The Impact Generation

July 7, 2015

UC Davis Grad­u­ate School of Man­age­ment Com­mence­ment Speech
June 2015

By Nancy Pfund:  Good Morn­ing, and con­grat­u­la­tions! Con­grat­u­la­tions to the mem­bers of the Class of 2015 for your very sig­nif­i­cant achieve­ment and to your par­ents, fam­i­lies, and friends who share your joy today and who have sup­ported you along this jour­ney. I see many happy and proud faces in the audi­ence, and I know the hours of hard work and the all-​​nighters that it took you to get here, so enjoy every minute of this grad­u­a­tion weekend!

I would also like to extend my thanks to Dean Ann Huff Stevens, and the fac­ulty and staff of UC Davis Grad­u­ate School of Man­age­ment for invit­ing me to speak today. I’ve had the chance to work with many folks at UC Davis over the years and have learned so much from so many of you. I’d like to give a spe­cial shoutout to my friends at the UC Davis Energy Effi­ciency Cen­ter, Pro­fes­sor Emerita Nicole Woolsey Big­gart and Exec­u­tive Direc­tor Ben Finkelor.

Today, I’d like to tell you why I think now is one of the most excit­ing times to enter the work­force, espe­cially with a busi­ness degree as you are all about to receive. The rea­son for my excite­ment is that I believe that, unlike the world I grew up in, where busi­ness was busi­ness and civil soci­ety was civil soci­ety, where work­ing in the cor­po­rate sec­tor meant mak­ing a chunk of change but mak­ing SOCIAL change was left to activists, today these dis­tinc­tions are fad­ing away and you don’t need to accept what I call an “either/​or” life. This fun­da­men­tal shift in the pri­vate sector’s abil­ity to fuel and scale inno­va­tion and cre­ate great com­pa­nies, as well as address the core social and envi­ron­men­tal chal­lenges of our age, is noth­ing short of a rev­o­lu­tion. You are in on the ground floor of a move­ment that holds enor­mous promise for both per­sonal ful­fill­ment and soci­etal engage­ment. In a phrase, this shift allows you to pur­sue not just a career, but a call­ing. Along the way, you all stand to ben­e­fit from the deep sat­is­fac­tion that comes from work­ing to make the world a bet­ter place for you and for future generations.

To read the full speech, visit HUFF POST.