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Navigating Between Math Equations and Musical Notes

The Toyota Camry inspires a drive like no other. Wider stance, sharper design, and intuitively-configured technology injects excitement into each drive, so you get the most out of every road. In partnership with Toyota Canada, we connected with inspiring Canadians who have unexpectedly captivating hobbies, illuminating the incredible synergies between career and hobby, and how they can inform and elevate one another.

Meet Andrew Forde, data strategist and violinist.

Perhaps it's not surprising that Andrew Forde has funded an award at the University of Toronto for polymaths—people with multiple skills. After all, Forde is quite the polymath himself.

After completing his master's degree in Engineering Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Forde helped launch start-ups and developed a technology platform to provide patient data to front-line hospital workers. He also worked as a management consultant for large firms. His area of expertise is helping organizations use data and complex algorithms to sort through innovative ideas and determine which are most worth pursuing.

While some kids grow up idolizing professional athletes and movie stars, Forde looked up to scholastic figures. "A lot of my heroes were scientists and mathematicians," he recalls. "I spent a lot of time reading about Einstein, Newton and Maxwell. A part of me always romanticize the idea of [being] the Smart Math Guy".

Before Forde made a career out of solving complex problems using data, his Caribbean-Canadian parents instilled a strong work ethic in him but also encouraged him to pursue all interests. "It was always, 'Do whatever you want to do. Just make sure that you're the best at it, eventually.'"

At age three, watching a performance of the New York Philharmonic with his dad, Forde became fascinated by the violin. His older sister even built a toy violin for him. After he carried it around like a security blanket for a year, his parents enrolled him in lessons and he was hooked.

When it was time for post-secondary education, he had to decide: math or music? He reasoned that he could always pursue music on the side while earning a more stable living as an engineer.

Forde sees both his music and his technology work as complementary passions that, together, keep him whole. And whether he is at his computer, working with corporate leaders or playing his violin, he is driven to help make the world a better place.

The legacy that I want to leave is that I did things that were meaningful and that improved the lives of people in some way.Andrew Forde

At first, the demanding workload made it impossible for him to keep up with music let alone his friends, but over time Forde found a healthy balance between work, hobby and social life.

That doesn't mean he hasn't continued to be incredibly busy. In his early 20s, he started the Andrew Forde Foundation. Among other projects, it funds the polymath award, given to an engineering student who balances diverse academic and non-academic activities with a commitment to the Afro-Caribbean community.

On top of all that, he continues to compose music on his violin. He has already recorded four solo albums and performed alongside today's biggest names in pop music.

"It's always amazing to have your work validated," he says, admitting some of his music idols are now friends who call him over for dinner.

Forde is currently working on his PhD in Industrial Engineering.

Find a hobby that unexpectedly captivates you, just like the 2019 Toyota Camry.

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