Gave Baruch College’s commencement speech this morning and I just wanted to take a minute to congratulate all of the 2012 graduates. All of your hard work has finally paid off!
Here’s an excerpt from my speech:
“You’re going to leave here today, and some of you will go straight into the workforce. Some of you will go on to get a master’s degree or a doctorate.
And whatever your path, whatever you choose, you’re going to meet a lot of people—and God knows why, but these people are going to love to tell you all of the things they think you can’t do, and all of the reasons they think you can’t do them.
Seven years ago, when I was running for Speaker, every day someone would approach me and tell me that I didn’t have a chance, that my colleagues would never vote for me.
They said I couldn’t win because I was a woman. Because I was a liberal. I was from the west side of Manhattan. I was a lesbian. All things I was completely unaware of, by the way.
But I decided that I wasn’t going to listen to these naysayers. Instead, I chose to let my colleagues speak for themselves, to let them decide if they would or would not vote for me. And in the end, I was elected overwhelmingly.
In your lives you’ll have many moments like that. Moments when all the self-appointed experts are telling you you can’t win, you can’t succeed, you shouldn’t even try. Don’t listen to them.
Don’t waste one single minute of your time listening to them. Instead let the people who matter speak for themselves.
Let employers decide if you’re right for the job. Let schools decide if they want you as a student. Let customers decide if you have what it takes to run a successful business.
Don’t listen to those who love to say no. Listen to the people in this room. Your friends, your family, your mentors.
All those who believed you could reach this point, and all of us who believe in your limitless potential to accomplish great things and help make our city even stronger. Listen to those voices, have faith in yourselves, and never be afraid to try.”