(spoiler: read to the bottom for a discount code)

We’re nearing the end of a busy conference season, but a unique and quite special late May event remains on the docket- especially for those in the Atlanta area. I attended (and spoke at) my first HOPE Global Forum last spring, and it delivered the most remarkable blend of content, star power and inspiration I have ever experienced. The 2019 edition, May 29-31 in downtown Atlanta, is poised to up the ante on all three dimensions.

Operation HOPE’s stated mission is to advance financial dignity and inclusion by equipping young people and adults with the financial tools and education necessary to secure a better future. Founded in 1992, one of its high profile initiatives is the HOPE Inside program that places no-fee financial counselors into bank branches and workplace settings.

Among the measurable outcomes HOPE aims to influence is an increase in “700 Credit Score Communities” across the nation, thereby fostering access to credit, opportunity and upward mobility. HOPE reports that 72% of HOPE Inside clients see a FICO score increase, and 25% achieve a 700+ FICO score within six months of participation.

The HOPE Global Forum doubles as the organization’s annual meeting- its headquarters relocated to Atlanta from Los Angeles a couple of years back. This year’s speakers include several CEOs: Jack Dorsey of Square and Twitter; Delta’s Ed Bastian; UPS’s David Abney; and BB&T’s Kelly King. Departing SunTrust CFO Allison Dukes is also on the agenda; SunTrust is a longtime HOPE partner, and the community impact of the SunTrust/BB&T merger is certain to be a topic of discussion.

American Airlines’ iconic former CEO Robert Crandall will set the tone with opening remarks on “Why Inequality Matters and What to Do About it.” Adding to the dialogue will be Andrew Young, Bernice King, Atlanta Fed president Raphael Bostic and the heads of the OCC and FDIC. Did I mention this event has star power?

On the media side, Tom Brokaw, NY Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin and MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle are also scheduled to appear, and CNBC’s Squawk Box morning program will be on site.

The role fintech can play in advancing financial inclusion received added focus in a newly created track of workshops and panel discussions featuring local players like Steady, First Data, edea, and TAG Innovation Challenge standouts Qoins and CapWay. Art Recesso, the University System of Georgia’s Chief Innovation Officer, will also discuss efforts to extend inclusion to expanding the next generation of the fintech workforce. You can find more details on the fintech track here: https://hopeglobalforums.org/fintech-accelerator/.

Hopefully by now I’ve convinced you the HOPE Global Forum is worth your time. If you need an added inducement, use code “OH19VIPD” for 50% off the registration fee at https://hopeglobalforums.org/.

The Forum begins with a reception Wednesday evening May 29 at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Atlanta. Thursday features a jam-packed day of content – again at the Hyatt – which continues through Friday morning. I hope to see you there.

You can hear my interview with Operation HOPE President Anita Ward prior to last year’s Forum here: https://bigcu.libsyn.com/banking-on-hope.