Brad Martin is man who knows business. As a real estate mogul and department store magnate, his career has taken him to the top of the corporate ladder. Along the way, this successful entrepreneur has always made caring about the children of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital an important part of his business, too.
“I have a passion for young people,” Martin admits. “My wife and I are blessed to have five sons and four grandchildren who are healthy, so we also care deeply about the fact that St. Jude is focused on finding cures for childhood cancer. There is no better cause to support.”
As a high school student growing up in Memphis, Martin was well aware of St. Jude and its work. “I was always interested in doing things that would benefit the hospital,” he recalls.
The first opportunity came when Martin, the youngest person elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives, was able to sponsor legislation in 1979 and 1980 to help fund lodging for St. Jude families.
Later, as the CEO of the department store chain Saks Inc., Martin answered a call for help from St. Jude National Outreach Director Marlo Thomas and led his company’s participation in the St. Jude Thanks and Giving campaign.
Today he serves as chairman of a private investment company and continues to give generously through his family’s foundation, which recently funded the St. Jude Eye Clinic in honor of Barrett Haik, MD, chief of the hospital’s Ophthalmology Division.
“I recognize the vital importance of the research St. Jude is doing, and I wanted to recognize Dr. Haik’s incredible commitment to the hospital and his fantastic work on behalf of the children,” Martin explains.
In 2010, Martin also added the accomplishment of children’s author to his already distinguished resume. Once again, he accepted an opportunity to serve the children of St. Jude, this time in a more personal way, when he visited the hospital to read his book, Myles’ Pesky Friends, to the patients.
“It was a great opportunity to be around some special kids and their families and to understand that even though these children are patients at St. Jude, they are still kids first and foremost,” he says.
In addition to the personal connection he feels to the children, Martin says he can see some of his own business philosophy reflected in St. Jude.
“My principal career activities have involved providing a high level of service, and St. Jude is also all about extraordinary service. In addition, I’m always focused on performance and return on investment of time and money. From that standpoint, St. Jude is one of the best investments one could make.”
Through his leadership, generosity and dedicated support for the children of St. Jude, Brad Martin has shown that caring can be a business all its own.
Reprinted from Promise Autumn 2012