A. Michael Pratt
Education: JD, Harvard Law School; BA, economics and English, Washington & Jefferson College
Company Name: Greenberg Traurig, LLP
Company CEO: Brian Duffy
Company Headquarters Location: Miami, Florida
Number of Employees: 4,309
Your Location (if different from above): Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Words you live by: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” –Martin Luther King, Jr.
Who is your personal hero? My mother, Joan Tracy
What book are you reading? Founding Fathers by Joseph Ellis
What was your first job: Worked for Youth Corps at age 14, cleaning a local Catholic high school
Favorite charity: East End United Community Center in Uniontown, Pennsylvania
Interests: Musical theater, basketball, football, and politics
Family: Wife, Barbara; daughters, Jeanine and Payton; son, Christopher; step-sons, Kendal and Brendan; and grandchildren, Jaelyn and Michael
To Live Fully, without Fear or Favor
Call me Pollyannaish or maybe naïve. Yet, even at this maturing age, I steadfastly cling to youthful ideals and yearn to experience a world free of racism, sexism, and all other forms of invidious individual and class distinctions.
The failure to fully harness our collective human potential and instead embrace a panoply of hate-driven “-isms” represents our greatest shared blame and shame. It also fuels my most fervent desire for change. The financial, physical, and psychological toll of these self-inflicted societal wounds remains a cost too high to pass on to yet another generation.
Dream with me, if you will. Imagine a country—a world—where the diversity of our differences and cultures is universally accepted as a treasure of our shared humanity rather than a source of tribalistic hate and division. Imagine living in a world—in America—where the pigmentation of your skin, the texture of your hair, or the holy writ of your religion is cause to celebrate the inherent grandeur of our diversity, and not beget the ugliness of bigotry and prejudice.
Eradicating these constant factors of animus—homophobia through able-ism—would elevate America, and quite possibly the world, to its finest and most prosperous era. The price of business as usual, as the prescience of this global pandemic has taught us, is socially destructive and untenable.
The empirical evidence is telling. For example, a recent study cited a loss of some $16 trillion over the past 20 years, calculated by education, housing, wages, and business investment inequities, between black and white Americans. That study did not scratch the surface of similar inequities among other populations of color—from indigenous to Latinx to Asian Americans. Another recent report found that eliminating the racial wealth gap would boost national GDP by up to six percent by 2028. Policies, both intentional and subliminal, borne of discrimination, have a price tag—a levy paid by every American.
The complete removal of such biases, and their accompanying prejudice and bigotry, stands as my vision for society. My Black daughters and granddaughter deserve viable chances to lead in the world, unencumbered by regressive thinking and attitudes that stand to limit their advancement and earning power. My Black sons—by birth and by marriage—and grandson deserve the freedom to navigate through life safely, unimpeded by the racial ignorance of others.
Perhaps utopian, but all our children deserve to experience boundless opportunities, to live fully, without fear or favor.