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A Conversation with Robert F. Smith, Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Vista Equity Partners


Dr. Henry Gates Jr., University Professor, Harvard University
Robert F. Smith, Founder, Chairman and CEO, Vista Equity Partners

“Diversity is critical for businesses to survive and sustain.” 

– Robert F. Smith

“The 2% Solution is the idea that corporations should invest 2% of their profits to support racial equity.” 

– Dr. Henry Gates Jr.

Key takeaways & next steps:

  • Promoting diversity in the workplace is not just a moral imperative but also a strategic move for economic growth. Diverse workforces tend to be more innovative and agile, making them better equipped to navigate today’s competitive global business environment. 
  • Broadband access plays a critical role in today’s digital-centric economy. A significant percentage of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are located in broadband deserts, which hinder students’ and communities’ ability to participate fully in the digital age. 
  • Addressing economic inequality, particularly the wealth gap between white Americans and African Americans, is essential for overall economic prosperity. If we equalize the gap, we can contribute substantially to U.S. GDP as more individuals and communities would have the financial resources to participate actively in the economy, spurring growth. 
  • Sustainable solutions have greater impact than one-time financial transfers. Initiatives should concentrate on creating long-lasting economic infrastructure in underserved communities. This includes improving broadband access to enable digital participation, supporting small businesses, and promoting entrepreneurship. By investing in sustainable solutions, corporations can contribute to lasting economic growth and empowerment.