1,460 days or four years (usually) is a personal journey to figure out the next 10-15,000 days of a professional career.
Megan O’Neil, a graduating senior at the University of Connecticut and recipient of the Martin Horn Scholarship poignantly recalled her 1,460-day journey to graduation. A story of wit and humor demonstrated the growth and change students experience as they begin to shape their path that will navigate the next 10-15,000 days.
I had the honor of addressing Megan’s graduating class at the 2018 Commencement Event for the Department of Communications, my alma mater. As the Distinguished Alumnus, I wanted to share a few words of advice for these future communicators, but also impress upon those in attendance that the state of the communications industry is full of great opportunities that lie ahead.
The future is bright and infinitely dynamic.
When I started my career in public relations, Google was a year old. Mark Zuckerberg was 14 and Amazon only sold books. I was nearly 10 years into my career when I was part of the AT&T Comms team that launched Apple’s iPhone… and that moment changed the world.
From when I left UConn to today, undoubtedly technology has changed our lives and how we conduct business, but most profoundly it’s changed how we communicate.
Simply put… We move ideas. This statement and ethos recently embraced by PAN is so simply representative of the state of the communications industry today and a key part of my message to graduates and parents.
My messages for the graduates:
There will be opportunities to sit across the table from people that have ideas that will change our world. It will be your job to figure out how to convert those ideas into the stories that resonate, provide context and empower advocates.
My message for the parents:
Behind most news, trends, new products and companies, is someone like your graduate that created that story and moved the market.
Innovation and change is the world we live in and it is good for business. With innovation and change comes opportunity, and today’s graduates will be faced with tremendous new opportunities as the integration of marketing activities dives deeper into the CMO organization. Being able to challenge the status quo and differentiate requires communicators to be skilled storytellers in every form.
The previous 1,460 days for new graduates have landed them at an exciting and dynamic time for the industry. While the early days of a new grad’s career will be difficult and overwhelming, take a moment, take a breath and seize the possibilities of life all around. There are so many opportunities within grasp… don’t let them pass by, control your own destiny and go for it.
In the next 1,460 days from today our industry will look vastly different and these new grads will have had a hand in shaping our world and our future.