Dymally was the first African-American to serve as Lieutenant Governor, the first to serve in the California Senate, and was an early mentee of the late Congressman Adam Clayton Powell. Dymally was a man of many firsts, and I will chronicle his career in a separate post, but most of all he was my friend. A dear and trusted friend. He was one of the few Black elected officials who embraced me and my work, fully, without reservation. He always wanted to know "how he could help." Oh how this was a rare offer or request of me during my first 10-15 years of founding and running Operation HOPE. But this was always his perspective.
The Honorable Mervyn Dymally was a true servant leader, and I was (and remain) honored to call him my friend.
I am so very glad that he and I found time, about 4 weeks ago, to share a long lunch together at the City Club on Bunker Hill in Downtown Los Angeles. Oh how the staff regarded him, and the general manager came out from his office to pay his respects, and to say "thank you" for all of Dymally's service to community.
On this day, this week, and this month — we should all "step outside" of ourselves for just a moment, to say "thank you" to this great man. Lt. Governor Mervyn Dymally was and remains an example of a true servant leader. He remains, my dear friend.
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 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.