I am honored to be here at the annual meeting of my new YPO (Young President’s Organization) family in Sea Island, Georgia, where former U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson is now speaking before YPO members from seven states. I was honored to take a public moment, to thank him today.

I thanked Secretary Paulson for responding to my passionate request in April, 2007, encouraged yes by then President George W. Bush, but requiring his leadership, to make financial literacy federal policy in the United States. It is today, and made so in January, 2008, because this man gave it his blessings, after more than a year of dogged work by his team at the Treasury Department.

I first interacted directly with Secretary Paulson in a first ever Cabinet meeting in the White House, focused around financial literacy (and organized in response to Operation HOPE’s request) with every member of then President’s Cabinet, with the exception of the Secretary of State and Defense.

Deeply honored that President Barack Obama, whom I am proud to serve today, decided to continue this push around financial literacy at the Presidential level, and even amplified it with the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability, where I am honored to serve him and his Administration.

This said, it is quite possible that financial literacy at the federal level would not be where it is today, if not for Secretary Paulson taking me seriously back in April, 2007. Thank you sir.

John Hope Bryant is a thought leader, the founder, chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE and Bryant Group Companies, Inc., author of Inc. Magazine/CEO READ bestselling business book LOVE LEADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass), and a Member of the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability.

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