Most graduation speakers give students a simple blueprint to take into the world as they embark on their professional journey. Too often the words uttered by these speakers dissipate with the euphoria of graduation and the stress of new challenges. However, as I sat listening to Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Thomas Friedman during Tulane’s graduation ceremony in 2011, I realized he was not disseminating a parsimonious outline of how to be successful; he was giving me the trappings of my life’s work. Throughout his speech he wove the revolutions inspired by the “Arab Spring” into how we (Americans) in this era of economic uncertainty and insecurity could create and sustain our own personal revolutions. There is a line in the speech that continues to inspire me as a person, as a leader, and as a mentor. He stated, “How do we dig inside ourselves for that something extra that will distinguish us in this increasingly flat, competitive world…Everybody’s got something extra to offer, you just have to discover yours. You have to find your revolution.” It is the last line that propels me everyday. Too often, revolution is seen as something nefarious, but in the work I do and the interactions I have, it is the greatest synonym of change. Thus, I am constantly asking, What’s Your Revolution?, and in that moment I hope people critically think about how their personal revolution can change the world.
Founder and President – Dr. Charles S. Corprew, III.