What do you consider to be your greatest contribution to the growth and profitability of your company and/or clients?
My greatest contribution to my company has been my example. Like a competitive athlete, I believe you give your all each and every day, in practice and in games to give your team the highest probability of success. I firmly believe that when the people who work with you see that level of commitment, they raise their game to the level necessary for the team to win and in the process realize their hidden potential.
Describe a career challenge you overcame.
In my 30 years on Wall Street, I had seen a lot of racism and experienced my fair share of disparate treatment. It was very clear to me that to succeed in my profession I had to work harder and smarter than my peers by a factor of three to get my just rewards. So, when I think about a career challenge, I’d say I have a challenging career in an industry where less than 3 percent of assets are managed by people of color. I have had to be very calculating and strategic and surgically navigate some of my work environments to avoid career derailing decisions and career ending pitfalls. I remember rising to the level of vice chairman of a major investment company bringing tears of joy but also tears that recognized the years of fear, pain and sacrifice that I lived with every day of my challenging career.
Who has been your most influential role model?
My father, Jacob Walthour Sr., was my role model until he passed from COVID-19 in December 2020. He dropped out of school in the segregated south in seventh grade and become a successful businessman known for his ability to bridge the racial divide.