Tony Simmons

Florida State University Panama City, Cadence Bank and Operation HOPE will help the community build the new year from a firm financial foundation. A Lunch & Learn session to provide financial planning tools for students and the public, part of the ongoing Illumination event series at FSU PC, will be from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 22, 2024, in the Holley Academic Center, 4750 Collegiate Drive, Panama City.

We achieve our mission by being the best-in-class provider of financial literacy empowerment for youth, financial
capability for communities, and ultimately, financial dignity for all.

The keynote speaker will be Mark Robinson, a Pensacola-based Operation HOPE financial well-being coach with a specialty in personal credit and small business coaching. His experience is in one-on-one financial counseling, assessing personal finances, creating budgets and establishing and rebuilding credit.

Cadence Bank and Operation HOPE have been partners since 2017 with the launch of Cadence’s HOPE Inside location in Memphis, Tennessee. The HOPE Inside opening in Pensacola, which took place in April 2023, was one of three new or revamped locations opening across Cadence Bank’s footprint this year.

A native of Miamisburg, Ohio, Robinson joined the U.S. Navy after high school and served for seven years as a Fleet Marine Force (FMF) Corpsman. Using the GI Bill, he attended the University of Texas at Brownsville and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business with a concentration in management.

According to information provided by Operation HOPE, Robinson believes true financial freedom is possible for anyone willing to work for it. This philosophy has afforded him the opportunity to spend 15 years in banking and personal finance working for companies such as AXA Advisors, SunTrust Bank (now known as Truist) and Gulf Winds Credit Union. He strives to help others improve their overall financial outlook.
Robinson’s presentation will focus on credit and money management, including: budgeting; paying off debt and saving money; credit scores; rights and settling accounts; disputing inaccurate information and identity theft; establishing and rebuilding credit; disaster preparedness and recovery; and government programs for low- to moderate-income families.

Entrepreneur and philanthropist John Hope Bryant founded Operation HOPE as a not-for-profit organization. Its mission is to offer tangible programs and initiatives that address economic inequality, financial illiteracy, social injustice, inequitable access to capital and lack of financial dignity. For more information, visit the website OperationHope.org.

FSU PC is committed to providing a comprehensive calendar of events, workshops and forums throughout the year that encourages the community to engage in meaningful conversations and educational opportunities. The Illumination lectureship series provides opportunities to hear different viewpoints and learn from unique experiences. 

For more information about the Illumination Series, visit the website PC.FSU.edu/students/events-programs/illumination.