FRONTIERS NORTH ADVENTURES
John Gunter graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) in 2001. He majored in Management Information Systems.
John is president and CEO of Frontiers North Adventures. The company specializes in offering expert-guided travel adventures introducing people from around the world to Canada’s breathtaking natural landscapes and wildlife – from beluga whales in the subarctic to up-close encounters with polar bears under the aurora-drenched skies of Churchill, Manitoba. Frontiers North Adventures employees around 20 full-time staff year round; another 65 join the company seasonally.Under his leadership, Frontiers North Adventures has continued to reduce the environmental footprint of its operations. The company works closely with local communities to ensure the company is giving back as much as it takes, or more. Frontiers North even ran a recycling program in Churchill for five years before the city started its own.
Path to Success
After graduating from the Asper School, John spent a few years in the IT sector before venturing into Frontiers North, a family business started by his parents in the 1980s. He worked his way through all areas of the company and took the helm in 2014. When he started in 2002, his first tasks included formalizing and reorganizing the organizational structure and identifying the company’s core values. For an organization that operates in three seasonal cycles throughout the year, each with its own startup and shutdown period, John and his team must continually refine job functions and operational processes. He also focuses on building strategic partnership with renowned brands like the Hudson’s Bay Company, Canada Goose Inc. and National Geographic to elevate Frontiers North’s visibility. This past year the company garnered media exposure in a new category, food tourism, thanks to an innovative partnership with Parks Canada and the creators of Winnipeg’s RAW:almond pop-up restaurant. In March 2016, the partnership launched RAW:churchill, a culinary and adventure pilot project beneath the northern lights, on the exact same spot that the women and men of the Hudson's Bay Company would have sat more than 250 years ago.
Tips for Success
Find a good mentor, John says. “For a decade he and I worked side-by-side on many different projects. I learned a lot — I practically got my MBA from this guy. He challenged me. He wasn’t a cheerleader. He was there to push me and teach me how to make tough decisions.” As well, considering how much his job involves marketing Frontiers North Adventures in overseas markets, John wishes along the way that he’d learned another language and participated in Asper’s International Exchange program while a student — “not just for the language skills, but the personal growth.”
Visit frontiersnorth.com to learn more!