In the finance world, on the football field, and through volunteering, Harrison Hunter is working to change lives.
The 29-year-old former college football player often talks about his passion to “impact, empower and improve the lives of other people” — and that’s what drives his decisions about how he works and how he serves.
Hunter fills his “spare” time by coaching football at Fountain-Fort Carson High School and serving on the boards for Fostering Hope, Downtown Ventures and the Colorado Springs Black Business Network — and he’s well aware that by thriving in a career as a certified financial planner, he’s taken the road less traveled.
There are just 88,718 CFPs in the United States, and fewer than 4 percent of them are Black or Hispanic. Hunter is the first to say he’s not “the stereotypical financial adviser you think of: an older white male. That’s just to be bluntly honest,” he told the Business Journal. “I love my industry. But I understand when I first started, I didn’t see anything that looked like me, and it was hard for me to feel like I belonged here.
“One of my bigger goals is to prove that other men and women that don’t fit the prototypical frame of what an adviser looks like or acts like, can do this,” he added. “I feel like by blazing this path, it does open up the doors for others.”
Hunter plans to one day open his own office with at least 15 young, diverse advisers who, in turn, will bring in other young, diverse advisers. “That’s the biggest goal behind my vision professionally — having a very diverse group of people that are impacting different communities rather than the same community over and over again,” he said.
As well as being a CFP, Hunter runs Northwestern’s internship program in Colorado Springs, bringing in those who can succeed in financial advising with the right tools, excellent mentorship and “someone to help them along the way.”
Others Hunter helps along the way: the football players he coaches at Fountain-Fort Carson High School. “Because it’s my old high school team, I can see so much of who I was,” he said, “and I know the impact that coaches have had in my life.”
The mentor he turned to most often was Colorado State University Pueblo Football Defensive Coordinator Donnell Leomiti. It was at CSU Pueblo that Hunter won a National Championship at the Division 2 level — but Leomiti, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in Hunter’s first season and passed away last year, stands out more in his memories.
“I feel like it’s very rare that you have those people where you really recognize it, and you tell them the impact that they’ve had,” Hunter said. “He led, he lived by example. ... I have so much more motivation around coaching because I feel like I’d be doing his legacy a disservice if I didn’t pass along the lessons I learned to other kids that I’m coaching.”
Volunteering and service — especially with Fostering Hope, the 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to supporting foster families — are front and center for Hunter. He joined service organizations initially, he said, to immerse himself in a community of goal-oriented professionals.
“Once I got involved, I realized how much I had to offer to these organizations,” he said, “and that fed the fire. When you work on things you’re passionate about, a natural outcome will be that you’re surrounded by other people that are like minded.
“I’ve seen how these organizations have a big impact on the communities I’m a part of, and the impact they have on people’s lives.”