Top US Entrepreneur Inspired to Succeed by Reginald F. Lewis and his book “Why Should White Guys Have All The Fun?”
Real Estate Magnate Don Peebles Accepts the 2009 Reginald F. Lewis Award
East Hampton, NY: June 20, 2009 - Apart from memorials and monuments built in honor of the late Reginald F. Lewis such as as the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture in Baltimore, the Reginald F.Lewis International Law Center in Harvard University, the Reginald Lewis High School of Business and Law in Maryland, and The Lewis College in Sorsogon province, Philippines, there is no greater measure of the value of his life than the success of another person because he lived.
By his own declaration, R. Donahue Peebles, the most successful African American entrepreneur in US real estate would not be who he is today, if Reginald Lewis, someone he never met, never lived before him. And it doesn’t matter that Peebles heard about Mr. Lewis long after Lewis passed away in 1993.
“Before I ever opened the book Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun, Reginald Lewis’ biography, I didn’t know what was possible. But after reading it, I learned what could be done and what it takes to get here," Peebles said in his speech accepting the Reginald Lewis Award for successful African American entrepreneurs under age 50. The award ceremony was held in a special affair Lewis family estate in East Hampton New York this summer. Peebles, now 49, owns large real estate developments in New York, San Francisco, Las Vegas and Miami, totaling $4 billion worth of luxury hotels, high-rise residential buildings and top-of-the-line commercial properties.
He acknowledged that Reginald was his inspiration who got him started, but it was Loida Nicolas Lewis who took him on his journey to success. “While Reginald Lewis lived a great life, it was Loida Lewis who made sure the book about his life got written. It was Loida who went around and promoted the book. It was she who continued the Reginald Lewis Foundation, took over the billion dollar TLC Beatrice, and it was she who carried on his memory, his legacy.”
“And so, it is because of Loida Lewis that I wrote my book The Peebles Principles, and that I am now running a multi-million dollar company. The partnership of Reginald and Loida taught me what marriage is all about. They also taught me the power of entrepreneurship,” Peebles said. My father was an auto mechanic, my mother a secretary and my grandfather a doorman at Mariott…now, after 25 years, I own a Mariott. And so I am honored and humbled to accept the Reginald F. Lewis Award for Entrepreneurship because I am where I am because of what I learned from Reginald and Loida."