In Moving Talk, America’s Top Black Business Figure, Robert Smith, Envisions The “Blessing” That Can Emerge From Current Tragedies

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Ryan Williams, founder of Cadre and Forbes Under 30 Lister
jamell toppin for forbes

Robert Smith, the CEO of private equity firm Vista Partners, is one to the top investors and most influential philanthropists in the world. After the murder of George Floyd on May 25, he wrote to his Vista team a moving letter sharing his thoughts about the crime, his own devastating experience with racial violence, and his optimistic hopes for a more just America. On June 5—to kick off Forbes’s Under 30 hackathon to support the city of Detroit—Smith gave his first public talk on the issue, joining Cadre founder Ryan Williams to discuss how the Floyd murder and protests affected them as black entrepreneurs and what the business world must do to champion racial equality.
Inspiring, poignant, and compelling, the conversation lays out the opportunity found in the Floyd tragedy, a plan for progress, and how the nationwide Covid-19 shutdown created the perfect environment for the video of George Floyd’s murder to spark the nation into action for lasting change. Below, edited highlights from the influential talk and a video of the conversation in full. Take a look.

“There was one blessing about the curse of Covid-19. It’s …

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