Commencement Presentation

Commencement Presentation

ORG300 – Applying Leadership Principles

Colorado State University – Global

Thank you Dr. Takeda-Tinker, for that very inspiring speech. I think I can speak for everyone when I say that we are truly thankful for all the work you have done for the University and all you have done to promote the success of students over the years.

I’d like to begin by saying good morning to the Board of Director members, the faculty, administrators, esteemed guests, alumni, students, and all of the family and friends present here today in support! This is a huge honor for myself and my family to be here today for this commencement celebration for the class of 2019. I congratulate the class of 2019, for we have finally made it! I’d like us all to take a minute to appreciate this moment because this will be a day to remember for several years to come, even though some of you may not remember a single word of what I am about to say.

When I was asked to give a speech and presentation I can remember the overwhelming feeling of pride that was quickly followed by panic. It took me some time to decide on what I wanted to share with you during today’s celebration. While I was preparing this speech, I remembered a line from a poem by Arthur O’Shaughnessy, ‘we are the music makers; we are the dreamers of dreams’. The poem is about the ‘movers and shakers’ of the world, and while it is meant in reference to artists, who is to say that leaders can’t be artists.

Leadership, like art, does not come naturally to us all. Some of us are born leaders while some of us have to learn what it takes to be that leader. I would not say that I am a born leader or that I come from a family of leaders but I think in my own way I have been successful in learning what it takes to be one. That learning truly started for me upon applying for admission to CSU-Global.

When I was first accepted I was incredibly eager and incredibly unsure as to what to expect. I transferred to the University from a community college and had had this impression that being at a university would be much harder than what I faced at community college. No one in my family has achieved higher than an associates until now and during the first few months at CSU-Global I feared failure. I do not come from a wealthy family and I was not fortunate enough to have funding for school through my parents. Deciding to complete my bachelors was a huge risk on my part, and it has turned out to be the best risk I have taken so far.

The path that got me to where I am now was not an easy one. I pursued my interest in criminal justice and declared my major in Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Administration. I was already working in law enforcement at the time that I started and I knew then that I needed to do this to become the leader that I want to be. Working full time and attending school full time made me quickly realize that I needed to change some things in order to be successful. My first priority was getting a handle on my time management. Peter Drucker (2012) states, “either you run the day or the day will run you.” People who struggle to manage their time well typically never handle any part of their life very well either. It was important for me, as it was for all of you here today, that we learn to efficiently manage our time.

Once I was able to be more efficient with my time, I realized that I was developing my leadership skills. Scheduling your time properly will not only give you time for your usual work but also help you do something different than others (Noe et al., 2017). I saw what I was doing different, and that was going beyond the usual expectations set for me at work. And it wasn’t just that I was doing more but it was how I was inclusive of my team and made efforts to build on our teamwork. I discovered my leadership style and being aware of that fact really transformed the possibilities. I have a democratic, participative style and I tell you this because the world needs leaders like myself; leaders who can think in unconventional ways, bring about change, include others and still show that they are a part of the team, not just the one in charge.

I encourage everyone here to be bold, be thoughtful, be passionate, and let compassion, understanding and teamwork drive every decision that you make in your life. Consider the legacy that you will leave for your children and grandchildren one day. Use the resources around you and aim to achieve goals you never thought you could; challenge your limits instead of limiting your challenges and influence others with your actions. Leaders should make different choices that are based on the institution’s values and always have to look forward, not backward (Antonakis & Robert, 2013). A democratic leader does knows that those around them have value, it’s just a manner of taking the time to learn what that value is. Yes, it takes time and along the way you will fail, but that is okay, everyone fails at some point in life. What truly matters is how you react to the challenges you face (Braun et al., 2013). Be a visionary in your own way. Set good examples for others, include them in the best way possible, stay committed, work hard and make a difference.

As I come to the end of my speech, my sincere advice to everyone here is, that above all, be understanding to and of other people, and be steadfast in the pursuit of your ultimate vision. Your own efforts, along with the support of your colleagues and associates will guide you and help you to overcome the many obstacles you will face on your path to success. On that note, I challenge you to realize and value your resources and to work towards building a legacy you can be proud of. Build upon the values that you developed here at Colorado State University-Global and use them as your building blocks in everything that you do hereafter. I wish the very best for all of you on your future endeavors and once again, many congratulations on your accomplishment. Thank you.


Antonakis, J., & Robert, J. (2013). ‘The Full-Range Leadership Theory: The Way Forward,’ Transformational and Charismatic Leadership: The Road Ahead. In Monographs in Leadership and Management, 10th edition, Volume 5 (pp. 3-33). Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Braun, S., Peus, C., Weisweiler, S., & Frey, D. (2013). Transformational leadership, job satisfaction, and team performance: A multilevel mediation model of trust. The Leadership Quarterly, 24(1), 270-283.

Drucker, P. (2012). Managing in a time of great change. London: Routledge.

Noe, R. A., Hollenbeck, J. R., Gerhart, B., & Wright, P. M. (2017). Human resource management: Gaining a competitive advantage. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.

O’Shaughnessy, A. (1873). Ode  by Arthur O’Shaughnessy. Retrieved November 1, 2019, from

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