I first met Greg 18 years ago – he was a senior member of the investment group at Schwab and I was fresh out of college, placed as a temp worker in his department. We bonded right away, especially over our shared Asian heritage and the cultural expectations when it came to helping and providing for our parents. It was clear how much he cared for his mom and that it was a driving force for him. When my temp placement ended, Greg took the lead on hiring me as a permanent junior analyst. I remember him saying to me – “I know you haven’t studied finance, but you just graduated from a good school and you’re smart. This isn’t rocket science…I can teach you everything you need to know.” I especially liked Greg because he treated me like a person with potential, not just some young kid who didn’t know anything. He took the time to explain things to me, always had an open door policy and went to bat for me when needed. He became my mentor, a close friend and confidant.
Even outside of work, he went above and beyond, showing that he cared for me not just as an employee, but also as a human being. He lent me one of his cars to take road trips; he helped me pick out and buy a bicycle; and he never let me pay for a lunch or drink when we were out together. One of my favorite memories of Greg was before a work conference we attended: I decided to bring my boyfriend at the time, who was far from a finance type – he was a graphic designer and heavily tattooed. He admitted he was a little nervous to socialize with our industry folk and thought he might wear long sleeve shirts (in Arizona!) to avoid judgment. When I mentioned this to Greg, he got very serious and told me he absolutely should not cover himself up, and if anyone treats him poorly or makes him feel uncomfortable, I should tell him and he they will have to answer to him. He always had my back.
After a few years of working with Greg, I decided I wanted to make the move out of San Francisco to New York. I was dreading sharing this news with Greg, given all he had done for me. But once I did, I knew I had nothing to worry about. He immediately started brainstorming potential jobs, contacted his connections in NY and even helped me negotiate my next job offer. Greg did so much for me professionally, but it was clear he did it because he cared for me as a person. Even a decade after we’d been colleagues, I called him to talk about a business venture I was working on and he instantly pledged his support and threw some money behind it.
It is no surprise he became an outspoken and involved animal rights activist. Greg shows compassion and caring in all that he does – whether with his family, friends, or co-workers, and he treated animals no differently. I remember he and Alysoun adopting two unruly dogs and recounting stories of some of the challenges they were facing. Someone suggested he was in over his head and should return the animals – this was never an option for him.
It is still difficult to think that such an important person in my life is no longer with us. His legacy is being honored, however, in such a wonderful and impactful way through his wife Alysoun and the Gregory J. Reiter fund.