Estée Lauder chairman William Lauder's advice for the class of 2020: 'Put your hand up'
Billionaire businessman William P. Lauder told the class of 2020 that professional development and advancement starts with volunteering oneself.
“Put your hand up for an interesting experience that's going to teach you to stretch your own confidence and abilities,” Lauder told graduates during Verizon’s Class of 2020: #ReadyforAnything commencement series, adding that improvement begins with self-awareness and the desire to constantly improve ourselves. (Verizon is Cashay’s parent company.)
Lauder is currently chairman of $64 billion cosmetics and personal care powerhouse Estée Lauder Companies, which includes brands like Aveda, Bumble and Bumble, Clinique, MAC, and Smashbox.
The third-generation scion encouraged graduates to take “smart risks” and “push yourself to your limit” because “future success will come from your bravery and ability to take smart risks in the thousands of decisions you will make throughout your life and your career.”
Furthermore, “the best opportunities that present themselves in our lives are not those that we plan for, but those which are unplanned for or which we've taken advantage of when they presented themselves.”
Lauder stressed that while virtual graduation isn’t ideal, “crises of this magnitude don't come along often in our lifetime,” and crises teach us “a great deal about ourselves, our communities, and our world.”
His advice: Use the pandemic to your advantage, without letting it define your career.
”For 75 years, The Estée Lauder Companies has seen a few hard times and we have always come out the other side, better, wiser, and more resilient,” Lauder said, adding that “adaptability” is the “most important quality a leader can have.”
After highlighting how this year’s graduates have already demonstrated their fortitude and resourcefulness as their semesters were completed remotely, Lauder noted: “If graduating and beginning your career in the midst of a global pandemic doesn't make you ready for anything, I don't know what will.”
Class of 2020: #ReadyforAnything commencement address series will stream live on Fridays at 11 AM ET through June 12. You can watch on Verizon’s LinkedIn Channel, simulcast on Yahoo and Yahoo Life, and will be reaired on Yahoo Finance Fios. Speakers include President Bill Clinton, Hugh Evans, Kevin Love, Jen Rubio, and Hans Vestberg.
Stephanie is a reporter for Yahoo Money and Cashay, a new personal finance website. Follow her on Twitter @SJAsymkos.
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