John, thank you for the honor of coming onboard the Operation HOPE team to serve as the Five Million Kids (5MK) program manager. I never would have discovered this opportunity had the Honorable Congressman Elijah Cummings not invited me to his “From Men to Boys” forum at the September 2009 Congressional Black Caucus where you were one of the featured panelists. Since you were mobbed after you wrapped up your session, I waited amidst the excitement and wondered if I would get the opportunity to meet you to talk about joining Operation HOPE. I struck up a conversation with George Collins about my interest in Operation HOPE. (George was a stranger to me then but is now a dear friend). He brought up Martin Luther King’s speech on “The Drum Major Instinct” and the biblical story of disciples James and John in Mark 10:35-45 upon which it is based. James and John were the only two disciples who asked Jesus directly for what they most desired, and before George left he said, “You have no chance to get what you do not ask for.”
Once the crowd dispersed you came over near where I was standing to greet the congressman’s Chief of Staff Vernon Simms. You greeted me first and asked me about myself and what I was doing in the DC area. At the time I was a consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton in McLean, VA. You asked me what I was passionate about and what I really wanted to do. I replied, “I want to help you do what you do.” Three and a half months later on Friday, Jan 8th, after multiple interviews and conversations with several members of your senior leadership team I was offered the opportunity to join Operation HOPE as the new 5MK program manager. I accepted the offer on Jan 11th, left Booz Allen Hamilton on Jan 22nd, and flew to Los Angeles, CA on Jan 25th to attend Operation HOPE’s global organizational summit. If opportunity is the intersection of passion and purpose then I have stepped into mine.
In your words, “Let’s go.”
Jonathan McCoy can be reached at email@example.com