This is precisely why Jim Clifton is one of my corporate heroes. The world knows Jim Clifton as chairman and chief executive officer of the Gallup Organization, but I know him as the man who quietly supports a number of HBCU's (Historically Black Colleges & Universities), who chairs the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund, who innovated the Gallup-HOPE Index, which I believe will change our world by impacting an entire generation of young people, 4th grade through 12th grade in America. But I also know Jim Clifton as a corporate mentor and business role model to first young A.J. Wurie, and now Rashaan Mateen. And what a role model Rashaan has in Jim.
I once asked Jim why he cares so much about Black and White relations, and his answer was classic. "I really don't," he said, "I just want to make America better." Wrapped in that statement, is everything you or anyone else needs to know about my friend Jim Clifton. And now, Jim is pouring all the knowledge and wisdom (and confidence building) he has into young Rashaan. I can already see the impact.
Rashaan is much more than the mentee of Jim Cliftton, or a business intern at Gallup in Washington, D.C. Rashaan is destined for greatness. Because of his mother, whom I have never met but just like A.J., gave him the tools, confidence and self-love (and dreams) he will need to be a success in this life. Rashaan loved finance class in high school, and now at 18 years old he is sure of one thing — he wants to be a businessman. He is willing to do the work, make the sacrifice and learn the lessons, but most of all he is passionate and on fire with the dream and will to succeed. Rashaan inspired me when I met him in the Gallup, Washington, D.C. offices this week.
Rashaan is working at Gallup, and will soon support the Gallup-HOPE Index. I am honored to call Rashaan a new friend to HOPE, and me. He gives me hope for our future. As I said to Rashaan when we met, "Rashaan, the only person that can hurt you is you — and you are not about to do that."
Onward and with HOPE. Let's go.
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 is chairman of the Subcommittee for the Under-Served and Community Empowerment for the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability, for President Barack Obama. Mr. Bryant is the co-founder of the Gallup-HOPE Index, the only national research poll on youth financial dignity and youth economic energy in the U.S. He is also 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.