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Great Networkers Throughout History – Bono

The next great networker is the lead singer for a hugely successful rock band. However, these days he is most recognized for his tremendous generosity and triumphs as a humanitarian.

Born Paul David Hewson on May 10, 1960, we know him as Bono, the leader signer for the Irish rock band U2. Bono was raised on the north side of Dublin by his parents, Brendan Robert Hewson and Iris Rankin Hewson. Bono’s mother died at her father’s funeral when Bono was only 14.

Bono quickly started hanging out with a group of boys who called themselves “Lypton Village”. It was a common practice among the group to dole out nicknames, and it was then that Bono received his famous nickname.

Bono comes from a local hearing aid store called “BonoVox” and was bestowed upon Paul because it was said he sang so loud that deaf people cold hear him. Bono hated the name, until he was told that it was Latin for “good voice”.

In 1976, Bono and Dave Evans (The Edge) responded to an advertisement to form a rock band listed by fellow student Larry Mullen, Jr. The three joined Adam Clayton to eventually form U2.

The band went out to enjoy unparalleled international success. U2 had sold 50.5 million albums in the US and 170 million worldwide. In additional to multiple accolades in the music industry, they won 22 Grammys – more than any other recording artist.

While with U2, Bono collaborated and co-wrote songs with several legendary recording artists including Frank Sinatra, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Luciano Pavarotti, Sinéad O’Connor, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan, Tina Turner, and BB King.

On August 2, 1982, Bono married his longtime girlfriend Alison Stewart. The couple now have four children.

Bono lent his voice to the 1984 Band Aid single “Do They Know it’s Christmas/ Feed the World.” In a 1986, “Rolling Stone” interview Bono expressed a desire to become more involved in social and political causes. Later that same year, he led U2 to team up with Sting to perform on Amnesty’s Conspiracy of Hope Tour.

Bono performed at both the Live Aid concert in 1985, a concert to bring awareness to the famine in Ethiopia, and the Live 8 concert in 2005, a series of benefit concerts to end world poverty.

Since 1999, Bono had dedicated himself to campaign to end third-world debt, briefly meeting with Pope John Paul. In March of 2002, Bono had a private meeting with George W. Bush to discuss the recently unveiled $5 billion aid package. In May of the same year, Bono traveled with U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul H. O’Neill on a four-country tour of Africa.

Later that year Bono set up DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade in Africa) to bring about awareness to Africa’s debts, the Aids epidemic, and the country’s unfair trade laws that hurt many of its own citizens.

Bono also teamed with Canada’s Prime Minister, Paul Martin, speaking at his inauguration. Working together, they hope to increase Canada’s contribution to ending world poverty.

In 2005, Bono and his wife, Ali, partnered with designer Rogan Gregory to launch a socially conscious line. The goal was to shift from aid to boosting third-world economies by trading.

In December of the same year, Bono tied with friends Bill and Melinda Gates to share the title “Time Magazine’s Person of the Year”. Although Bill and Melinda both admit they were initially apprehensive about befriending a rock star, they now consider Bono a friend and formidable force against world poverty.

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Bono’s philanthropic plight against hunger and poverty has never wavered. Just this year, Bono and Bobby Shriver have partnered with Oprah and American Express, Apple Computer, Converse, Motorola, The Gap and Giorgio Armani to launch the (red) campaign. Each company has created products with the Product Red logo and a percentage of the profits from the sale of these labeled products go to the Global Fund.

The good Bono has done with his celebrity has out-shined and overwhelmed his own celebrity. We can be assured that Bono’s network will grow to include more and more people who share his values. Bono has afforded everyone in his network the opportunity to make a difference and to reach out to people in their network to bring about global changes.

Melissa G Wilson

Melissa has been a leader in the book writing, publishing and marketing arena for the past two decades. To date, she has helped more than 100 thought leaders write, publish and market their books. Her clients include executives such as Dan Weinfurter a seven-time Inc 500 winner and Orlando Ashford, President of Holland Cruise Lines.

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