I believe everyone has a unique voice, and I really found mine when I started therapy. I began to notice the changes in me during these sessions and I managed to bounce back in my final 2019-20 season. Success as a varsity athlete no longer consumed me, and I finally started to see life outside of basketball. Funny enough, this gave me the comfort I needed to perform better. I want to share this core lesson with others, in whatever way they choose to apply it to their lives.

Ever since, I have been using my story and experiences to transform and uplift people from all walks of life. I have been a strong advocate for community action and helping people see the world with confidence and practicality. I've been involved in several volunteer initiatives including higher education, athletics, scholarship admissions, equity, advocacy, and inclusion.

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Community Involvement

Some of my community involvement highlights include the following:

- At McMaster, I worked in athlete-led community engagements that included Mac Athletes Care, the McMaster Varsity Leadership Committee, and Marauders in the Classroom where I'd speak to large groups of elementary school students on the importance of education
- Spending five years at McMaster as a Welcome Week Rep, supporting the transition of more than 5,000 new students per year with strategies rooted in inclusion
- Worked with McMaster's Anti-Racism Advisory Group helping address anti-Black racism among the athletic department and the campus
- Received a President's Award from McMaster University for my community involvement and leadership. I was also the first student-athlete in recent history to win the award
-  Won the McMaster University's Most Outstanding Male Graduating Athlete Award for my community engagement, leadership, athletic and academic achievement
- During my Masters at Toronto Metropolitan University, I sat on my program council, my department council, the anti-black racism student advisory committee, and a well-being referendum group to support a first-of-its-kind $35 million wellness center in the school
- I worked with the Black Health Alliance to facilitate community-led discussions around COVID-19 to be consolidated into more significant reports for the public.

Through these experiences in community engagement, I've continued to develop a holistic approach to education that helps me provide informed yet motivational stances on topics.

Pursuits and Initiatives

Three important things I hold close to my heart are education, leadership, and personal development. As a result, I graduated with a 3.9 GPA during my undergraduate studies and was awarded a full scholarship for my Master's program. This has fueled my drive to work with numerous committees like the ones I did at McMaster, driving revolutionary changes in leadership and anti-black racism.

My basketball journey is a symbol of the leadership ideologies I hope to share with others. For most of my life, I've known what it was like to not be the first choice at open runs, cut from teams, or the person who wasn't the "best". That's why I was driven to become the best I could be, so I could uplift those around me. This drive is what helped me go from being a last minute recruit, to a walk-on, to graduating 8th in McMaster University's record book for rebounding and 38th in scoring. Like many of us, the path I chose involved a lot of struggle. However, it has left me a newfound appreciation for personal development, destigmatizing mental health challenges (especially as a Black man), and a drive to inspire and educate others. Basketball was life's way of showing me that my pain has a purpose.

Throughout my journey, I've gained valuable experience, lessons, and deep insights into personal development which I aim to use to help educate people on a variety of topics. My complex experiences have given me a strong inclination to simplify information.

My degree in Kinesiology has helped me gain expertise in researching practical strategies for holistic wellness. Through my education, intensive research, and an inborn passion for wellness - I have developed a deep-rooted, interdisciplinary mindset on goal setting and learning that can help people soar and achieve their objectives in life. 

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Latest Exploits

I use my social media presence with The Reach Series to connect insightful tips to pop culture - namely anime. As someone who felt like an underdog growing up, seeing characters like Naruto find ways to succeed lit a fire in me. I use art forms like these to share profound lessons, in the hopes that people can be inspired the way I was.

I received my Master’s degree in Public Policy & Administration in 2022. The program offered a wonderful opportunity to understand critical policy issues impacting Canada holistically. Within the context of my business, this degree has helped me develop insightful approaches to developing practical solutions that people accomplish their goals.

I strongly believe in discovering your purpose and finding what inspires you. However, I try to focus on understanding the practical challenges one may face as they navigate this journey.

To learn more about me, my journey to holistic wellness, and my professional accomplishments, please visit my LinkedIn profile.

Kwasi Adu-Poku Speaker
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Articles about me

Articles on Me

McMaster Impact Project

This was a profile made by the University that highlighted my second year experience. it captured the successes I had, as well as the adversity I overcame.

McMaster Impact Project

McMaster Sports

They wrote an article that featured my backstory, and what fuelled me to create The Reach Series.

McMaster Sports

Published Writings

Published Writings

TRAD Magazine

The importance of the golden stool to the Ashanti people 

The meaning behind the Golden Stool is integral to the Ashanti people of Ghana. I combined personal experiences with research into the history of the Golden Stool to leave readers feeling educated and related to.

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TRAD Magazine

Overcoming imposter syndrome through introspection

Imposter Syndrome is something I have battled with for a long time. Through the successes I achieve, it is something that persistently lingers. However, as I take an active approach to reflect on my journey, I realize and share some tips around overcoming this doubt.

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CBC News

Mcmaster program 'the only way out' to university for some smart, talented hamilton students 

Highlighting the McMaster Access Strategy, its mission to dismantle systemic barriers to education, and two of the amazing students & the program administrator that are a part of it.

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Contact me today to kick start your journey!

Are you ready to explore your possibilities? Contact me today to get started.

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