It is with great honor and personal privilege that I take a moment to salute one of my personal heroes in life. Mr. Steve Bartlett.
Steve is the former mayor of Dallas, Texas, the former US Congressman (two terms) from Texas, and most recently, the CEO of the prestigious FINANCIAL SERVICES ROUNDTABLE, based in Washington, DC.
Steve is best known for his fierce, professional, sophisticated and effective representation of the 100 largest financial companies in America, in Washington, DC and respect to their public policy positions, amongst policy makers. I know a different Steve Bartlett.
The man I know, on a more personal level, happens to be very spiritual and a believer, a committed social advocate, even donating his time on mission work in Africa when not working in Washington, DC. I know a man who would hang up one minute from a US congressman, and pick up the phone in the next, speaking with me about silver rights, and grassroots community change.
The man I know supported an effort for the FINANCIAL SERVICES ROUNDTABLE to raise $5 million to support our new HOPE Financial Dignity Center Atlanta, at Ebenezer Church (Dr. King's church, now pastored by friend Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock), and then led that said effort himself, raising $4 million of the $5 million needed with personal phone calls.*
The man I know would invite fellow CEOs of the nation's largest financial institutions to come by Ebenezer Church for Sunday service, to experience the energy of what were building directly, and then he would fly down to Atlanta, Georgia from Washington, D.C. during his weekend to attend that same Sunday service with us.
Others know Steve Bartlett the hard-nosed negotiator, the then sharp-edged representative of the interests of our nation's largest financial institutions, and the conservative, buttoned-down businessman. I know a different Steve Bartlett. This one leads with kindness, and always ends a conversation with a smile, a handshake and graciousness. The one I know also has a reputation for "showing up," in underserved communities across this nation, championing this generation's civil rights issue, financial literacy and financial dignity. We call it the silver rights movement here at Operation HOPE.
It is for these and so many more reasons that I and we take pride in presenting our friend Steve Bartlett with the distinguished HOPE Award, for leadership over and above the call of duty.
*Continuing and expanding on the legacy of financial literacy leadership in the community, I was very pleased to learn of the sustained commitment from incoming FSR CEO, Governor Tim Pawlenty, to help Steve Bartlett lead an effort to fulfill the remainder of the $5 million FSR pledge to Operation HOPE, for the HOPE Center Ebenezer. Now this is class, integrity, substance and leadership at the corporate level.
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. Mr. Bryant is a though leader represented by the Bright Sight Group for public speaking. Mr. Bryant serves on the board of directors of Ares Commercial Real Estate Corporation, an NYSE Euronext publicly traded company, and a division of $54 billion Ares Capital.