I first heard of young AJ Wurie (known as AJ for those who know him) from my good friend Jim Clifton, chairman and CEO of Gallup. Jim had taken him under his wing, but not as a traditional mentor who would spend time with young AJ in the park, or a local museum might. Jim Clifton talked to young AJ about his business, about his job, and about a future job that might exist for AJ someday, with hard work, education, and his own aspiration.
I will tell the full AJ story later, but let's just say that Jim's approach worked wonders. AJ's grades improved significantly, and without anyone lecturing him about improving his grades.
I first met young AJ at Gallup, where he was doing an internship, working on real projects. His reports from his supervisors were strong, and young AJ even approached me with the handshake of a young leader in the making. He knew what he wanted in life. He wanted to be successful, and he now saw his education, a focus on his studies, hard work and a potential future career at Gallup -- as the way to get there. Good choice young AJ. Good choice.
I recently received a note from AJ, who together with his mother were on vacation -- reading their copy of Love Leadership. He had questions for me. Hard questions, for me to answer. AJ's final question for me, was when could he now become an intern for Operation HOPE (smile).
Jim Clifton lit this young man's pilot light of hope, and nothing now it seems, can put it out.
More news on young AJ, and what we are soon focused on, to create a generation just like him. Stay tuned.
Onward with HOPE
John Hope Bryant