Robert F. Smith"A media archive of American philanthropist and CEO/Chairman of Vista Equity Partners".Who is this person?
Robert Frederick Smith is an entrepreneur, business leader, investor, and is chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, an investment firm with over $26 billion in assets as of September 2016. Mr. Smith was ranked by Forbes in 2016 as the 274th richest person in America, the second wealthiest African American on the list after Oprah Winfrey. Robert was the second largest donor for the recently opened African American Museum of History in Washington D.C.
Why should he inspire you?
Mr. Smith started from humble middle-class beginnings in a neighborhood in Denver, Colorado.
Although he was the son of two parents with PhDs, both parents chose careers as school teachers which meant that they committed their God-given gifts to teaching young people at the expense of more lucrative professional pursuits.
Despite the challenges of classism and inherent racism, Mr. Smith was undeterred in his relentless pursuit of his education (Chemical Engineering at Cornell and MBA from Columbia) and his mastering of the art of finance and deal making with Goldman Sachs.
He went were few have gone and learned the ways and means of capitalists.
Although he has achieved enormous wealth, I sense that he follows the biblical adage that, "to whom much is given, much is required."
What can we all learn from this man?
Robert F. Smith has shown through his success that the creative and innovative intersection of technology and well-thought out business models can still result in the creation of significant wealth and is often the basis for the development of sustainable economic ecosystems that can benefit all sectors of our society. All young and emerging entrepreneurs should consider treading the path that Mr. Smith has engineered.
: Robert Frederick SmithD.O.B: December 1, 1962 (age 54)Location: Denver, Colorado, U.S.Residence
: Austin, Texas, U.S.Citizenship
: United StatesEducation:
Alma mater, Cornell University & Columbia Business SchoolOccupation
: Founder, Chairman and CEO of Vista Equity PartnersNet worth
: US $3 billion Spouse(s)
: Hope Dworaczyk (m. 2015)Children
: 5Links To Biographies:http://robertfsmith.org/post/118605376206/robert-f-smith-biography
A former Goldman Sachs executive, Smith started private equity and venture capital firm Vista Equity Partners in 2000.
Vista, with over $30 billion in assets under management, is one of the world's most successful hedge funds, with consistent double-digit returns.
As a college student, Smith secured an internship at Bell Labs after calling the company every week for five months.
He went on to work at Kraft Foods and Goldman Sachs before launching Vista.
A Cornell grad, Smith pledged $50 million (personally and through a foundation) to the university in 2016.
Smith is the first African-American to sign the Giving Pledge, a commitment to contribute the majority of his wealth to philanthropic causes.He gave $20 million to the National Museum of African American History in 2016.
Investment CEO Robert Frederick Smith was born on December 1, 1962 in Denver, Colorado.
Parents: Dr. William Robert Smith and Dr. Sylvia Myrna Smith. Smith attended Carson Elementary School and Gove Jr. High School in Denver, graduating from Denver East High School. Smith graduated from Cornell University with his B.S. degree in chemical engineering. He worked as an engineer for Air Products and Chemicals, The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company and Kraft General Foods. Smith is the principal inventor on two United States and two European patents. Smith received his M.B.A. degree with concentrations in finance and marketing from Columbia Business School.
After business school, Smith joined Goldman Sachs in Mergers and Acquisitions in New York and then moved to San Francisco/Silicon Valley in 1997 to initiate Goldman Sachs' merger and acquisition effort there. As Co-Head of Enterprise Systems and Storage, he executed and advised on over $50 billion in M&A activity with Apple, Microsoft, Texas Instruments, eBay and Yahoo. Smith left Goldman Sachs in 2000 to found his own company, Vista Equity Partners LLC. In 2015, the HEC-Dow Jones Private Equity Performance Ranking named Vista Equity Partners LLC as one of the industry's top performers.Smith is the President and Founding Director of the Fund II Foundation. Smith founded Project Realize, national philanthropic effort to assist inner city companies implement specific operational improvements. Smith is a member of the Leadership Circle for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial and an active supporter of the organization COMP (Children's Opportunities for Music Participation). He is also Chairman of the Board of the Robert F. Kennedy Center, a member of the Cornell Engineering College Council, a trustee at Columbia Business School, trustee of the Boys and Girls Clubs in San Francisco, and a board member of Carnegie Hall. Smith has also received honorary doctorates from American University and Huston-Tillotson University.
Smith has received the: Reginald F. Lewis Achievement Award, the Ripple of Hope Award from the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights
the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the Robert Toigo Foundationthe Award of Excellence from the National Association of Investment Companies the Columbia University BBSA Distinguished Alumni Award, among others awardsHe is also an avid fly fisherman.
5 keys for success from African-American billionaire Robert F. Smith
(Here are five key truths for success that came out of Smith's candid talk)
Be an expert at your craft.
Smith grew up in the era of segregation and was a product of school bussing. While still in high school, he had a knack for computer science and called the offices of Bell Labs to ask for a summer internship normally reserved for upperclassmen. They said "
No."So he continued to call them weekly for five months. Despite being repeatedly turned away and eventually ignored altogether, one day, he finally got an offer after an older student didn't show up. Smith would go on to earn a chemical engineering degree from Cornell University. Lesson? Smith knew his stuff. And when it was time to ask for a seat at the table, he could deliver based on his merits and persistence.Create your own.
After graduating from Columbia Business School with honors in 1994, Smith landed a coveted job at Goldman Sachs, focusing on technology mergers and acquisitions. He successfully led those efforts for six years but eventually wanted to venture out on his own. Smith recalls feeling like no private equity firms would look at him as a desirable candidate. In 2000, Smith took a leap of faith to start his own private equity firm focused on software and technology-enabled businesses. The fact that Smith, a double Ivy-League graduate with a masters degree in business, felt he could run into roadblocks shows that even when you are qualified, realizing your unique vision might mean creating your own path. As of last year, Smith's company managed more than $26 billion dollars in assets and is considered to be one of the top private equity firms in the country.Be an example to others.
Smith remembers in his younger days reading a spread in Black Enterprise magazine about black business leaders. The staggering amount of money they earned blew him away. More than their net worth, Smith says seeing their faces inspired curiosity about their work and made him feel he could pursue the same path. Even once he earned his first million at 35-years-old, Smith says he kept a low profile "by design," choosing to develop his skills and company rather than seek limelight. After being featured on the cover of Forbes magazine in 2015, that privacy really went out the window. "I lost the ability to go to a movie with my wife and kids," Smith says. "It comes at a cost." But for Smith, the trade-off is well worth it. Just as the stories of black business leaders inspired him then, he wants to do the same for others.
Know your purpose.
Smith recalled enjoying social life during his college years with his brothers from Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, on Friday nights, then getting up as early at 6 a.m. the next day to tutor youth in the Ithaca area. "You didn't get paid for that," Smith remembers. "But we also knew because of the divinity of where we'd come from that somebody had done that for us." Smith's parents were both schoolteachers who supported civil rights issues. He suggested to the crowd at Columbia Business School that not everyone has to be rich or have a high-powered business job to make a lasting difference. "Maybe [the highest and best use is] for you to read to a child daily," he said. Asking yourself which of your talents and gifts inspire you to get up in the morning is time well-spent.
Invest in the future.
New developments in technology have been compared to the "fourth industrial revolution." But Smith insists there is a lot at stake if black people miss out on the current boom in STEM. "These are the on-ramps in our community. The greatest wealth building opportunity in the history of the planet," Smith remarked. "How do we get a part of that wealth? I guarantee it's through technology." Smith says in the same way that football scouts start early in finding young athletic talent in elementary school, black communities should invest resources in uplifting our own young tech stars. "It's intellectual property resources that you have unique dominion over," says Smith. "There is a system that has been developed, that we have to develop in technology. Then what happens is, leaders will emerge."
Links to Articles on Robert Smith:
We are only bound by the limits of our own conviction. We can transcend the script of a pre-defined story, and pave the way for the future that we design. We just need to tap that power, that conviction, that determination within us.""
YOU ARE ENOUGH AS YOU ARE, DISCOVER THE JOYS OF FIGURING THINGS OUT, LOVE IS WHAT MATTER"."I'm here to tell you that, by virtue of your being here today, by virtue of walking across that stage - you are enough." (Source - Commencement Address at AU)"Use your skills, your knowledge, your instincts to serve - to go change the world in the way that only you can."
"You got to have grit. And grit mean getting turned away from thing 14, 16 times, calling someone every two weeks, everyday for 5 months and then finally it materialising in something that you want.""This is the first time in history you can create wealth and not have access to capital. You just need intellectual property. A blogger who has a large audience can create wealth by attracting advertisers."
"Intelligence can create huge profits, and in fact, you can actually make more money being smart than you can be strong or fast." (Source - Youth Symposium)
"The importance of developing intellectual property can not be underestimated.""
You are enough to be who you want to be and to create what you want to create." "Put action to support the intention, don't say I want to be a millionaire but don't take the activities to do it."
"Have the vision of what you want to become, but you have to put consistent action behind that vision in order for that to manifest and it as to be consistent." "If you get too much help you never really figure out how to do things and you don't develop the grit."
"Fight through those problems."
"If you can't solve easy problems now, you will not be able to solve difficult problems later."
"We can transcend the script of a pre-defined story, and pave the way for the future that we design. We just need to tap that power, that conviction, that determination within us." (Source - Forbes) "Not everyone wants to make the sacrifice in the trade-off to become wealthier, and the first part of that trade-off is savings and investment and time." (Source - Center Global Policy Solutions)
"How do you spend your time?
"The good news is, we follow people that look like us if the story is told the right way."
"With got these devices (the Internet) that you can tell a billion people your story in a matter of minutes."
"You have the instinct to serve, and the skills to succeed. In fact, you have skills across a number of areas. Don't separate these skills; integrate them. The future will be written by those who integrate their whole being." "African Americans, I think are some of the most interesting people on the planet. We've had some of the most challenging journeys, but we've brought so much joy." (Source - NMAAHC)
"I am showing the current generations of African Americans they can do it, too. So the next generation can go even higher." "We have to do something for our community."
"You should be able to drive to the airport and not be stopped three to seven times a year."
"The single most important part of running and winning your own race -is recognizing that you are enough and that you are an original."
"I ran my own race. I knew what I wanted, and my persistence paid off,." (Forbes) "We are only bound by the limits of our own conviction,"
"I got hooked on technology,...The excitement of figuring a complex problem out creates a eureka moment. It's one of the best moments in life." "With the process of discovery, you fail a lot," he said. "And you learn a great deal from those failures, so the next time you can avoid those mistakes."
"You can't be all things to everyone and still be effective."
"I thought, 'If they could do it, so can I,...Now I want people to say, 'If Robert Smith can do it, I can do that and more." (Source - Washington Post) "One of the things that inspired me earlier in my life was actually believe it or not the James Bond novels because as I read them, they took me and transported me into places that I had no idea actually really existed.
You Are Not Enough: http://robertfsmith.org/Vista Equity Partners: https://www.vistaequitypartners.com/team-member/robert-smith/
https://www.vistaequitypartners.com/team-member/robert-smith/Fund II Foundation: http://www.fund2foundation.org/leadership/
http://www.fund2foundation.org/leadership/Jackie Robinson Foundation: https://www.jackierobinson.org/people/robert-f-smith/
https://www.jackierobinson.org/people/robert-f-smith/Images of Robert Smith: