AFROTECH Conference is the largest tech conference for Black professionals in the nation. During this year’s convening on the Learning Lab Stage, Mastercard hosted an insightful session, Access Amplified: What it Takes to Drive Financial Access and Empowerment.

Featured speaker, John Hope Bryant, Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Operation HOPE, Inc , shared what it means to tap into the power of access and its role in driving financial inclusion for all.

The discussion, moderated by Executive Vice President of North America Services, at Mastercard, Les Matthews, explored the innovative strategies, technology, resources, and actions individuals can take to change their mindset, foster positive change in their communities and establish financial freedom.

While the conference is over, here are five gems dropped on stage to ensure you, too, can elevate your future.

Recognize The Moment

The murder of George Floyd caused many to pause and reflect on the inequities that exist in our nation. As a response more opportunities have been created for underserved communities to attempt to balance the scales. Leveraging these moments in history to utilize the resources at hand and connect with thought leaders and peers will be the catalyst to driving change.

“You’re sitting in a moment in history right now, but history does not feel historical when you’re sitting in it; it just feels like another day. But that doesn’t mean the moment is not historic, and if you don’t take full advantage of it, it will pass you,” Bryant said.

There Is Power In The Future Of Black Professionals

It is no secret that the tides of the racial majority have shifted. And because that dynamic is evolving, economic growth in America will largely depend on the plans and future of BIPOC technologists, entrepreneurs, and creatives.

“Forty percent of this country are you,” Bryant stated. “And then you add up all of the left behind groups, and it is literally the business plan for the rest of our lives. What we do in the next ten years, we’ll define the next 100. So I’m here to challenge you to think bigger, do more, dig deeper, and be the legacy you want to leave in this world.”

Getting To The Bag Is More Than A Large Bank Account

People often confuse wealth accumulation with having a large number in their checking and savings accounts. While liquid assets are essential, creating wealth is more than just cash on hand. It is a holistic makeup of diverse assets and investments.

“You make money during the day. You build wealth in your sleep,” Bryant described.

“Just because you have a lot of it doesn’t mean you’ll keep any of it, but you build wealth in your sleep: stocks, bonds, real estate. The biggest business in the world is real estate. There’s never been a millionaire that didn’t have real estate in their portfolio,” he continued.

Partnership Is A Cheat Code

Bryant and Operation Hope do fantastic work in the communities that they serve. One way that the work of the community is manifested is in partnership and collaboration.

“Relationship capital is your primary capital.” Said Bryant “We’re proud to be partners at Operation Hope with Mastercard. You guys [Mastercard] partner amongst a range of areas, one of which is the 1 Million Black Business Initiative,” a program that provides the Black community with a successful path to wealth creation through sustainable and profitable business ownership.  Since the launch of the partnership, Mastercard has been able to make an impact with 50K+ businesses already benefiting from SMB coaching and eCommerce digital services. 

Double Down On Decisions

One of the keys to success is being decided. Having a plan coupled with partnership and bold decision making  are important drivers. Investing in yourself and your passion takes intentionality.

“You have to invest in your best product, which is yourself. My first Mastercard was venture capital. It was relationship capital. It was access. It was an opportunity,” Bryant noted.

Mastercard is uplifting BIPOC communities through products, services and access to capital for small business owners. 

“With economic empowerment and wealth creation, we can change the dynamic and the narrative around race and other things that we struggle with as a country. So, we have to look at it bigger than just putting money in our pockets, although that’s part of it, but it’s going to change the dynamic of how we live,” Matthews noted of the intentional work Mastercard has done.

They are committed to amplifying the voices of those working to advance equity in their communities. 

Click here to learn more about Mastercard’s initiative to open doors for Black changemakers.