It feels like Sun Trust week or something, but leadership is leadership, period. My relationship with the bank began with my friend J. Scott Wilfong, who is the chairman and CEO of Sun Trust Bank, Mid-Atlantic States. Scott took a hard look at Operation HOPE, and ultimately decided to make a modest but important investment in our HOPE Financial Literacy Empowerment Center, Washington, D.C.-Anacostia. He also joined our HOPE Mid-Altantic Regional Board and got many of his employees engaged as HOPE Corps volunteers in the classrooms in South East, Washington, DC. But Scott didn't stop there; within months he had invited me to speak to a group of mostly African-American leaders in Baltimore, seeking to take their communities back. The room was packed.
Later, he flew with me to Atlanta, to meet with executives of his home office. None of this, did Scott have to do. Today, Sun Trust is a major founding partner in our HOPE Center, Ebenezer in Atlanta, Georgia, and their CEO Jim Wells serves on our national board. This all started with Scott, a good man.
And as if this was not enough, Scott recently moved his family to Baltimore, and wanted to see more of a change in the place he calls home. Within the last few weeks, Scott has agreed to become the Board Leadership Chair for Operation HOPE, Baltimore, driving a sense of excellence and enhanced on-the-ground performance there.
Really, what more could you ask for? Accordingly, I was honored to recently stop by his office to present him with the Chairman's HOPE Award for extraordinary leadership in 2010.
Onward with HOPE
John Hope Bryant