Fireside Chat: Newport’s Mayor Xay and James Rhee

May 7, 2024, 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Join us for a conversation between Mayor Xaykham Rexford Khamsyvoravong and his guest, James Rhee, founder and national bestselling author of red helicopter—a parable for our times (HarperOne).


red helicopter is an inspirational true story of finding success through kindness (plus a little math). It presents a comforting yet bold solution to the dissatisfaction and worry we all feel in a chaotic and sometimes terrifying world. Centered on revisiting the concept of agency, this business-memoir-philosophy book invites us to re-evaluate the measurements underlying the business of life and the life of business.


Rhee was a high school teacher turned private equity investor when he unexpectedly took the helm of Ashley Stewart, an iconic company predominantly employing and serving Black women. As a first-time CEO, he drew inspiration from the values his dying Korean immigrant parents instilled in him and trusted his instincts to identify, measure, and leverage the intangible goodwill at the company’s core. Together, they defied expectations and led the twice-bankrupt company from certain liquidation to a transcendent success, inspiring the world along the way.


Mayor Xay

Xaykham Rexford Khamsyvoravong, Esq., known as “Xay” (pronounced “sigh”) is a Rhode Island native, experienced civic leader and trusted expert on state and local finances, currently serving as the Mayor of Newport, RI. In his first term he championed policies to improve housing, infrastructure, education, and economic development while successfully coordinating the pursuit of state and federal funding.  Xay earned his BA in International Relations and Master of Public Affairs from Brown University, before graduating magna cum laude from Roger Williams University School of Law.


James Rhee is an acclaimed CEO, TED Speaker, private equity investor, and the Johnson Chair of Entrepreneurship at Howard University. He also holds appointments at MIT Sloan School of Management and Duke Law School. His transformational leadership has been recognized by leading civic and business organizations, including Ashoka, the National Retail Federation, the EY Entrepreneur of the Year program, the New York Urban League, and the Council of Korean Americans. He is an honors graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of Harvard Law Review. He lives outside of Boston, Massachusetts.


Tuesday, May 7th

5.30 pm

Harrison Room


To Register Click Here

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