• Multicultural Financial Advisor Forum

Throwback: Carla Harris Shares Wisdom at Multicultural Leader Summit 2015

At the 2015 Multicultural Leadership Summit in Atlanta, Morgan Stanley's Carla Harris tells how her grandmother founded a business and gave Carla a start.

There are fewer than 40 days until Morgan Stanley’s highly anticipated 2017 Multicultural Leadership Summit. The summit will be in Chicago on March 1st-3rd, 2017, and feature over 300 of Morgan Stanley’s top financial advisors and managers from across the country. Attendees will dig deep into targeted content centering on modern wealth, entrepreneurship, leadership and innovation.

As the summit nears, this forum will continue to highlight some of the best presentations from year’s past. The latest “throwback” comes from the 2015 Summit and Morgan Stanley Vice Chairman and Senior Client Advisor Carla Harris. Speaking to a packed house, Carla explained how, “I am standing on the shoulders of Miss Emma Jane Smith. That was my fraternal grandmother, or as I call her, Grandmama.

“She was about 5'2”, said Carla, “but for the longest time, I thought she was 6'5" because she was a no-joke kind of sister. She was the first female entrepreneur that I ever met. In 1941, when most women would not dare to start a business, and certainly no African American women, she started her own business.

“And her motivation? She wanted to be in charge. She started a beer tavern on the east side of Jacksonville, Florida,” Carla said. “Better known as a ‘juke joint.’

“And my grandmother was the most successful person in my entire family. She was an amazing businesswoman. And from her, I learned about money. From her, I learned about power. From her, I learned about wealth. And from her, I also learned about treating other people with compassion and kindness, but always understanding the significance of the business.

“My grandmother was my first employer. When I was 13 years old, she figured out how good I was at math and she fired her accountant and said, ‘You can do my books.’

“So from there, I was her accountant; I filed her sales taxes, her state taxes, and I watched how she did her business.

“She would always say to me, ‘Baby, whatever you be, be good at it. If you want to be a garbage man, be the best garbage man swingin' on the back of that truck. Whatever you do, give it your all."

To see Carla’s full presentation, please watch the video above. Stay tuned for more “throwbacks” and details leading up to and following the 2017 summit. And don’t worry, if you can’t make it to Chicago, you’ll have an opportunity to engage in the conversation through local forums.