Ryan Long had an amazing career and lived a generous life with his philanthropic and charitable work. Not many people can lay claim to the impressive amount of work Ryan did throughout his fleeting but fruitful life. Gerry Foster pays tribute to Ryan Long and the work he did in his lifetime. Ryan was an inspiration, and his many contributions to society will not be forgotten. Did you ever get to know Ryan and his work?
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Tribute To Ryan Long
I hope you’ve got tremendous value from my Dare To Go Big episodes, those rapid-fire interviews with 22 extraordinary entrepreneurs. We’re down on February 8th, 2020 at a spectacular event in Los Angeles called LACity Summit. City Summit was a dream come true for a young man who put on that event by the name of Ryan Long, who sadly, less than a month later on March 2nd passed away due to complications from a horrific car accident on February 17th. He was only 41 years old. I didn’t personally know Ryan. I had only met him once at a Business Growth Conference we both had the pleasure of speaking in Tampa, Florida. When I saw him at the LA City Summit, I didn’t expect him to remember me.
I finally recalled seeing him sitting by himself in the hotel restaurant during a lunch break. I walked over to his table, reintroduced myself and he immediately said, “Of course, I remember you. You’re the branding man.” I beamed. We both laughed and chatted for a few minutes. I told him that this was my first time attending his summit and that it had surpassed my expectations. We gave each other a hug and a high-five and that was it. Later that night, during my Podcast Blitz, as I was waiting between interviews, Ryan popped out of nowhere, stood next to me and grinned. He started laughing because he knew he had caught me by surprise. He then asked if I wanted to interview him for a few minutes. I quickly said, “Yes.” He started cracking up with that infectious big smile on his face.
Before I share that interview with you, I feel it’s important for you to know why I’m doing this. In my opinion, and you may feel the same way, it’s important that when a tragedy happens, we acknowledge and remember not only the people we know and love like our friends and family. Also, the people we may not know personally who come across our paths and touched our lives in a special way and that was Ryan. During his short time on this planet, Ryan Long did something as a social entrepreneur and philanthropist that were nothing short of admirable, exceptional, bold and daring. This guy spent nearly his entire career giving back and helping other people through amazing philanthropic and charitable work that he did.
He founded City Summit and Global Unity Foundation in 2014. It was and may continue to be because I personally do not know what the plan is to keep it going, an Annual Speaker Summit Award Show and a fundraising event held on the evening of the Grammy Awards or the Academy Awards. The ceremony honored the most successful people in various industries, including science, entertainment, business and philanthropy. The City Gala’s purpose is to support and raise awareness about solving the world’s global grand challenges and to provide financial assistance to nonprofits and to help entrepreneurs excel in the industry by connecting them with innovative business leaders.
It’s funny because Ryan also knew his way around Hollywood. From his first City Gala held in 2014, and I don’t know how he pulled this off, the ceremony featured Hollywood A-listers, People such as Director James Cameron, John Travolta, Matthew McConaughey, Richard Dreyfuss and Demi Moore. From Charlize Theron, Sean Penn, Halle Berry, Astronaut Buzz Aldrin and Ashton Kutcher to Robert De Niro, Quincy Jones and Russell Simmons. All have participated as speakers and honored guests at events Ryan Long produced. Like Ryan, a big part of their lives was about helping others surmount life hurdles. If you want to learn more about Ryan online, simply google his name and you can learn all about this fabulous young man.
I want to say this in closing and I will lead by sharing something Ryan once said, “Through experience, I’ve learned my purpose to assist, grow, learn and contribute.” Someone posted that quote on Ryan’s website and they also said that he was a warrior for change and advocate for the community. That’s poignant because it’s a reminder to those of us who dare to go big that to do great things, we must always be motivated to take charge, take bold risks and hone our skills to enable that boldness to be an asset.
Daring to go big always means being a leader. A leader in your industry, field, community or wherever you want your brand to take action to better the world and the lives of the people you impact, that is what his event is about. As you read what he shares with me, as you read his words, let them be a reminder to let the magic of boldness and going big take you farther and faster towards success. Ryan, my brother, off you go. May you find comfort in God’s embrace. May the angels carry you. May you always be surrounded by love knowing that heavenly angels fly with you wherever you roam. Also, may you now know that you are and always will be one of God’s special guardian angels protecting us, guiding us and helping to carry away all our burdens. May you rest in peace.
I am here with the man himself, Ryan Long. What you are doing here is incredible. What do you want people to know about what you’re doing?
It’s The City Summit. It’s a world-class business acceleration experience. I believe that we brought the best network of entrepreneurs together to share ideas, network and to have a great time.
Ryan Long: Ryan Long spent his entire career helping other people through philanthropic and charitable work.
Tell people about your brand because you’re brilliant at what you do and you’re successful at what you do. What do you think you’re offering here that is different than any other conference, any other thing that people think they can compare this to?
Mostly, we have billion-dollar founders as our speakers, people that have created real $1 billion brand businesses. Business owners should pay attention to those guys and listen to those type of guys. It’s the reason that IBM sponsored us. It’s the reason that the Summit has the reputation that it has is because these guys from the stage have created a real business and they’re teaching you what they did.
He gets the very best of the best, the cream of the crop here. This is no ordinary competition. Let me tell you something. This is my first time here. I’m blown away. I’ve been to a whole lot of conferences over the years, but this experience is second to none. What else? Anything you want people to know about you, Ryan?
What should be known about City Summit is that it’s a three-day experience. We have two days of the Summit, which is Business Acceleration and then we give back on the final day and the Gala. The reason that celebrities subscribed to what it is that we do is because of the humanitarian mission that we’re on. I believe that we grow so that we can give. That doesn’t matter whether it’s knowledge, if you grow in knowledge, you can give more wisdom. If you grow in wealth, you can give more to charity. If you grow in your business, you can give more. We grow so that we can give. It’s a perfect ending to have a City Summit followed by The City Gala that helps nonprofits that are starting up and serving people like homelessness and world hunger and human trafficking.
This is not some typical business growth conference where everybody’s like eat what you can kill and make money and all of that. You’re giving back. You’re making a difference in the world. This man has a heart for the people and humanity. That’s the thing that you’re laying out here. I’d never heard of anything like this. I’ve been around for a while doing this work for over 30 years. Your brand is what I call a Me Only One of a Kind Brand. Nobody does what he does. Nobody can do it like him. Those of you who are out there, check out the City Summit and the Gala. I’m thrilled to be here. I’m hyena happy. Take care brother.