Thanks to all who joined last week's InSTEP conversation with NBA legend and international entrepreneur Isiah Thomas, moderated by Myron Brilliant, Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs at the U.S. Chamber. It was a wide ranging conversation about Isiah’s rise from abject poverty on the West Side of Chicago, to being a stand-out star at Indiana University where he was driven hard by Coach Bobby Knight, to becoming a true living legend in pro basketball, followed by his very successful foray into the international business world. Isiah emphasized the signal importance of teamwork, connectivity and friendship in all his endeavors. The interview recording is available here
As he put it, winning is about what happens off the court, when the fans have left and the cameras are off. He also offered trenchant insights on several issues that are front and center today, including vaccine mandates, climate change, and inequality of opportunity for people of color. On vaccine mandates, he acknowledged the tough balance between individual rights and the larger concern about peoples’ safety. On climate, he spoke about transforming industries - and peoples’ lives - through One World Pharma, his industrial hemp and cannabis business in Colombia, by helping companies reduce their plastic use and carbon emissions. On race, he talked about very real barriers he’s encountered as a black business entrepreneur in the U.S. and said there is much work to do to “eliminate the race box.” Perhaps the message that struck us the most: Isiah’s observation that we have lost the collective will and effort as Americans to compete globally and that we as individuals have an obligation to do better for the greater good. Through his business acumen and philanthropic endeavors, Isiah has created opportunities for so many to thrive. His commitment to caring about others is something for us to emulate. I hope you found the interview as compelling as I did.
And please save the date for our conversation about geopolitics with two foreign policy experts: Fiona Hill, author of the recently released book, “There is Nothing for You Here,” and Mara Rudman, Executive Vice President for Policy at the Center for American Progress on Wednesday, November 10 at 4:00pm ET. Register for next week’s InSTEP by clicking here
Senior Vice President, European Affairs
U.S. Chamber of Commerce