April 28 2015
The 2015 HOPE Global Forum Experience: A Break from the Ordinary into the Remarkable
In January, I took a trip down to Atlanta. I was excited about the trip, but the truth was that I didn’t really know what to expect from my visit.
A friend of mine had told me that, if I wanted to network with like minded individuals who are passionate about bringing financial literacy into their communities, I should go to attend the HOPE Global Forum.
I had never heard of HOPE before. Slightly weary at the suggestion, I asked my friend, “How much does it cost?” In a rather casual manner, he responded “Oh, you just need to pay a membership fee of about $1000.” The number struck me as high, “What? Really? I have to think about it” I told him before moving the conversation on to another topic.
The notion continued to rattle in my head. On my way home, I continued to contemplate whether or not I should pay to attend the conference.
In the end, my reflection was a short one. A mentor once told me that insanity is to keep doing the same thing while expecting different results. For so long, my methods of reaching out to my own community had been through one-on-one, individual attention. Through this personal contact, I hope to educate my neighbors on the importance of saving for the future, preparing for college and having good tax strategies.
Maybe, though, it was time to try something different. Perhaps it was time to reach out to others, to learn from their experiences and to leverage their passion to help people in my community.
It was settled. I would head to Atlanta.
At the Conference, there was an amazing array of speakers, from President Bill Clinton, to CEOs, to mayors, to philanthropists. Beyond the key note sessions, there were numerous break-out sessions. The topics ranged from entrepreneurship, to financial recovery, to community development. The content was clear, engaging and insightful.
Though the talks were impressive, in a lot of ways, this conference operated like any other conference. What truly made it a remarkable experience was the atmosphere and the energy. The smiles, the feeling of togetherness – the notion of being united around the goal of making the world a better place and of creating financial opportunity for everyone.
Everyone was overflowing with passion, deeply involved in a cause. Starting foundations, leading educational initiatives or running nonprofit organizations, everyone was hard at work for their community, putting their hearts into improving the financial future of our country.
I learned a great deal from these people. I left the Conference with new strategies and clearer direction.
Most importantly, I was reminded that, by working together, we are far greater than the sum of our parts. Together, there is so much more we can do.
And I know I will come together with these people again for the 2016 Conference.
Suzanna Lam CPA, MST