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Robert F. Smith

Robert F. Smith is an entrepreneur and philanthropist. A former chemical engineer and investment banker, he is the founder, chairman, and CEO of private equity firm Vista Equity Partners. He’s the board chair of Carnegie Hall (the first African American to hold that position), the founding director and president of the Fund II Foundation, and chair of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organization; he serves on the board of overseers of Columbia Business School and is a Trustee of the Boys & Girls Club of San Francisco.

“When you invest in people, you get greater output. That’s what I call the liberation of the spirit.”

— Robert F. Smith
Featured in these episodes:
Robert F. Smith, guest
December 5, 2019

Every great founder has a second purpose β€” something outside their main business they’re trying to get done in the world. And every successful company is like a Trojan Horse, carrying this second purpose forward. No one knows this better than Robert F. Smith. You may know him for his legendary Morehouse commencement speech (in which he promised to pay off the student loan debt of the entire graduating class), but Robert’s scaling success and philanthropic work go far beyond that. As founder, chair, and CEO of private equity firm Vista Equity Partners, Robert finds profound ways to serve both his business and his second purpose β€” liberating people to reach their true potential β€” at scale. Recorded live at Summit LA 2019.