From Manila to Wall Street - An Immigrant's Journey with the First Black Billion Dollar Dealmaker


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    My memoir, "Before From Manila to Wall Street - An Immigrant's Journey with the First Black Billion Dollar Dealmaker," is about one man’s fight against racism, a wrenching and honest love story where the protagonist does not get the girl, and a saga of American business at the end of the century when large corporations were gobbled up by people who no one had ever heard of, all with borrowed money.

    One black life did matter years ago. With the world changing before our eyes, I thought it would be both timely and topical for a book telling two stories. The first is about Reginald Lewis, a hard-charging black businessman who bid a billion dollars for Beatrice International in 1987, won the auction despite the odds but died at the age of 50. Set in the New York and Paris of the '80s and '90s when hostile takeovers targeted big companies, the book recounts his struggle to reach the top, only to see his attempt to become the first African American-controlled company listed on the New York Stock Exchange foiled and his Hamptons mansion burned to the ground. He pushes his way into the ownership of a Fifth Avenue apartment at a time when blacks were not allowed to live there, then dies a month after moving in.

    The second story is my journey as a young Filipino immigrant at Reg's side as a Nick Carraway-type character to his Gatsby. I make it to the big-time corporate life in New York, only to discover after my wife leaves me that power, glory and riches can bring loneliness and isolation and that true happiness and fulfillment lies in helping others. After I return to the Philippines, I find myself leading a disaster foundation that battles a super typhoon, war and the Covid virus. The memoir runs 69,000 words.

    I have worked with four Grub Street editors and taken a Grub Street memoir class with E.B. Bartels. Black Enterprise magazine published an excerpt of my memoir in May as did the newspaper, Philippine Star, while the African American community in Durham, North Carolina flew me over and paid for me to speak at their Black Wall Street Conference. Audible issued an audio book of Reg's biography, "Why Should White Guys Have All The Fun?" on September 10. A movie on his life is under development at a major Hollywood agency.

    There are some 55,000 public relations professionals and thousands more PR students, it being one of the most popular majors in the U.S. They would be attracted to the book because the practice of PR in New York City forms a key part of the story. I have contacted a Speakers Bureau to possibly set up a tour of historically black colleges once the book is out. There are 108 of them with 228,000 students. Black Enterprise has agreed to host podcasts for me once the book is published. There should be a broader audience for the book as well because of its fascination with the American Dream and its limits.

    In addition, there are over four million Filipino Americans in the U.S., where I have been closely working with its leaders and representatives such as NaFFA and the International Office of Migration to promote engagement and learning exchange between Filipino diaspora to those from Haiti, Bangladesh, etc.

    I am a founding member of the UN Connecting Business initiative (CBi), bringing together 13 countries in the Asia-Pacific, to engage the private sector in disaster response and recovery.

    Video


    Tune in to the AUDIOBOOK VERSION

    Reginald F. Lewis' best-selling autobiography as an Audiobook will inspire a new generation to dream big, and to keep going, no matter what.

    Groundbreaking autobiography of first African American billion-dollar dealmaker available soon as an Audiobook

    “Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun?” How Reginald Lewis Created a Billion-Dollar Business Empire will be downloadable at Audible.com.

    New York City — Reginald F. Lewis grew up in the late 1940s, a time when there were many things black people in Baltimore couldn’t do — such as try on clothes, shop at many downtown stores, eat in certain restaurants, or go to certain movie theaters. When six-year-old Lewis overheard his grandparents talking about discrimination and how racism was getting in the way of accomplishing things, he asked, “Why should white guys have all the fun?”

    Little did they know, that young boy would grow up to shatter glass ceilings — by becoming the first billion-dollar dealmaker in America, and one of the wealthiest African Americans in history. At the time of his death in 1993, Lewis had a vast commercial empire that spanned four continents.

    What began as an unfinished autobiography was made complete with interviews and stories from his family, friends, and colleagues. The result is a book that cuts through the myth and media hype to reveal the man behind the legend, and a vivid portrait of an enthusiastic, fiercely determined individual who would settle for nothing less than excellence from himself and others.

    Reviews

    Loida Nicolas Lewis, Chair of The Reginald F Lewis Foundation and former CEO of Tlc Beatrice International

    Butch Meily is the quintessential Bud Fox of the movie "Wall Street" a brilliant and ambitious participant in the high stakes game of thé 1980’s

    Butch Meily is the quintessential Bud Fox of the movie « Wall Street » a brilliant and ambitious participant in the high stakes game of thé 1980’s. In the process, he lost perspective of what really matters in his life. He finds redemption in serving his people hit by disasters. So his story continues.

    Richard V. Croghan is a retired educator and former Associate Dean at the University of New Mexico

    As a great literary piece, it also reflects on the true meaning and purpose of life.

    This memoir introduces you to the world of business and big mergers. As a great literary piece, it also reflects on the true meaning and purpose of life. It is written with clarity and honesty. The reader will find his life enriched by this book.

    Kurt Kent, Professor Emeritus - University of Florida

    From Manila to Wall Street and Back lays bare the triumph and tragedy of a meteoric rise to the top of the business world during the end of the Twentieth Century and the beginning of the Twenty-First.

    From Manila to Wall Street and Back lays bare the triumph and tragedy of a meteoric rise to the top of the business world during the end of the Twentieth Century and the beginning of the Twenty-First.  The endless days, the trans-Atlantic dashes, the shouting and verbal abuse ... accompanied by fabulous dinners, stays at the best hotels, unbelievable salaries ... in the end added up to great sadness.  The author learned well his lessons about love and life, but learned them too late to save what was most precious.  All the years of helping the leading black entrepreneur run an enormous international corporation were viewed in a new light following his leader's early death.  Experience the lows and highs of an amazing journey from a young international student at a huge U.S. university to trusted No. 2 at an enormous cross-national enterprise.  And at the end, share the author's deep satisfaction at his new, all-absorbing passion:  helping those who have fallen victim to the ills imposed by nature.

    WRITING

    This is a story of lost love, of friendships formed, and American business at the turn of the century.


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