At Bryant’s 159th Commencement Ceremonies on Saturday, May 21, 2022, William J. Conaty ’67, ‘22H delivered the Commencement Address and shared his expert perspective honed over a distinguished career as a world leader in talent management. As the former Senior Vice President, Corporate Human Resources at General Electric Company, Conaty was the human resources leader for over 300,000 GE employees worldwide and is widely acclaimed for his track record of innovation.
In his remarks to the graduates, Conaty noted Bryant’s Class of 2022 as an untapped “sea of talent,” and said, “A college degree is a huge differentiator, but since there are no guarantees in life, you need to figure out how to optimize the benefits that your degree provides you… Show your character, show your grit, jump into the deep end of the pool, and take advantage of the opportunity that’s out there. I know you will do it.”
Don’t forget in the end that Bryant provided you with the edge to be successful. You have an opportunity to give back and make us proud every day by becoming role models in your chosen fields. Make an impact.
Among the words of advice Bryant’s former Chair of the Board of Trustees offered for Class of 2022 graduates as they step up to start new careers around the world, were these top universal tips for success:
- Be as flexible, adaptable and mobile as you possibly can in your career. Global assignments are totally invaluable.
- Stay true to your personal values and never make compromises on integrity.
- Become a problem solver... Once you have identified a problem, have a point of view and bring a response and solution. You will gain a lot more traction by being someone who can solve problems rather than just identify them.
- Show courage and conviction to take risks. Don’t be afraid to fail and make a mistake. Just don’t make the same one twice if you can avoid it!
- Take your work seriously, but don’t take yourself that seriously. If you can’t occasionally laugh at yourself as you’re moving through life and your career, you’re in for some long days… Keep it lose; be intense, but don’t wear it on your sleeve. Maintain a sense of humor and humility. Arrogance can be a career killer no matter what profession you are in.
- Always be a continuous learner- our faculty are a great example of that. Never, never, stop learning.
- Remember that great leaders have an uncanny ability to balance their passion for business and their career with compassion for people. You need to be able to balance that.
- Don’t forget in the end that Bryant provided you with the edge to be successful. You have an opportunity to give back and make us proud every day by becoming role models in your chosen fields. Make an impact.
For nearly 160 years, Bryant University has been at the forefront of delivering an exceptional education that anticipates the future and prepares students to be innovative leaders of character in a changing world. The University delivers a uniquely integrated academic and student life experience with nationally recognized academic programs at the intersection of business, STEM and the liberal arts. Located on a 428-acre contemporary campus in Smithfield, R.I., Bryant enrolls approximately 3,800 undergraduate and graduate students from 38 states and 49 countries. Bryant is recognized as a top 1% national leader in student education outcomes and ROI and regularly receives high rankings from U.S. News and World Report, Money, Bloomberg Businessweek, Wall Street Journal, College Factual and Barron’s. Visit www.bryant.edu.