Making a Bid For Love

In April 2010, Albert Rupert Gladden was hoping that luck was on his side. He was at a fund-raising event for New York Needs You, now named America Needs You, an organization that promotes college completion for first-generation students. The fund-raiser included a silent auction, where attendees could bid on lunches with various executives in financial services. Mr. Gladden, who is now a regional director of institutional liquidity product management at Deutsche Bank in New York, was excited about the prospect of winning an item that aligned with his interests. There was one problem though. Every time he went to check on the auction he kept seeing the same name outbid him — Brooke Chanel Hall.

Ms. Hall hadn’t intended to spend her evening at the America Needs You event. Her friend had planned to go to the fund-raiser in order to bid on one of the executive lunches, but when he realized he would be too caught up with work to make it in time for the auction, he asked Ms. Hall to go in his place. She agreed, and showed up with every intention of winning the item for her friend. When she realized that Mr. Gladden seemed to be her main competition, she began joking with him.

“We were playfully talking, and I just let him know,” Ms. Hall, 37, said. “I said ‘You know, I’m going to win.’”

Although they mainly spent the evening in competition with one another, Ms. Hall left an impression on Mr. Gladden.

“She was incredibly sweet and had a gorgeous smile,” Mr. Gladden, 39, said. “It was a very pleasant conversation, however brief it was.”

In the end, neither Mr. Gladden or Ms. Hall ended up winning the auction. Mr. Gladden gave Ms. Hall his business card, but before she even had the chance to call him, they ran into each other again, this time at a fund-raiser for the Brotherhood Sister Sol (BroSis), a youth organization based in Harlem. Mr. Gladden greeted Ms. Hall like they were old friends, and introduced her to other attendees.

“That point is when I really got insight into his intellect,” said Ms. Hall, who is the principal of HueCap in New York, an agency that manages diversity and inclusion initiatives and provides talent within creative, technology and government sectors.

Although they felt an initial attraction, Ms. Hall and Mr. Gladden were both dating other people when they met. They instead became close friends, bonding over their shared experiences attending historically Black colleges and universities. (Ms. Hall graduated from Howard University and Mr. Gladden graduated from Morehouse College.)

Over the next four years they would both move out of New York, Ms. Hall to Louisville, Ky., for work and Mr. Gladden to Atlanta for graduate school. They kept in touch, and in June 2014, Ms. Hall, knowing that they were both planning to move back to New York, suggested that they pursue a romantic relationship. They began dating in June 2014 once they both relocated, and quickly fell for one another.

“We picked up where we left off,” Ms. Hall said. “As soon as we made the decision to be romantically involved, he was at my place every day.”

In July 2020 the couple moved to Louisville, where they now own multiple properties that they rent via Airbnb. Mr. Gladden proposed in November 2020.

“The way she loves is very important,” Mr. Gladden said about Ms. Hall. “That affection, not only for me but that affection I see that she shows to her family as well, gives me comfort not only that as I grow old I’ll be loved continually, but our families will be loved. It’s very powerful.”

The couple were married Aug. 7 at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage in front of 110 guests. Pastor Troy Ezra Duncan Sr., who is a pastor in the Christ Center Ministries church and the bride’s cousin, officiated.

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