Value, Vision, and Voice: The Legacy of Black Male Leadership

Value, Vision, and Voice: The Legacy of Black Male Leadership

June 29, 2021 0

Success isn’t measured by what you achieve during your time in this world, but it’s measured by the legacy you leave behind. Robert F. Smith, founder and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, and Mike Hyter, president and CEO of the Executive Leadership Council, break down the true meaning of success and the importance of legacy in a recent conversation during The Black Men in Leadership Conference. 

Black men now have the unique ability to reshape their narrative in corporate cultures, giving them the green light to help open the doors for other Black men to follow suit. Smith and Hyter explore the meaning of legacy in leadership and offer insight into how Black men might design their own. 

Starting your own business isn’t easy, and Robert emphasizes the risks involved in his decision to start his company. He stresses that being able to “invest in yourself” and weigh your options should help a person decide if entrepreneurship is right for them. Looking back, leaving his position at Goldman Sachs felt right at the time, but Robert notes that it was “preparation” and not feeling that led him to make the leap. 

Through an internship Robert held at Bell Labs at the age of 17, he discovered the “impact and power that technology would and could have.” Years later, his technology-focused investment company Vista Equity Partners has invested in hundreds of companies. And now, the CEO has joined the call to invest in philanthropic causes. Robert plans to invest half of his net worth in support of “systemic solutions that scale.” As far as his leadership legacy is concerned, Robert’s approach is simple. “Do what you can when you can, and do it according to God’s will.” 

Setting an intention to keep pushing forward, and doing everything you can to help others, is at the heart of Robert’s leadership style. Black men can learn a thing or two from Robert’s lifetime commitment to creating opportunities and solving problems with the help of technology. Leaving a legacy might seem like a daunting task, but to Robert, it’s essential:

“I grew up in a beloved community, and now it’s our job to create more beloved communities.” 

BMI Staff
BMI Staff