Darby Township’s Steven Bradley leads in commerce, community
Across the tri-state area, public and private sector leaders think highly of Darby Township’s Steven Scott Bradley.
“Steve Bradley is a leader for our City and Region,” Rob Wonderling, President and CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, said about Bradley. “He is deeply committed to his family, community and growth and prosperity of all of our citizens.”
Born in Darby Township, Bradley is the youngest of seven children raised by his mother, Clara M. Bradley. Having attended Southeast Delco School District schools, Bradley graduated salutatorian from Darby Township High School in 1981, before heading off to Fisk University, a Historically Black University in Nashville, Tenn.
A Fisk University Alumni Association Life Time Member, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics and economics, Bradley returned to Pennsylvania inspired to live a life of purpose and service.
“I met Steve when he started his business career with Continental Insurance Company. I was his mentor and supervisor at the time,” said longtime friend, Paul W. Forbes. “Steve has never hesitated “taking the next step” in his career, even if the next step was somewhat out of his comfort zone.”
For more than 30 years, Bradley has amassed experience in the insurance industry, serving as president and CEO of Watlington & Cooper, Incorporated – one of the oldest and largest minority brokerage firms in the region. He eventually “followed his dreams and opened his own agency,” serving as president and CEO of Bradley & Bradley Associates, Incorporated.
“Steven Scott Bradley and I were classmates in the Charter Class of the Urban League Leadership Institute,” Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown shared. “He has become an influential nexus for small business owners. I continue to be very proud of him.”
As a result of Bradley’s business relationships and civic engagement activities, he has been able to make a tremendous impact throughout the region.
“As I got to know Steven over the years, I find his resume to be as diverse as the society in which he serves,” said Gerard H. Sweeney President, CEO and Trustee of Brandywine Realty Trust. Sweeney worked with Bradley as members of the Philadelphia Growth Coalition, an initiative started in July 2011 with several business leaders looking at alternative tax strategies for the city. Last month a major step was taken on the road toward decreasing Philadelphia’s high resident and non-resident wage tax rates, as well as the business income and receipts tax (BIRT).
“The African American Chamber of Commerce has experienced tremendous membership growth and high esteem under Steven’s five years of leadership as Chairman,” Sweeney said. “Bradley has made quite an impact – not only in the African-American community – but the community at-large in the Greater Philadelphia area.”
Balancing business, family and faith is another skill Bradley has come to master. He has maintained his spiritual connectedness as a member of First African Baptist Church in Sharon Hill.
“As a young man, he was a dedicated worker in our church,” said Reverend Richard Dent, pastor of First African Baptist Church. “He did not hesitate in accepting, when asked, to be the leader of the Trustee Ministry,” which he did for twenty years. “As the head Trustee, Steven always acted in the best interest of the church. Because of his commitment, our church continues to prosper.”
Bradley currently serves, or is associated with, the boards of more than 20 organizations including being appointed by Pennsylvania’s last two governors to serve on the boards of the Pennsylvania Economic Development Financing Authority and the Advisory Board on Diversity, Inclusion, and Small Business Opportunities. He was appointed to Mayor Jim Kenney’s Commerce and Business Transition Team and has served on the City’s Jobs Commission, Living Wage and Benefits Review and Economic Opportunity Review Committees.
“Steven is thoughtful and fair, and he has dedicated his life to the economic empowerment of Philadelphians. Our city is lucky to have him,” stated Mayor Jim Kenney.
Other organizations Bradley supports include the World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia, The Philadelphia Foundation, WHYY, the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau and Bebashi — Transition to Hope.
“He, more than anyone else, is responsible for my hiring at Bebashi,” said Gary Bell, Bebashi’s Executive Director. “Since that time, and throughout the last 20 years, he has been a friend, mentor and business associate. He has consistently been a supporter of Bebashi and remains one of our largest donors.”
Reverend John W. Swope, President of St. Joseph’s Preparatory School, echoed the sentiments many have of Bradley. “Through his work and civic engagement, he enriches the communities he serves and is continually working for the greater good. I’m pleased to know him.”
One of Bradley’s “proudest moments” of his career was receiving Fisk University’s Alumni Achievement Award for Professional Achievement in 2015. Among the awards Bradley has received for his dedicated service are the Urban League of Philadelphia 11th Annual Whitney M. Young Jr. Empowerment Community Leader Award, the 2012 Philadelphia Business Journal Minority Business Leader Award, the Philadelphia Tribune as One of Philadelphia’s Most Influential African-American Leaders Award and the 2015 Urban Affairs Coalition Community Leadership Award.
“The Urban Affairs Coalition has worked with Steven for many years and we value him as a business and community partner,” stated Sharmain Matlock-Turner, President and CEO of the Urban Affairs Coalition. “Steve has demonstrated a true understanding and support for UAC’s mission by providing innovative and strategic solutions to address our changing needs.”
Serving on Urban Affairs Coalition’s board together, Pierce College’s President and CEO, Jim Mergiotti, noted “I am very grateful for our relationship. Steven has assisted me in developing as a leader by sharing his insights and perspectives in various areas, especially diversity and inclusion,” said Mergiotti.
At the root of Bradley’s success lies his ability to initiate, cultivate and maintain relationships.
“Steven is an authentic, charitable, unpretentious, G-d fearing, sincere, straight talking business and community leader,” said David L. Hyman, Managing Partner of business law firm Kleinbard. The pair first met “in the 1980s” and have “bonded together in a wide variety of settings.”
In describing Bradley, Hyman may have said it best. “Steven Scott Bradley is a mensch.”