(Stacey Bryant is pictured here center, amongst friends and Pink Ladder supporters)
When a friend hurts, I hurt with them. Such is the case in the recent passing of a special soul; Ms. Stacey Bryant. Stacey Bryant (no relation to me, but of course, I would have been honored by the association, based on what I have subsequently learned about her life and her gentle, loving and giving spirit) was a former top executive with First American Corporation in Southern California, and even more impressive to me, the founder of Pink Ladder, a nonprofit focused on empowering women.
My dear friend in question is Mrs. Tawnia Taylor, wife of HOPE associated (and my friend and brother) Landon Taylor. Tawnia lost her dear friend earlier this month to a tragic death in Southern California, and when I heard about it, it felt like it was my loss also on some level. I hurt right along with her, but what can you say to a friend, really, in times like these? I love you, and I am with you, helps I believe. I also wanted to make sure that the world knew about the "good works," good heart, and it appears, the incredible spirit of one Stacey Bryant. This is my modest contribution in that regard.
Here are a few words, directly from my friend Tawnia, about her friend Stacey:
"…I loved her and her spirit so much. She inspired everyone that she came in contact with. If you talked with her any length of time she would know your dreams and goals, and right on the spot, place a call or text to make the connection for you; so that you had the opportunity to achieve what you desired! She challenged me to get out on the golf course and play with the big boys, even though I didn't know how to play, and then made me speak at one of our (Pink Ladder) conferences. I was so terrified (to speak), but she cheered me on, and three years later I have grown so much in my (previous) fear of public speaking, thanks to her."
What I believe my friend Tawnia was trying describe is that Stacey Bryant was a giver, and a Love Leader too. If "courage is nothing more than your faith reaching through your fear, displaying itself as action in your life," then it appears that Stacey Bryant indeed lived a life of courageous love, and encouraged others to do the same. Based on what I know about her now, I can say that Ms. Stacey Bryant was indeed a "Love Leader," and more importantly, she "has been promoted; gone on, to a better place.
Too soon gone, yes, but her footsteps, footprints, and soul-to-life impressions are everywhere she touched. A special thank you to UCLA for the memorial fellowship they have created in her honor, as well as her colleagues at First American Corporation, who honored her recently by hosting her memorial service. Ms. Stacey Bryant's legacy lives on, in part through all the "Pink Ladders" she built for others. Stacey Bryant was a Ladder Builder, and not just a Ladder Climber.
If you love someone, tell them today. Tomorrow is promised to no one.
Onward with HOPE
John Hope Bryant is founder of Operation HOPE, and author of LOVE LEADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World