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15893710691_53f01bf6ad_kJohn Hope Bryant knows a lot about empowerment leadership. He has used its principles to lift himself out of an environment of psychological and financial poverty in South Los Angeles and Compton, California, where he grew up.

Bryant used empowerment leadership to create his first business at age 10, putting the local liquor store out of the candy business. Later, he used the same principles to slowly rescue himself from the situation of homelessness he found himself in at age 18. By 19, Bryant was running a newly created division of a merchant banking firm, growing it from zero to $24 million in revenue by age 25, when he purchased his employer for the equivalent of his retained earnings.  At the age of 26, in the backdrop of the worst urban riot in U.S. history (the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles), Bryant created Operation HOPE– America’s first non-profit investment banking, venture capitalist, and private banker to the poor, the under served and the struggling middle class.

Today, Operation HOPE (HOPE) has served more than 2M clients, directed close to 2B in private and public resources to underserved communities, raised credit scores an average of 120 points per case management client, has recruited more than 20,000 HOPE Corps volunteers, has approximately 5,000 partners from government, community and the private sector, and serves 300 cities in the U.S., 7 provinces in South Africa, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and a recent agreement to assist in the UAE.  In 2008, it was HOPE’s leading edge work on the ground that inspired then President Bush to issue an executive order making financial literacy U.S. federal policy for the first time in U.S. history. As John Hope Bryant often is heard saying,

“This was my civil rights bill, just focused on silver rights empowerment for all instead.”

Today, Bryant believes that the new definition of freedom for his generation is “self-determination,” and you cannot have self-determination without empowering yourself to create a sustainably changed environment in your life. Bryant is the empowerment leader for our time because he has lived through and personally experienced each of the successful life lessons he now shares with others. He has spent his entire life better understanding the human person and human spirit ‘as product,’ and in so doing he has become an expert on what he now calls,

“The new software of human development.”

Bryant actually describes Operation HOPE today as a nonprofit software company, inasmuch as what they do is more about the re-engineering, re-positioning, and ultimately the empowering of untapped or wasted human potential than anything associated with traditional brick and mortar product delivery. Most noted public speakers are not also active, real-time CEOs in a successful enterprise. Such is actually the case for John Hope Bryant. He is sharing what he knows, and teaching what he actually does. He is revealing how he lives his own life, and what he practices, everyday, as active life principles.


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