The OECD 50th Anniversary Forum was very good this week, and maybe their best annual meeting yet (in which I have attended), and I particularly enjoyed the interactive “Getting Ready for the Jobs of Tomorrow” brainstorm session, where we were able to work in groups, and to get down to the level of the individual. Because that is where the abstract notion of ‘skills’ really begins to matter. It’s not just about ‘skills for jobs’, it’s about ‘skills for an empowered life’ – including financial literacy, self-confidence and an entrepreneurial spirit.
And it is in this way, of course respecting the mostly government to government interface mission of OECD, that I would like to push the organizers to go a bit further in their planning. As with all high-level forums such as this, with this level of senior leader engagement, it is expected that there must be a certain level of decorum and what I would call steady, analytical left brain thinking. That said, we must all be careful not to venture too far into the analytical so that we forget we are ultimately talking about people, the citizens of the OECD member and non-member economies, that live with the outcomes we discuss. And so, our approach must always be practical, focused not just on what we at Operation HOPE call the “Ph.D argument,” but the “Ph.Do outcomes” too.
It is for this reason that I am always honored to be invited to OECD meetings, and I try always to respond and participate.
Because what you do matters.
Because I believe you invite me and Operation HOPE, in part, because of our on-the-ground impact with real people, and real communities, in real time (more than 1.5 million low wealth people served, more than 14,700 HOPE Corps volunteers, 5,000 partners from government, community and the private, the largest urban delivery system for financial literacy empowerment in the U.S., and several other countries, and having directed more than $1 billion in lending and investment capital in under-served neighborhoods since our founding 19 years ago.
Because we bring, maybe, a unique and fresh perspective.
Because we always have a way for OECD members to “ do something.” Even today, OECD supported Operation HOPE as we formally introduced into the OECD member country community our new Wikia-HOPE Global Money Initiative (www.globalmoney.wikia.com), which is the world’s first international financial literacy empowerment curriculum, free and online. It is our strong hope that several new Wikia-HOPE country rollouts will happen, because we made strong relationships here at the OECD Forum. After all, life is about relationships, and OECD helps to “reconnect our fractured world.”
And so, while there is much more I believe OECD can and will do, including always ensuring a level of “practicality and engagement” around all of its work, let me end by saying this also; “I like what you are doing, much more than what others are not doing, to make our world a better place.”
John Hope Bryant
Founder, Chairman & CEO, Operation HOPE
Founder, Chairman & CEO, Bryant Group Companies, Inc.
Member, U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability