Giving back to the community and helping others has been one of Pinnacle Group’s guiding principles since the company was founded 23 years ago. It’s no surprise that as the daughter of an entrepreneur and a civic leader I would strive to find a way to follow in the footsteps of both of my parents, combining these two values.
Over the years, this has meant that Pinnacle Group has focused significant time and investment in community service and philanthropic efforts. It is as central to our identity as providing exceptional services to our clients and being “crazy good” at what we do. If we continue on this path, our legacy will be as much about creating positive financial impact in the community locally, nationally, and globally, as it is about running a successful business. Our measure of success has never been solely to grow a larger company, win more business, and earn more money. All the success in the world is only truly valuable if it serves a larger purpose of making the world a better place.
The longer I’ve been in business, the more I see that I’m not alone when it comes to this idea. Billionaires like Warren Buffet, Bill and Melinda Gates, Michael Bloomberg, the Walton Family, and many others are famous for their philanthropy. Recently, I had the privilege of spending time with someone who is counted among the ranks of the great billionaire philanthropists and, from that experience, have been completely renewed and strengthened in my commitment to serve the community and inspired to find new ways to do more and give more back.
Travel consumes a lot of my time and when I accept an invitation to attend an event, especially one in another country, I always want to make sure it provides something truly valuable that helps further the goals of making Pinnacle Group better and/or expanding our capacity to do good in the world. My recent trip to attend the Carlos Slim Foundation’s “Building Bridges” Mexico Siglo XXI event was all of that and more.
The message that “you cannot be what you cannot see” was top of mind for me when I met Carlos Slim Helú. He is one of the wealthiest people in the entire world and has invested massively back into his community and beyond. He is one of the few Hispanic business leaders to have achieved his level of success or his level of philanthropy. I feel lucky to have met him and his incredible family. They were so kind and warm and clearly feel a responsibility for making a difference in this world that is much bigger than they are. My goal in sharing this experience is to shine a light on what they do so that others can be inspired to make their own contributions. It’s not about doing what their family does, it’s about doing what YOU can do.
The biggest event of the trip was the scholarship banquet where 10,000 students (yes, you read that number right) were awarded scholarships from the Carlos Slim Foundation. Several surprise guests delighted the audience. These guests were not just celebrities and businesspeople, some were global superstars! U2 lead singer and world-famous philanthropist Bono, Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey, and Netflix founder and CEO Reed Hastings were just a few of the guests that shared inspirational messages with the students.
Each person was there because they hold to the same philosophy that the Slim family adheres to, and it’s the same philosophy that we’ve been dedicated to throughout the history of Pinnacle Group: to take any success in business and life and turn it into good in the world. Our success is not our own, we have a responsibility to do things for others and to better the society around us.
The Slim family is world renowned for their business success, they are worth billions, but they are focused on something bigger than themselves. They actually reminded me of Ross Perot and his family, because they give so much of their wealth away and a lot of their giving is done behind-the-scenes. The Carlos Slim Foundation is involved in many different initiatives, from education to health to economic development to the environment and beyond that are changing people’s lives. They are working to make the world a better place in just about every possible arena. According to Forbes, his lifetime giving is an astonishing $4.2 billion!
You can visit the Museo Soumaya in Mexico City to see a world class museum that Carlos dedicated to his late wife (which is free to the public), or you can see the 10,000 students that are given scholarships by the Slim family each year. His giving isn’t just limited to Mexico either, he’s done an incredible amount to help Hispanic people in the U.S. as well. The Carlos Slim Foundation helps Latinos in American obtain citizenship and get better access to healthcare and education.
I came away from this great event inspired to continue doing work in the community while still striving for business success. At Pinnacle we always say that the community IS our business. We strive to make the world a better place for everyone. Through programs like Pathways In Technology Early College High School (P-TECH), we are helping a generation of students (many of whom are Hispanics) graduate with a high school diploma and an associate degree in a STEM field. This not only helps the students to find jobs once they graduate, it also helps create more skilled workers in the future, which benefits society as a whole.
I’m grateful to the Slim family, Marco A. Lopez, and my fellow U.S. Delegates who are all inspiring leaders that share this same philanthropic mindset. It was a great reminder of the impact of giving back to the community and an inspiration to continue to do our part moving forward.