Centre for Business Convocation Ceremony 2021 | George Brown College
(bright music) - Madam chancellor, madam president, George Brown College faculty and staff, graduates, family and friends of graduates, it is my distinct pleasure to extend congratulations to our graduates today. On behalf of your many professors and our staff, who have supported and guided you during your time with us at the Center for Business, and who ensured that you had the opportunity to enjoy the full benefit of the George Brown College experience, we salute you on the successful completion of your program. Congratulations from us all. We are now celebrating the fruits of your labor.
It is your commitment and determination that has earned you the credential that you are being awarded today. You can proudly proclaim your status of graduate and alumni of George Brown College. As alumni, you now join an illustrious group of individuals who proudly represent George Brown College wherever they go. At the commencement of your studies, we said that we were all looking forward to working with you, contributing to your growth and development, getting to know you, and helping you to get to know us.
This has all come together beautifully culminating in your graduation. So we are celebrating, coming to the end of this segment of your journey and the commencement of your bright future. A future that is filled with possibilities, but one that will challenge you constantly to make good decisions and choices as you seek out those possibilities. Your journey is underway.
You may be just entering the professional world or taking a new direction. Either way, the road ahead is bright with opportunities awaiting you, it's all yours for the taking. Grab a hold of those opportunities as they come.
I promise you, that with this George Brown credential in hand and your continued commitment to your career field, the opportunities will come. A lot of what you do from here on will be influenced by the time spent at George Brown College. Our faculty have worked tirelessly to meet your needs as students, the expectations of employers and the challenges of industry. Let us acknowledge the faculty and staff of the Center for Business, whose dedication helped to get you to this point. We must also recognize others, who provided moral, financial, emotional, and other kinds of support, particularly when the journey got rough, especially during COVID-19 pandemic.
Let's acknowledge the support network that stood by you, during good times and tough times and who are now cheering you on and celebrating with you. Family, friends, loved ones. Before I close, over the years as I have spoken at convocations, I always like to leave graduates with their nugget of knowledge. Last year, I spoke about emotional intelligence, for you this year it is cultural intelligence. It is a capability to relate and work effectively across cultures.
Today's workplace is much more multicultural and diverse than previously. Workplaces are a multi-ethnic, multi-national, multi-racial, multi-generational, multi-religious. As a result, you will be working with people with different cultural reference points. It is therefore incumbent upon you, to develop the skill and confidence to work effectively in such environments as you enter into your post graduation world.
Toronto, one of the most diverse and multicultural cities in the world, is the perfect laboratory for developing your cultural intelligence. It is of paramount significance for your career. And that's my nugget of knowledge for you.
We are all very proud of your accomplishments. You join in the footsteps of other grads who've gone before you, who are now making a name for themselves, not just in the Greater Toronto area, but around the world. You are in great company.
Again, congratulations from us all, well done. - Listen, I am so proud of you. It's Mike "Pinball" Clemons here, and I like to start with a little poem by Prince EA.
He said this, he says, the average adult today looks down at his cell phone for four years of his life. Kind of ironic, ain't it? How these touch screens have made us lose touch, but there's no where in the world with so many iMags and iPads and iPhone. So many I's, so many selfies, not enough us's and we's, you see technology has made us more selfish and separate than ever before.
And while they claim to connect us, connection has gotten no better. Excuse me, Mr. Zuckerberg, not to be rude, but would you reclassify Facebook to what it really is, an anti-social network? Because while we may have big friend list, so many of us are friendless all alone, because relationships are more broken than the screens of our very phones. We sit in our home, measuring self-worth by the number of followers and likes, ignoring those who actually love us. It seems you are then writing angry posts to talk to someone we might actually hug us. Maybe it's me but I talked to a friend the other day and I says, "Hey, let's meet up face-to-face."
He said, "All right what time you wanna Skype?" I followed up with OMG, SRS and did a bunch of SMHs. Then I thought, what about me? Do I not have the patience to have conversation without abbreviation? This is a generation of media overstimulation, chat server reduces snaps, it uses 140 characters. And video goes to six seconds at high speed. You wonder why ADD is on the rise faster than 4GLT, but get a load of this, they say, be attention span of the average adult today is one second less than that of a goldfish. This poem goes on and on and on, and it finishes like this. It says, "I look forward to the day when we smile when we have low batteries, because it's only then we will be one bar closer to humanity."
Today there are so many distractions, so many things going on and I want to leave you with three simple ideas. Here we go, number one is just work hard. Put your time in. We like to call it grinding, right? Put your time in, work hard.
That's number one. Number two. I like to talk about this thing about letting E go.
Does that make sense? Let E go. So many times our challenge is that well we don't own up to our mistakes and the challenges we have when we let E go it frees us up, right? To embrace the challenges and the different things that are going to go. And the reality is, is that adversity in life is guaranteed. It's not, whether have adversity, but how you deal with that adversity that will determine your success in life. Adversity in life is guaranteed.
Do you know what it means not to have adversity? It means your dead. So it's better than the alternative. So one, I really want you to just grind to put your time in, understand that that's where it happens. Number two is, really to let E go, embrace those challenges. They are going to come.
Challenges are guaranteed. It's not whether you have challenges but how you deal with them, that will determine your success in life. And finally, I wanna encourage you to build bridges, not fences, yes. Those three, number one, put your time in, work hard, get your grind on. Number two, embrace the challenges, they are going to come. They are part of your success.
If you haven't failed lately you haven't challenged yourself enough lately. You gotta get out of your comfort zone to grow, in doing so, let's make sure that we put all we can into all we do, so that we will be comfortable with what we become. And finally, I want to ask you to build bridges, not fences. Now we can put some fancier words around them like the first idea, right? Working hard, that's leadership.
You say leadership isn't that? No, no, no, no. As you begin, you need to understand, right? That we follow excellence When you see the guy, he has the C on his chest in hockey or the captain of the basketball team, or the captain of the football team. They're the captain because they're the best. You see it almost every time. Tom Brady is the captain of his team, right? Michael Jordan was the captain of his team.
You see, they worked so hard at their craft that people wanted to be like them, they wanted to follow them. The work comes first. Leadership we often think of is something that we say audibly, but people follow people they are impressed by, and that's related to their talent. I wanna challenge you, leadership number one, I started a fancy word for it, number two is ownership. Remember we talked about, really embracing those challenges own those challenges, own them, they're yours. And the next one is, relationship, building bridges, not fences.
You see, we can be very simple. We just said, it's hard work, because they let E go, right? Or we can say leadership and ownership. And finally, I believe the most important one of those is relationship. How we relate to people is more important than anything else. And while you're at it, I want you to remember too well, do good and help others.
Ultimately, that's our great responsibility here on earth, is to do good, to do the right things and to help others along the way. So there you have it, right? Leadership, ownership, and relationship. If you can figure out how to do those three things they will lead to the championship. There's a wonderful quote that says the heart of a champion is not just about what you've won or what you've done, it's an attitude. It's a way of life, is how you live and what you stand for. It's the foundation for your whole life and existence.
Indeed the heart of a champion is not just something you have, it's something you are. Leadership, ownership, relationship, it's something you are. Let me leave you with this one from the great coach Vince Lombardi, he says, "When a football player goes to apply his trade he's gotta play from the soles of his feet right up to his head."
He says, "Now some players play with their head. And that's a good thing because you have to be smart to be successful in any business." He says, "But more importantly, you have to play with your heart, with every fiber of your body."
He says, "Now, if you're ever lucky enough to find a player with a great head and a great heart he'll never come off the field in second place." You're all winners heading towards the championship through leadership, ownership and relationship. Congratulations. - Madam chancellor, Madam president, George Brown college faculty and staff, graduates, family and friends, you're welcome.
It is a great honor for me to speak on behalf of you, my fellow students, these day is very special. I feel pride, gratitude and joy. I'm happy to express our common appreciation to the college staff, professors and each other today. For all us these past year has been challenging, but we made it, we graduated and we should be proud of ourselves.
We matured, broadened our horizons and changed our vision. Realized the limits of our capabilities, increased the scope of our desires and became more confident. We didn't give up, and now it is time to celebrate and reflect on other one journey. Dear professors, we've value your time and effort put towards the development of our technical and soft skills. Most of the lectures included an application component based on the theory learned. And these help us imagine what our future jobs would look like.
It was like a flight simulation, one of the best ways to tell us the future. Besides being grateful for your shared wisdom and knowledge I would like to thank you for your continuous support for creating a positive and inclusive environment, and for believing in us. You were always open to offering additional assistance outside class and office hours. When we were struggling or had a myriad of questions, we appreciate it. Often academic success depends on yourself, your hard work, dedication, and ambitions, your results are a direct reflection of your efforts and persistence with a touch of luck. However, people surrounding you play a very important role in your success.
During our studies, we had a lot of group projects while working in teams we had a chance to discuss various opinions, viewpoints and carefully use decision-making. These experience help us to see both our strengths and areas for improvement. We shared knowledge with and learned from our fellow classmates.
Such collaborations gave us an opportunity to learn about different cultures, interesting facts and traditions and people themselves. Culture diversity informed us and united us, and that's fantastic. The secret is group work is not about competitiveness, it's about creativity and the desire to be a part of something meaningful, a chance to be heard and understood.
And old Latin proverb says, by learning you will teach, by teaching you will learn. I know from my own experience, that is absolutely true. As many of you may know, that U-turn and learning center was an integral part of my journey at the college. like others who worked at the center. I had an opportunity to help students from different programs and assisted accountant professors when facilitating weekly tutorials. During these three years at the TLC I met a number of wonderful people, students and faculty with diverse backgrounds and the live stories tutoring helped me refine my own technical knowledge, critical thinking and communication skills.
These experience showed me the advantages of being systematic and methodical. It taught me to focus on the essence of the issue. These were inspiring times and maybe one day I will become a professor too. As someone born and raised in Eastern Europe it was not an easy decision to move to another continent. It was difficult at the beginning, new country, new society and new everything.
Self-discipline, time management and dedication played an important role during the study process leading to both academic and personal success. This would not have happened without a number of great individuals I met at school. These were wonderful years, full of warmth and support. As my mother has always told me education is key, and she was right. No matter what career path you have chosen or are still choosing, you should be confident that George Brown College has prepared us very well.
Now the future is in our hands.