A word from a CEO #61

Wisdom, motivation, advice

“These are unusual times, but it does not take away from what each of you have accomplished. Due to what’s going on in the world today, you won’t have an opportunity to participate in the usual pomp and circumstance that surrounds your graduation. The actual receiving of your diploma in front of hundreds or even thousands of people. The parties and celebrations (at least the parties that are greater than 10 people).

You won’t have the chance to hear a famous commencement speaker address you. You’re stuck with me. The same finance guy that talks too much every week. But the thing that this pandemic cannot take away is the pride that each of you should feel when you get up and you look in the mirror and you say ‘I did it’. It can’t take away the pride your parents, your colleagues, your grandparents, your siblings, your significant others feel when they tell their friends and their colleagues of what you’ve accomplished, because believe me, they will.

No pandemic or lockdown can take that away, because that’s inside you. And inside your loved ones. And that never goes away. That’s the important thing with a graduation and what you’ve accomplished. So don’t dwell on what might have been from a celebration. But beam with pride in what you have accomplished.

Because we all know no matter your background, your school, none of this was easy. It’s been particularly hard in this environment, but it takes hard work, it takes perseverance. It takes a desire to be better. It takes a risk taker. And all of you have accomplished that.

I was asked as the elder person in the organization if I would do this commencement speech in order to impart some of my experiences and my learnings on you as you look to take the next steps in your life journey as a graduate. And first I want to thank you all for achieving this accomplishment. Continue with those qualities that got you here and continue to work hard. Continue to want to be better, continue to be a risk taker.

I am doing this address from here in the South End. It’s where my oldest son lived and as you know, he’s a big Kennedy fan so I think I’ll leave this commencement speech, with a couple of JFK quotes that are floating around in the halls of the South End White House, as I call it.

First: “Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly.”

You have all exhibited that risk mentality in your accomplishments today. And you’ll continue to exhibit that as you go through life.

And the second is “to those who much is given, much is expected.”

And with this achievement, much is expected as you go forward. So again, congratulations, all of you.”

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