By Mahita Gajanan
April 26, 2017

Health advocate Bernard J. Tyson, named one of the world’s most influential people on the 2017 TIME 100 list, paid tribute to his father during a moving speech at the TIME 100 Gala.

“My father was a wonderful male image for me. He was a strong individual. He was mighty. He was a preacher. He was a carpenter. He was a man of few words, but he always had wisdom and insights,” he said.

Tyson, a public health advocate and CEO of Kaiser Permanente, one of the country’s largest nonprofit health plans, has served the medical needs of over 11.3 million people. With a focus on preventative care and accessibility to the public, Tyson has advocated for getting rid of health care disparities among individuals. Through his leadership at Kaiser, the health care provider’s 200,000 employees and 20,000 physicians have delivered great clinical outcomes.

In talking about his father, Tyson touched on his earlier career at Kaiser when he wanted to show his parents his success. Tyson shared that he impressed his father with a visit to the beach, and tried to temper his enthusiasm by saying: “I have problems like everybody.”

“My father pondered that for a couple of seconds, and he said, ‘This is true, but the difference is, people like you can take your problems to places like this.’ And I’ve kept that lesson all of my life,” Tyson said.

Write to Mahita Gajanan at mahita.gajanan@time.com.

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