Recently I was honored to return to Birmingham, Alabama as a guest of Mayor William Bell, Grayson Hall, chairman and CEO of Regions Bank, the only Fortune 500 company based in Alabama, and Johnny Johns, the chairman and CEO of Protective Life Insurance Company.
A beautiful evening, comprised of a broad cross section of leaders and leadership from throughout greater Birmingham. An evening and a conversation between the mayor and myself that focused more on the unchartered future of and for Birmingham, Alabama, rather than the well traveled history of this important American city.
We all know about the civil rights history, but what has yet been written, is the silver rights empowerment agenda which lies just over the horizon.
The local government is doing its part, and the people in the community definitely want progress, and the private sector is operating and open, and at the same time idling on the sidelines of next-stage, bottoms-up economic growth — but there is an incredient missing to all of this. The proud and dignity rich people of Birmingham, Alabama never actually got The Memo. Said plainly, how the free enterprise and capitalist system 'works.'
It's not like they got The Memo and screwed it up. They never got The Memo.
This event was about delivering that Memo, contained in my new bestselling book, How The Poor Can Save Capitalism: Rebuilding the Path to the Middle Class, and it also marked the formal public rollout of HOPE Inside in our first Regions Bank branch in Birmingham, as part of the national rollout of Project 5117, through year 2020.
My vision for Birmingham, Alabama is nothing short of 20 HOPE Inside locations, and double that amount of HOPE Business In A Box Academies in public schools, which in turn has a real shot at embedding a critically new culture of aspiration, organized and focused economic energy, and business and entrepreneurship success in greater Birmingham.
This partnership starts with Regions Bank and Protective Life Insurance Company, but in weeks and months to come must significantly expand to include many more stakeholders throughout the city.
Tthis event was not a mere event, nor a simple book conversation and signing. It was the beginning of a critical, regionwide conversation with leaders. A series of fireside chats, amongst government, community and the private sector, that has the potential of sparking an entirely new movement. A movement of economic prosperity, and aspiration for all.
A very special thank you goes out to Rick Swagler, EVP for Regions Bank, who co-chairs of new Operation HOPE, Alabama board with Art Faulkner, who is emergency manager for the State of Alabama, Ms. Lajuana Bradford, SVP of Regions Bank, and the support teams from Mayor Bell's office, Regions Bank and Protective Life Insurance Company.
Get The new bestselling book, How The Poor Can Save Capitalism, here.
Watch the 4-minute movie on How The Poor Can Save Capitalism here.