Growing up in Albuquerque, N.M., R. Martin (Marty) Chavez relied on his mother’s wisdom to help him forge his personal and professional identities.
“I remember sitting around the dinner table and by brother said, ‘I want to do something that helps Hispanics,’” Chavez said at an April Haas Dean’s Speaker Series event, co-sponsored by the Berkeley Culture Center. “My mom said, ‘that’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. If you really want to help Hispanics, be really successful and be really visible, and that’s the way you can help Hispanics.’”
Chavez went on to do just that. After serving in a variety of senior roles at the investment banking company Goldman Sachs, he is now vice chairman and partner of Sixth Street, a San Francisco-based global investment firm.
A trailblazer who was among the most senior openly gay Latino Wall Street executives, Chavez helped turn trading into a software business by using data-based modeling.
“One thing that Goldman taught me is we don’t predict the future, because we can’t,” Chavez said. “Anyone who’s predicting the future is a charlatan.” Instead, he said, focus on having a “really deep model of what is going on right now, and then you can inspect that model and maybe you’ll find things that can go wrong in the future.”
A successful professional life, Chavez added, is about striking a work-life balance.
“There is just your life, and your short, sacred list of personal priorities,” he said. “Know those priorities. Make every choice according to the waterfall of your priorities.” Chavez shared his priorities, which start with “peace of mind” (which includes sleep and meditation), family, and then work.
“If (work) is not on your top-three list of priorities, you’re in the wrong company,” Chavez said.
Watch the conversation on Youtube.