By Saudia Durant
Bradley & BradleyAssociates, Inc., is a commercial, property, and risk management firm based in Philadelphia, PA.whichhas been in existence for 25 years. “We strive to motivate our community to be self-sustaining and entrepreneurial. To make an impact on poverty it’s going to have to be from us controlling our destiny. When we are in control of commerce, goods and services, thenwe can have more input into what’s going on in our area,” said CEO, Steven Scott Bradley.
Before his company began in 2001, Bradley served as both president and vice president of sales and marketing of one of the oldest and largest minority brokerage firms in the U.S., Watlington & Cooper, Inc.
One of seven children, Bradley witnessed the legacy of strong, hard-workingBlack women, being raised by his mother, along with his grandmother,who laid a strong foundational example for advocacy, leadership, and organizing in their community.
Mr. Bradley hasestablished a deep commitment to connecting with his community and promoting resources that would bring people better social and economic opportunities.
“I grew up in a church and was always an advocate for taking the ministry out to the homeless, to the schools, and making sure we were making an impact in the community. That’s part of my legacy.”
Fast forward 30+ years and Bradley still is challenging himself to restore faith in folks by helping give opportunities to underutilized Black business owners.
“It’s about persistence. You’ve got to set some goals and some dreams and go for it. But if you think just because you got this degree people will knock down your doors, it’s not going to happen.
“I’ve been doing this work for 30 years I’ve been on my own for 18 years. It is about constantly demonstrating qualifications and skills, saying this is what I can bring to this table. You can come out from Wharton or Drexel with 4.0 but if you don’t have anyone to bring you in, you will never get in the business.”
While Bradley attributes his booming business to his proactive, persistent pursuit of opportunities, it has been anything but an overnight success story.
“You have a license, then you have to have continuing education or do self-study or take classes. I like classes, so I can meet prospective employees and new executives I’d like to know who’s in the industry. Just six months ago, I was in a class with 100 people and only three minorities. Andit was like this 30 years ago.”
As discouraging of the consistent lack of diversity in the industry can be, he does not allow this to deter him, seeking to pull more people of color into his work. “I always bring in young interns to expose them to the business.”
As Chairman of the African American Chamber of Commerce(AACC) for PA, NJ and DE, he works with a board that seeks to revitalize communities to fulfilling the systemic void in opportunities for sustenance and ownership — rather than just for survival and dependence. He believes that there is a way to create the infrastructure necessary to rid the African-American community of poverty, failing education, and the subsequent social issues that follow.
Working with the AACC, Bradleytakes pride in helpingimpact organizations like the Urban Affairs Coalition, and taking business trade missions to Israel, London, Germany, China and more.
“If we can discipline our community to do business with each other and if we own our own businesses we can make sure those organizations are properly funded. That’s why I take pride in being the chair of the AfricanAmerican Chamber.We have to do a better job of supporting each other. “
In September 2017, the Philadelphia Tribune honored Bradley as one of “Philadelphia’s Most Influential African Americans”. Bradley continues working on the legacy he hopes to establish for the next generation, a legacy instilled from the generations of strong Black women in his family.
“I am the first in my family to go to college and finish. By sharing your stories and your vulnerability, we can motivate the next generation. I say, learn a trade. Build relationships. Follow through. Push yourself to be uncomfortable doing new things.Constantly show up. Be willing to meet challenges and do your homework.”