Today I had the pleasure of having breakfast and spending some quality time with a new friend, Mr. Orlando Lynch, who is president and owner of Atlanta Peach Movers and Peace Worldwide Movers, here in my home city.
Orlando built a moving business out of a casual encounter with a local moving company doing work for him. He offered to purchase that man's small company, worked alongside the owner for weeks to learn the business, and soon purchased a second company. Before long, Orlando had 40 trucks and over 100 employees -- and a reputation for excellence. Orlando is now growing his company nationwide.
During our meeting, Orlando shared some of his lessons learned from his parents growing up. One of them was a financial dignity lesson that he now shares with each of his employees. Orlando tells each, "learn the three S's -- Save a little, Spend a little, and Share a little." I agree with Orlando here.
He also noted that when he was coming up, he noticed a difference between himself and other kids in the neighborhood. Actually, a teacher noticed. The teacher noted that Orlando was obviously loved, because even his t-shirt had pressed creases in them. Who presses and creases a t-shirt? That's nothing but love, and it looks like it has paid off 100 times over. I am also pleased to note that Orlando and his businesses make "giving back" a permanent and ongoing part of their business.
Growing ideas into thriving local small businesses, like Orlando's, has to be what American cities are increasingly all about as we move through this "reset" economy.
When I think about Orlando's business, I also think about the recent findings from our Gallup-HOPE Index, which measures the financial literacy and economic energy of young people. If a nationwide poll reveals that only 5% of America's youth have a business internship or role model, then just imagine what the number is for minority and under-served youth and neighborhoods? Imagine the power of Orlando's company hiring a couple youth as business interns right out of school. Imagine if every business in Atlanta, and your city, did precisely that. The high-school drop out rate would just disappear.
You can see the full Gallup-HOPE Index results here. You will be hearing much more about how the Index can and will make a difference in cities in the weeks and months to come. But for now, hats off and kudos to my friend Orlando Lynch -- who is doing his part.
John Hope Bryant is a thought leader, founder, chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE and Bryant Group Companies, Inc. Magazine/CEO READ bestselling business author of LOVE LEADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass) the only African-American bestselling business author in America, and a Member of the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability for President Barack Obama. Mr. Bryant is a co-founder of Global Dignity with HRH Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and Professor Pekka Himanen of Finland. Global Dignity is affiliated with the Forum of Young Global Leaders and the World Economic Forum.