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The day has come. The long-awaited 2021 Fall Commencement ceremony took place on Friday, December 10., at the Lee E. Williams Athletics & Assembly Center. The college experience for these graduates has been different than years past. As a product of a prolonged pandemic, many students endured great obstacles to get their reserved seat at commencement.

The guest speaker for the occasion was Kristen Broady, Ph.D., a Jackson State alumna and Fellow in the Metropolitan Policy Program at The Brookings Institution.

An expert on economic disparities, labor and automation, Broady has conducted extensive research and policy analysis on the impact of automation on the future of work, the racial wealth gap and fintech innovations. She has testified before the U.S. House of Representatives, and her quotes have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Politico and USA Today, among many other noted news outlets.

Broady began her speech by asking the graduates, “Are you ready to receive the opportunities to come? Job offers, promotion letters, financial raises and bonuses that you dreamed of and have worked so hard to accomplish.”

As Broady continued her profound speech to nearly 800 graduates, she focused on relaying the following four pieces of advice:

1.) Maintain a positive attitude
2.) Build your platform
3.) Establish positive relationships
4.) Maintain control of your finances

She insisted that if the new Jackson State alums seeked positivity, they would be able to see opportunities and not obstacles.

In a world of self-promotion, building your personal platform is vital. It is important for the new graduates to understand the significance of building a positive brand.

Broady alludes to this in her speech by saying, “Elijah tells us that after you discover your purpose, you have to build a platform for your calling.”

Next, she links establishing positive relationships by saying, “your network is your net worth.”

Finally, the speaker explained that having control of your finances is the key to maintaining success. “Financial stability is important because it gives you freedom and the ability to leave.”

Broady finished her speech by quoting DJ Khaled famous lyrics, “All we do is win, win, win, no matter what. Now, everybody in the class of 2021, hands go up and they stay there, and they stay there. Because all we do is win, win, win, no matter what. And they stay there.”

The graduates, with their hands in the air, gave Broady a standing ovation.