Trinbagonian athlete development expert hops aboard the Canadian physical literacy train

Kabir Hosein had to make a big move.

The Trinbagonian athlete development expert had reached a point in his career where he was faced with a difficult choice: remain in his position as the chief administrative officer for Trinidad and Tobago’s track and field program, or enter into the world of politics. His wife was in a similar position, both of them ambitious self-starters in the world of sports, but opportunities for upward movement were scarce. So they started looking for a third option outside the Caribbean.

That’s when Hosein discovered a job posting to become the Senior Manager of Operations at Sport for Life. Having crossed paths with CEO Richard Way while implementing his country’s Long-Term Athlete Development framework, he was already familiar with the physical literacy and quality sport ideals being mobilized by the Canadian non-profit. As Senior Manager of Operations, he could continue the type of work he was already familiar with but in a radically new environment. Along with his wife Kecia Hosein and four kids: Kai, Kardian, Kameelah and Kadira (all “K’s”), he made the decision to take the position and fly his family north of the 49th parallel. 

Having trained and competed at the national level as a shot put, discus and javelin athlete before advancing to coaching and then administrative work, Hosein has discovered he can be most impactful from behind the scenes. It’s from there he can streamline operations and introduce best practices, making changes that ultimately affect an exponential number of athletes and participants. When he first started out in his career, he immediately identified ways he believed the Trinbagonian system needed to improve to adhere to long-term development and  quality sport principles.

“Being a former athlete, I was able to see that many of the challenges we had in the 90s hadn’t really changed, and if anything were even more difficult. I was able to look at those gaps, bringing a professional lens to look through, and we were able to integrate simple and effective policies and work flow systems,” he said.

“The public saw the effects and applauded the front-line, but they didn’t even realize the work that had occurred behind the scenes.”

And that’s okay with Hosein. He isn’t in the physical literacy business for accolades; he wants to see real tangible results in the lives of people from across the entire spectrum of society. By making sure things are running smoothly behind the scenes, he’s maintaining the platform necessary for athletes to excel and for physical literacy initiatives to advance worldwide. 

“At the end of the day, it’s about the athletes. If they’re doing well it’s because of the work we did in the office. And when the athletes aren’t doing well, we also have to accept the responsibility. Our failures and our lack of applying ourselves resulted in them not living up to their potential,” he said.

He’s taking that same attitude into the work he does with Sport for Life, whether it’s in the sports sector or in some of the fields we’re expanding into -- including public health, education and recreation. When bringing him on board, Director of Operations Andrea Carey loved his unique vision for how the company could flourish. After developing a resource called Sport for Life for all Newcomers to Canada, and working extensively to welcome an include newcomers, the commitment to newcomer inclusion for the diversity of the staff team was an important next step. 

“It was really Kabir’s vision of the future that really convinced us he was the perfect fit for our team. He brings a unique background of insurance expertise, experience with organizing a national sport organization, and a familiarity with long-term development and physical literacy. We’re looking forward to how he will bring perspectives from a different country to help keep us fresh,” she said.

“Now that we’ve done the hard work of luring him north, we’re planning to keep him busy.”

That’s something Hosein welcomes. 

“I’m still trying to understand the full scope of Sport for Life and the work we do, but I know we’ll be building on what we’ve already established. We will be making meaningful and impactful contributions within the national sport organizations, while we’ll continue to diversify and leverage our current assets to create a sustainable stream that can take the company forward,” he said.

“The work we do will have an impact not only on the Canadian scale, but can also be used as a template for this work world-wide.”

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