Earlier today Operation HOPE Atlanta Regional Office was honored to receive my friend and fellow YGL (Young Global Leader), Hon. Arthur Mutambara, Deputy Prime Minister for Zimbabwe, as he briefed a small, hand selected group of leaders from the region; on the current state of things in the country, and importantly, some of the future opportunities that may exist. The Deputy Prime Minister, who is a MIT educated engineer and businessman holding a Ph.D, did an excellent job outlining the countries' current state of affairs, as well as the future prospects for a Zimbabwe of the future. His description of leadership challenges, and opportunities, within the country were particularly compelling to the assembled group, and seemed to ring true. Impressively, my friend Mutambara seemed to understand well something that my pastor and spiritual father, Reverend Dr. Cecil "Chip" Murray told me some time ago; "talk without being offensive. Listen without being defensive, and always leave even your adversary with their dignity. Because if you don't they will spend their lives trying to make you miserable." Over mess, and not in it, seems to be my friends motto.
Participants included Atlanta City Council President Cesar Mitchell, Atlanta entrepreneur and philanthropist Tommy Dortch, Jack Markwalter, Jr, chairman and CEO of Atlantic Trust Private Wealth Management, a leading private wealth and asset management company with more than $17 billion under management (and my friend), and Ms. Natasha L. Foreman, a small business owner, Ph.D student, Africa specialist, and an active HOPE Corps volunteer in Atlanta schools.
Later in the day Mutambara met privately with HOPE Global Spokesman and my personal hero, civil rights icon Ambassador Andrew Young.
A great day all around. Much to be done, but much of it begins with a relationship, knowledge and understanding.
John Hope Bryant is founder, chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE, bestselling author of LOVE LEADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass), and a member of the U.S. President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability for President Barack Obama