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John Mackey, Chairman and CEO of Whole Foods Market®, and Ellen M. Zane, President and CEO, Tufts Medical Center and the Floating Hospital for Children, Offer Advice to Bentley Students at May 17 Commencement
May 18, 2008
In a heartfelt keynote address to approximately 1,000 Bentley undergraduate students at the 89th commencement ceremony on May 17, John Mackey, chairman and CEO of Whole Foods Market, urged graduates to follow their hearts, to use obstacles as opportunities for growth, and to help create "conscious businesses" in the 21st century.
"We should commit ourselves to following our hearts and doing what we most love and what we most want to do in life," he began. "If you could do absolutely anything in the world, what is it that you would do? Your heart knows the answers to these questions. Even as I'm saying these words right now, some of you can hear the whispering in your own heart. So listen to it and follow it. You will have no better guide in your life than your own heart."
Essential to the journey, Mackey noted, is the ability to deal with fear. "It is fear which prevents most people from reaching their fullest potential in life - we become afraid that we're not good enough, we become afraid of what the judgments of other people will be. We fear failure ... and some of us will even have a fear of our own greatness because of the burdens it might place on us."
Mackey openly discussed personal and business challenges he has faced over the past year, involving a proposed merger with a competitor and investigations and media criticism over internet postings he made, and the lessons he has learned. "My most valuable lesson has been about the importance of communicating with greater thoughtfulness. I believe that I've always lived my life with a passion for honesty-tell the truth as I saw it regardless of how that truth would be interpreted by others...While I still believe that, I've now discovered that it's so easy to be misinterpreted, so easy to have things taken out of context. In today's world of digital media, I've found it to be a very wise thing to be very thoughtful and careful in everything that I will communicate and say going forward."
He shared the simple rules he applies to everything he says, writes, or does now, including, "How would I feel if that was printed on the front page of the Wall Street Journal or The New York Times? -because it just might be. If it's going to embarrass me or I'm going to feel ashamed of it, I'm not going to do it. So I'm still going to be honest, but I have learned to be more diplomatic and tactful. I hope you will learn that lesson without a great deal of unnecessary pain and suffering."
The keynote concluded with Mackey urging graduates to play an integral role in developing "conscious businesses" in the 21st century; businesses with a deeper purpose beyond only making profits. "Just like individual people can, by following their hearts discover their own sense of deeper purpose, so can a business enterprise. It can have a deeper purpose. If you think for a moment about some of the greatest businesses in the world, you will see that most of them have a deeper purpose.
"Who will create the conscious businesses of the 21st century? Why not Bentley graduates? Why don't some of you go out and create conscious businesses that transform the world? Maybe that's what your heart is calling out to you to do."
Mackey received an honorary doctor of commercial science degree at the ceremony.
McCallum Graduate School of Business Commencement
During the McCallum Graduate School ceremony, Ellen M. Zane, president and CEO of Tufts Medical Center and the Floating Hospital for Children, provided "management pearls" to nearly 600 graduate students.
"I thought that a series of realities would be most helpful ... things that are not intellectually complex, things that don't challenge your IQ, but they challenge your EQ - your emotional quotient. Things that will make a difference and that have to me in my path to leadership. Things that I wish someone had taught me along the way beyond the important things one learns in a classroom. My Dad explained that many of these things were the difference between goodness and greatness."
Zane began with the importance of taking risks, citing personal career risks she has taken. "Just remember, that you cannot steal second base with your foot on first. So risk is a very good thing to do, and do it with jobs that are hard and that nobody else would take ... the personal gratification is unbelievable ... the highs are higher -- the lows are also lower -- but it's worth it."
She also urged graduates to surround themselves with excellence, saying, "I am not the smartest person I know, but I am smart enough to know that I should hire people who are smarter than me, and all of their good work will accrue back to me."
Noting Bentley's strong commitment to community service, Zane said "... never compromise the high road ... recognize through your careers that what you do as a human being, along with what you do as a professional, is enormously important ... long after I am gone as the CEO of Tufts Medical Center, I will not be remembered for the decisions I made everyday ... but I will be remembered for who I am and for what I have given them."
"In the end," she concluded, "all roads lead to leadership. Management and leadership are two very different things and your degree today has given you the groundwork to be excellent managers. Now the test will be: Are you excellent leaders?"
During the ceremony, Zane was presented with an honorary doctor of commercial science degree.
About the Graduates
At the undergraduate ceremony, 1,048 Bachelor of Science degrees, 18 Bachelor of Arts degrees, four Associate in Science degrees and four certificates were granted to 1,074 students from 29 U.S. states and territories and 43 countries.
At the McCallum Graduate School of Business ceremony, 327 Master of Science degrees, 214 Master of Business Administration degrees, and 51 certificates were granted to 592 graduate students from 15 U.S. states and territories and 21 countries.
Faculty and Student Awards
The Gregory H. Adamian Excellence in Teaching Award was presented to Clifford Putney, senior lecturer in History. R. Gilbert Congdon, adjunct instructor for Mathematical Sciences, received the Joseph M. Cronin Award for Excellence in Academic Advising. Bentley bestowed the Award for Excellence in Scholarship to Christine B. Williams, professor of International Studies.
Student honorees included Michaela Erin Racette and Scott Tindall, who were both winners of the Professor Robert J. Weafer Award for Undergraduate Academic Excellence. The Professor William E. Dandes Award for Graduate Academic Excellence went to Michael J. Albert, Rian A. Brarmann, Robert A. Henley, Sarah L. Thomson and Rayon K. Ward. Katerina Bisbas was recognized as the Outstanding Evening Student.
An honorary doctor of commercial science degree was awarded posthumously to Samuel H. Pierce II, recently deceased faculty member from the Finance Department. A teacher, mentor and friend, Pierce's longstanding goal to hold a doctoral degree -- one in which he was supported unstintingly by his wife, his family and his colleagues -- was fulfilled.
About the Speakers
John Mackey is one of the most successful CEOs in the fast-growing natural foods industry and has built Whole Foods Market into a $5.6 billion Fortune 500 company that is now one of the top 12 supermarket companies in America.
In 1978, at the age of 25, Mackey was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug. Borrowing $10,000 from his father and raising the first few thousand of what would eventually become hundreds of millions of dollars in equity investments, he co-founded Safer Way Natural Foods with his girlfriend Renee Lawson. Two years later, in 1980, they teamed up with two other young entrepreneurs to create Whole Foods Market, a 10,000 square foot store on Lamar Boulevard in Austin, Texas.
By the end of 2006, the global organic foods industry was more than $40 billion in size, a development Mackey sees as good for all concerned, especially Planet Earth. Whole Foods Market now has over 270 stores in the U.S. Canada, and the UK. The company's goal is to become a $12 billion company by 2010.
Ellen Zane is the first woman to run Tufts Medical Center and the Floating Hospital for Children in its 210-year history. The 450 bed hospital employs over 5,000 doctors, nurses, researchers, and other healthcare workers in both facilities. Zane is also an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Clinical Care Research at Tufts University School of Medicine.
Prior to her current position, Zane was Network President for Partners HealthCare System, Inc. where she was responsible for the development of a provider network featuring the Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham & Women's Hospital, along with community-based physician groups and community hospitals within eastern Massachusetts. The network encompassed 5,600 physicians and represented $800+ million of managed care revenue. Today, this entity represents one of the largest physician networks in America.
Zane has also served as the Chief Executive Officer at Quincy Hospital in Quincy, Massachusetts, a 290-bed acute care community and public hospital. Prior to her tenure at Quincy Hospital, Zane was the Vice President for Professional Services at the Morton Hospital & Medical Center in Taunton, Massachusetts.
For all her work, Zane has received numerous awards including the Arthritis Foundation Dr. John I. Sandson Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Details on Commencement 2008 are available on Bentley's official commencement website: http://www.bentley.edu/commencement-2008/index.cfm
BENTLEY UNIVERSITY is one of the nation’s leading business schools, dedicated to preparing a new kind of business leader – one with the deep technical skills, broad global perspective, and high ethical standards required to make a difference in an ever-changing world. Our rich, diverse arts and sciences program, combined with an advanced business curriculum, prepares informed professionals who make an impact in their chosen fields. Located on a classic New England campus minutes from Boston, Bentley is a dynamic community of leaders, scholars and creative thinkers. The Graduate School emphasizes the impact of technology on business practice, in offerings that include MBA and Master of Science programs, PhD programs in accountancy and in business, and customized executive education programs. The university enrolls approximately 4,100 full-time undergraduate, 140 adult part-time undergraduate, 1,430 graduate, and 43 doctoral students. Bentley is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges; AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business; and the European Quality Improvement System, which benchmarks quality in management and business education. For more information, please visit www.bentley.edu.
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