Bill Rogers is a great American. Not because he is chairman and CEO of one of the dozen or so largest financial companies in America, and one that even gives back, nor because his bank was the founding supporting bank for the Coca-Cola Company more than 100 years ago. Bill Rogers is a great American because he leads and shows up, particularly when he doesn't have too.
As I have written before, and was picked up by the banking industry standard, the American Banker Newspaper late last year, Bill Rogers has a habit of not only producing impressive corporate results for the company, and leading his troops with discipline and focus — but he also has a habit of caring for community. Bill is passionate about financial literacy, and as such as really pushed the issue amongst his corporate C-Suite peers, including a recent speech before the Rotary Club, and personal meetings he has arranged and attended with me amongst Atlanta's business elite.
When former chairman and CEO Jim Wells led a $1 million commitment to our now operational HOPE Financial Dignity Center Atlanta, at Ebenezer, Bill didn't come on board and say "that was then, this is now," he said "what else can we do to build on this smart investment and solid foundation." And that is precisely what he has done since. Build.
Frankly, I am not sure we would have the momentum that we now do, around both the HOPE Financial Dignity Center Atlanta at Ebenezer, or the HOPE Global Financial Dignity Summit, without the leadership, passion and commitment of one Bill Rogers.
On the eve of Dr. King's birthday recognition, I reflect on the ongoing challenge of eradicating poverty and empowering people. And if there is going to be a movement from civil rights to silver rights, and a movement from winning in the streets, to winning now in the suites, it will require the heart, mind, credibility and support of leaders like Bill Rogers. For this and many other reasons, I and we salute him.
Bill Rogers is a great American, and a corporate leader for our time, and that is why we present him with the HOPE Award for outstanding corporate leadership in the community.
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.