One evening, high above and against the backdrop of bustling New York City at the Allen Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Raymond McGuire stated “race matters; gender matters.”

The Allen Room, Jazz at Lincoln Center

Although sobering thoughts, his words also struck a chord of inspiration as he added that faith and excellence play a role in achieving success.  Mr. McGuire delivered a lively keynote address and evidently spoke from experience.  Despite having grown up “on the wrong side of the tracks,” as he stated, he maintained his vision, rose up “standing on the shoulders of giants,” and was “blanketed by prayer” as he crafted his illustrious career to now serve as the head of global banking at Citi.  While racial and gender inequality persist, the imperative is not to allow these challenges to become obstacles, but rather to take them as given standards, and to bypass, surpass, and overpass them.  The event was well attended by the bright, the aspiring, the accomplished, and the influential across many professional fields, dressed in bespoke conservative summer tweeds.  Some of the notable guests in attendance included Gordon DavisTheodore V. Wells, Judith Byrd-Blalock, Keija Minor and Crystal McCrary Anthony.  The event was generously sponsored by the firm of Paul-Weiss.

Do you want to be successful?  Do you want to achieve excellence?  What do you allow to get in your way?  What do your perceive as obstacles to your achievements?  Believe (in yourself); have faith (in a higher power); achieve (by working tirelessly toward your goals); and have gratitude (for your health, vision, and happiness).

Stay Beautiful– inside and out!