What Can We All DO to Heal the Racial Divide in America

Ron:

So, welcome to my show, my friend, the Honorable Gregory Slayton.

 

Gregory:

Hey, Ron, thanks very much. It’s a real pleasure to be here. Always good to see you.

 

Ron:

Oh, my pleasure to do you know, that’s a very cool thing to have that title. And there’s a very small percentage of people in the world that have that title. Honorable, how does that come about?

 

Gregory:

Well, many different ways for different folks. For me, personally, I was the US chief of mission to Bermuda, aka the Ambassador. For four years, I had the honor of being appointed by George W. Bush and then extended twice by President Obama. So it’s really interesting to work under both Republican and Democratic administrations.

 

Ron:

You know, it’s interesting, I had the same thing. I served in the State Department, President under President Bush and then I was held on Over for three years under Obama in the State Department as well. So it was a very, very interesting contrast of two administrations.

 

Gregory:

Indeed.

 

Ron:

But you know what I thought about Father’s Day. And of course, this is when I think of Father’s Day, I actually think of you probably more than my father because he’s been gone for so long now. But I immediately knew that your book, his story would be the best source of inspiration for our listeners. So first of all, I just like to know what are you going to be doing on Father’s Day?

 

Gregory:

Thanks, Ron. I always spend Father’s Day with my family. I’m always invited to speak here, there, whatever. And I always decline every invitation because you know, Father’s Day you got to be with the family.

 

Ron:

Exactly. Well, I feel the same way… but before we dive into what I think is this fascinating and by the way, a beautifully written, personal journey. I want the listeners to get to know you, Gregory a little better had to say that you’ve had a full life would be that maybe be the biggest understatement ever. So take us back, give us a little brief overview of what I consider your absolutely mind-boggling professional career.

 

Gregory:

Well, that’s very kind of ironic. I can only think about my namesake, Winston Churchill; my middle name is Winston. And he once said, ‘Well, you know, Mr. Smith is a very modest man and he has much to be modest about.’ And I feel that way about myself. I have a lot to be humble about. I made a lot of mistakes, but I’ve been deeply blessed. My father, I should start off by saying this my father did abandon my brothers and myself when we were young, and my mom and infamously, he wrote us a letter and it’s a letter which I will never forget. He started off with boys. I’m leaving. I never want to hear from you again. I never want to see you again. I never want to have anything to do with you again for the rest of my life. Well, that’s my blood… and well, yeah, and that’s kind of thing you know, here we are 40 years later and I’d never really fully recovered beyond it, you know, but no, but our God has even in the most disastrous situations, he can, he can put things back together even more beautiful. So, a Chinese family moved into my town and Port Washington, New York, they had a son my age, who became my Chinese brother; he looked different than me, spoke different than me, was totally different background. We became best friends in a matter of months. And it was there his family that sort of adopted me. I would eat there and sleep there, learn Chinese there, ate with, you know, chopsticks and stuff. Most importantly, I noticed there was a big difference between his family, my family, um, first of all, in his family, people weren’t getting drunk and throwing things at each other. I liked that a lot.

 

Ron:

I know I had one of those.

 

Gregory:

And, you know, people had problems. They had issues. They were immigrants. They just come from China to Taiwan, Taiwan to America. But you know, they worked things out. And there was some really different things about them. I mean, they read the Bible, like, nobody, I knew even had a Bible. You know, blood, right. And they prayed before meals, I found that really wonderful, kind of peaceful, and that was lovely. And then with church, they did not force me to become a Christian. But my Chinese dad did give me my first ever bible. And that was about 13 years old. And I remember telling him I said, You know, I said, Dad, that’s great. Thank you so much. But, you know, nobody believes the Bible anymore. It’s full of old wives tales and made up stories, because that’s what I had always heard from my family. And my Chinese dad was so wise, he said, You Gregory, you’re a smart, young man. Have you ever read this book for yourself? We didn’t even have a Bible. So of course, it’s simple. You know, I understand that this book is the best selling book in the world by a factor of 10. And even though I’m not a Westerner, I’m pretty sure that much of Western civilization is based in part or in very much so on this book. So don’t you think you should read it? I say, you know, it’s a great idea. He said, Well, you know, your brother will help you. There’s an Old Testament and New Testament, you might want to start with the parts about Jesus, I’d heard of Jesus, but no idea. What is this Jesus? Right. And that was how my faith started. So, in a way, although, of course, my father leaving was a disaster for me and my brothers and my family, in a very real way. The Lord used it to begin my faith journey, and to take me, you know, into places to your question that I probably would never have been, so I’m thankful even for that.

 

Ron:

And so I know that you went to Dartmouth.

 

Gregory:

Yes, sir. Wonderful love it, you know, the smallest northernmost Ivy League school, but I loved it had a wonderful time there. I was on my way to Harvard Law School and actually was baptized in my senior year at Dartmouth, my Chinese brother came up from Brown and he and my pastor baptize me in the Connecticut River. I was on my way to Harvard Law School, I felt the still small voice talking to me about that that was not the way, so I declined. Harvard Law School, my mom thought I was out of my mind. And I stuck around at Dartmouth for a little while to grow my faith really, and then applied for a Fulbright scholarship, which that year was much more difficult to get a Fulbright than it was to get into Harvard Law School.

I was granted a Fulbright scholarship which was fantastic. So I went to Asia. My Chinese family and I went to Asia, three years, their wonderful experience, loved it. And I did a master’s in Asian Studies. Just great. After that I worked for two years for World Vision in Africa. So really began my multinational career back then, Harvard Business School for a couple of years, did my MBA there and got married, and married my wife of 30 years, we have four wonderful kids. And that’s when I began my truly my professional career, which is including being a venture capitalist in Silicon Valley and backing Google and salesforce.com when they were real small. Yeah, just a wonderful, a lot of wonderful experiences. I was with McKinsey and Company for five years, one of the finest consulting firms in the world. Just, you know, with this, the Lord has blessed me.

 

Ron:

I know that you had a stint with Paramount Pictures, too.

 

Gregory:

Yes, sir. As you know, we partner with them to make our film Same Kind of Different As Me. I love that film by the way.

 

Ron:

Well, thank you. I mean, it was a thrill to be on that Paramount lot i can tell you it was, I couldn’t believe it was like I was walking in a dream. Every day I spent a number of months there and post production and things like that. But you know, when you’re talking about your father, I am very sympathetic to a father like that. Because when I was growing up, my father’s best friend was a bottle of Jim Beam whiskey. And my brother and I were in a far distant second place, but I never really got to know him until he was in his late 80s. Probably pushing 90 when he finally stopped drinking. And it’s amazing how my friend Denver, my homeless friend encouraged me to go bless the hell out of my father. And those last three years of his life became some of the most beautiful you years of my life as I got to finally know the father I had never known. And oh, I gotta tell you this one story right fast though this is not about me. But I was just interviewing a young man a couple of days ago, that his name, he’s from Boston and his name is Andre Norman. At 17 years old, he was facing more than 100 years in a Massachusetts maximum security prison. And as we were going through our conversation, he told me that the absence of a father is the number one reason most young men end up in prison. Right. But the good news is while he was in prison, he found his heavenly father who helped him get paroled after only 14 years. And what is even more amazing is his God, His heavenly Father inspired him to become an ambassador of hope and and apply to Harvard as a fellow as a fellowship. And he got it. And I was I thought you would appreciate that being both an ambassador and a Harvard man, that Andre Norman, who now has the Academy of hope, where he ministers to young men in prisons and schools all across America would be an ambassador and a Harvard man, but without a father. And what a young fine young man he has become.

 

Gregory:

Great story.

 

Ron:

But now I want to get back on to Be a Better Dad Today. And I wouldn’t know at this day and age, what is the most important concept that a family a whole family can grasp as we dedicate ourselves to being a better Dad?

 

Gregory:

Very good question.

 

Ron:

Thanks, I happen to have a copy right here and let me just mention that it’s available on Amazon or anywhere fine books are sold, and I have it right here.

 

Gregory:

The book has sold almost a million copies globally. It’s in like, 20 different languages. And we give all royalties to charity as specifically to family and fatherhood, motherhood charity. So, so that’s important, including our Family Foundation, which is called the Family First.

Thank you, Ron. But you know, I think there are lots of important concepts for moms and moms and dads, but I think the number one most important concept is recognizing this is the most important job I have. You know, I’ve been an ambassador, I’ve been a CEO. You’ve had some very big time roles, all those roles come and go. Right. And, you know, they stop at some point; being a father, being a mom never ends. If you do a good job, you get a promotion, Grandpa, Grandma, it never ends right. You’re always a dad, you’re always a mom. And by the way, it’s the only job that has eternal literally eternal rewards, right? And searches now show that a good father, a good mother not just impacts

Click to Read Transcript

Ron:

So, welcome to my show, my friend, the Honorable Gregory Slayton.

 

Gregory:

Hey, Ron, thanks very much. It’s a real pleasure to be here. Always good to see you.

 

Ron:

Oh, my pleasure to do you know, that’s a very cool thing to have that title. And there’s a very small percentage of people in the world that have that title. Honorable, how does that come about?

 

Gregory:

Well, many different ways for different folks. For me, personally, I was the US chief of mission to Bermuda, aka the Ambassador. For four years, I had the honor of being appointed by George W. Bush and then extended twice by President Obama. So it’s really interesting to work under both Republican and Democratic administrations.

 

Ron:

You know, it’s interesting, I had the same thing. I served in the State Department, President under President Bush and then I was held on Over for three years under Obama in the State Department as well. So it was a very, very interesting contrast of two administrations.

 

Gregory:

Indeed.

 

Ron:

But you know what I thought about Father’s Day. And of course, this is when I think of Father’s Day, I actually think of you probably more than my father because he’s been gone for so long now. But I immediately knew that your book, his story would be the best source of inspiration for our listeners. So first of all, I just like to know what are you going to be doing on Father’s Day?

 

Gregory:

Thanks, Ron. I always spend Father’s Day with my family. I’m always invited to speak here, there, whatever. And I always decline every invitation because you know, Father’s Day you got to be with the family.

 

Ron:

Exactly. Well, I feel the same way… but before we dive into what I think is this fascinating and by the way, a beautifully written, personal journey. I want the listeners to get to know you, Gregory a little better had to say that you’ve had a full life would be that maybe be the biggest understatement ever. So take us back, give us a little brief overview of what I consider your absolutely mind-boggling professional career.

 

Gregory:

Well, that’s very kind of ironic. I can only think about my namesake, Winston Churchill; my middle name is Winston. And he once said, ‘Well, you know, Mr. Smith is a very modest man and he has much to be modest about.’ And I feel that way about myself. I have a lot to be humble about. I made a lot of mistakes, but I’ve been deeply blessed. My father, I should start off by saying this my father did abandon my brothers and myself when we were young, and my mom and infamously, he wrote us a letter and it’s a letter which I will never forget. He started off with boys. I’m leaving. I never want to hear from you again. I never want to see you again. I never want to have anything to do with you again for the rest of my life. Well, that’s my blood… and well, yeah, and that’s kind of thing you know, here we are 40 years later and I’d never really fully recovered beyond it, you know, but no, but our God has even in the most disastrous situations, he can, he can put things back together even more beautiful. So, a Chinese family moved into my town and Port Washington, New York, they had a son my age, who became my Chinese brother; he looked different than me, spoke different than me, was totally different background. We became best friends in a matter of months. And it was there his family that sort of adopted me. I would eat there and sleep there, learn Chinese there, ate with, you know, chopsticks and stuff. Most importantly, I noticed there was a big difference between his family, my family, um, first of all, in his family, people weren’t getting drunk and throwing things at each other. I liked that a lot.

 

Ron:

I know I had one of those.

 

Gregory:

And, you know, people had problems. They had issues. They were immigrants. They just come from China to Taiwan, Taiwan to America. But you know, they worked things out. And there was some really different things about them. I mean, they read the Bible, like, nobody, I knew even had a Bible. You know, blood, right. And they prayed before meals, I found that really wonderful, kind of peaceful, and that was lovely. And then with church, they did not force me to become a Christian. But my Chinese dad did give me my first ever bible. And that was about 13 years old. And I remember telling him I said, You know, I said, Dad, that’s great. Thank you so much. But, you know, nobody believes the Bible anymore. It’s full of old wives tales and made up stories, because that’s what I had always heard from my family. And my Chinese dad was so wise, he said, You Gregory, you’re a smart, young man. Have you ever read this book for yourself? We didn’t even have a Bible. So of course, it’s simple. You know, I understand that this book is the best selling book in the world by a factor of 10. And even though I’m not a Westerner, I’m pretty sure that much of Western civilization is based in part or in very much so on this book. So don’t you think you should read it? I say, you know, it’s a great idea. He said, Well, you know, your brother will help you. There’s an Old Testament and New Testament, you might want to start with the parts about Jesus, I’d heard of Jesus, but no idea. What is this Jesus? Right. And that was how my faith started. So, in a way, although, of course, my father leaving was a disaster for me and my brothers and my family, in a very real way. The Lord used it to begin my faith journey, and to take me, you know, into places to your question that I probably would never have been, so I’m thankful even for that.

 

Ron:

And so I know that you went to Dartmouth.

 

Gregory:

Yes, sir. Wonderful love it, you know, the smallest northernmost Ivy League school, but I loved it had a wonderful time there. I was on my way to Harvard Law School and actually was baptized in my senior year at Dartmouth, my Chinese brother came up from Brown and he and my pastor baptize me in the Connecticut River. I was on my way to Harvard Law School, I felt the still small voice talking to me about that that was not the way, so I declined. Harvard Law School, my mom thought I was out of my mind. And I stuck around at Dartmouth for a little while to grow my faith really, and then applied for a Fulbright scholarship, which that year was much more difficult to get a Fulbright than it was to get into Harvard Law School.

I was granted a Fulbright scholarship which was fantastic. So I went to Asia. My Chinese family and I went to Asia, three years, their wonderful experience, loved it. And I did a master’s in Asian Studies. Just great. After that I worked for two years for World Vision in Africa. So really began my multinational career back then, Harvard Business School for a couple of years, did my MBA there and got married, and married my wife of 30 years, we have four wonderful kids. And that’s when I began my truly my professional career, which is including being a venture capitalist in Silicon Valley and backing Google and salesforce.com when they were real small. Yeah, just a wonderful, a lot of wonderful experiences. I was with McKinsey and Company for five years, one of the finest consulting firms in the world. Just, you know, with this, the Lord has blessed me.

 

Ron:

I know that you had a stint with Paramount Pictures, too.

 

Gregory:

Yes, sir. As you know, we partner with them to make our film Same Kind of Different As Me. I love that film by the way.

 

Ron:

Well, thank you. I mean, it was a thrill to be on that Paramount lot i can tell you it was, I couldn’t believe it was like I was walking in a dream. Every day I spent a number of months there and post production and things like that. But you know, when you’re talking about your father, I am very sympathetic to a father like that. Because when I was growing up, my father’s best friend was a bottle of Jim Beam whiskey. And my brother and I were in a far distant second place, but I never really got to know him until he was in his late 80s. Probably pushing 90 when he finally stopped drinking. And it’s amazing how my friend Denver, my homeless friend encouraged me to go bless the hell out of my father. And those last three years of his life became some of the most beautiful you years of my life as I got to finally know the father I had never known. And oh, I gotta tell you this one story right fast though this is not about me. But I was just interviewing a young man a couple of days ago, that his name, he’s from Boston and his name is Andre Norman. At 17 years old, he was facing more than 100 years in a Massachusetts maximum security prison. And as we were going through our conversation, he told me that the absence of a father is the number one reason most young men end up in prison. Right. But the good news is while he was in prison, he found his heavenly father who helped him get paroled after only 14 years. And what is even more amazing is his God, His heavenly Father inspired him to become an ambassador of hope and and apply to Harvard as a fellow as a fellowship. And he got it. And I was I thought you would appreciate that being both an ambassador and a Harvard man, that Andre Norman, who now has the Academy of hope, where he ministers to young men in prisons and schools all across America would be an ambassador and a Harvard man, but without a father. And what a young fine young man he has become.

 

Gregory:

Great story.

 

Ron:

But now I want to get back on to Be a Better Dad Today. And I wouldn’t know at this day and age, what is the most important concept that a family a whole family can grasp as we dedicate ourselves to being a better Dad?

 

Gregory:

Very good question.

 

Ron:

Thanks, I happen to have a copy right here and let me just mention that it’s available on Amazon or anywhere fine books are sold, and I have it right here.

 

Gregory:

The book has sold almost a million copies globally. It’s in like, 20 different languages. And we give all royalties to charity as specifically to family and fatherhood, motherhood charity. So, so that’s important, including our Family Foundation, which is called the Family First.

Thank you, Ron. But you know, I think there are lots of important concepts for moms and moms and dads, but I think the number one most important concept is recognizing this is the most important job I have. You know, I’ve been an ambassador, I’ve been a CEO. You’ve had some very big time roles, all those roles come and go. Right. And, you know, they stop at some point; being a father, being a mom never ends. If you do a good job, you get a promotion, Grandpa, Grandma, it never ends right. You’re always a dad, you’re always a mom. And by the way, it’s the only job that has eternal literally eternal rewards, right? And searches now show that a good father, a good mother not just impacts their children or their children’s children but down to the fourth and fifth generation.

So the impact that you can have can last for hundreds of years, and then in eternity. So I think the most important thing wrong is recognizing this is really important. I’ve got to do a good job.