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Mary Barra’s Commencement Speech | Words of Inspiration

Mary Teresa Barra (née Makela), the CEO of General Motors, was invited to deliver the commencement speech at University of Michigan on May 3, 2014. The ceremony was held at Michigan Stadium.

She studied electrical engineering before obtaining her MBA. Her abilities can be explored by knowing the fact that she is the first female CEO of a major global automaker. Her skills and experiences made her a better human being, and it is clearly seen in the commencement address she have delivered.

We found the speech inspirational and full of small quotes which are easy to remember and very effective when implemented. Fortunately the University have made the speech available for public domain at their official YouTube channel. You can visit it at:

Her speech is focused on six major points and a summary followed by the same. Here is the essence of the speech as per our vision:

  • No matter what you choose to do in life pursue it with passion and hardwork.
    • Talent alone isn’t enough. Passion and hard work are very important.
    • Hard work beats talent, if talent doesn’t work hard.
    • Don’t be content to work around the edges of your profession.
    • Don’t wait to be invited, speak up, volunteer, show your enthusiasm.
  • Conduct yourself with integrity at all times..
    • Be honest, be fair.
    • Keep your promises.
    • Do what is right.
    • How you get the things done is also as important as the things are getting done.
    • Your integrity is priceless when unquestioned, but worthless when it isn’t.
  • Build relationships..
    • No one does great things alone.
    • Success is always a team effort.
    • Leader have to be open, seeking solutions, listening to the team.
    • Without knowing the people you cannot find ways to motivate them.
    • Relationships cannot be build instantly when you need, it builds over time, gradually. So better start building them now.
  • Address challenges head on..
    • Hope is not a strategy. Problems don’t go away when you ignore them. They tend to get bigger.
  • Give something back.
    • Giving back to the society and the world is also very important.
    • Great power comes with great responsibilities.
    • One can have huge influence on others.
    • Use the advanced technologies which are available to address challenges.
  • Remember your loved ones.
    • In good times you need someone to celebrate with, during the tough times you need to have someone to turn to for advice, comfort and love.
    • Acknowledge the people for the sacrifice they made for you.
    • Faith doesn’t make things easier, but it makes things possible.

What are your views about this commencement speech? Do let us know your remarks via comments below.

You may also like to read our summarized views regarding some other commencement speeches, which we found interesting, inspirational, motivational and got a chance to write about. What you think about this commencement speech? Do share your reviews and views via comments below. And yes, do not forget to share this article with your friends over various social networks via Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and others. And yes, you may like to subscribe to our RSS feeds and follow us on various Social networks to get latest updates for the site to land right in your mail box.

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