Dennis Lockhart’s Advice to UGA Graduates

University of Georgia’s August 2011 graduates were honored by Dennis P. Lockhart, President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, as their commencement speaker.  Mr. Lockhart began by saying that he would not speak about the economy, since this is “supposed to be a happy occasion”.   Instead, he shared advice that he has given his daughter.   Paraphrasing Mr. Lockhart, his three key pieces of wisdom were:

  1. Be your own unique self.  Life is like a canvas, where each of you has the chance to paint your own unique portrait.  Don’t be afraid to take risks; and above all, live an interesting life. 
  2. Be true to your dreams and passions.  As life brings difficulty, don’t abandon your dreams and passions.  Life will test these, but don’t let sober reality empty your tank of passion or purpose.
  3. Improve whatever you touch.  There are no boring jobs if you set out to improve what you touch.  Think about the legacy you will leave behind in your work.  Set your own agenda and leave an imprint and add meaning to your life. 

 

Mr. Lockhart encouraged graduates to “respect your work; it’s one of life’s blessings.”  His words of wisdom struck me as being very relevant to each of us, whether we are just starting out in our careers, have been in the workforce for many years, or have moved into retirement.   As for organizations, those that actively engage employees in ways that encourage unique thinking, ignite passion and where they can leave a positive impact strengthen not only the company, but all who work there.    

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University of Georgia’s August 2011 graduates were honored by Dennis P. Lockhart, President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, as their commencement speaker. Mr. Lockhart began by saying that he would not speak about the economy, since this is “supposed to be a happy occasion”. Instead, he shared advice that he has given his daughter. Paraphrasing Mr. Lockhart, his three key pieces of wisdom were:

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