20 January 2015

Have you ever met someone you instantly knew was going to make waves in the world?

This year, I had the pleasure of visiting with our class of 2014 Commencement speaker.

A 20-year Army veteran and recent graduate from the Grantham online master of business administration-project management program with distinction, retired Sergeant First Class Charles Lamp is a man of vision, conviction and promise.

Lamp didn’t let difficult situations define his reality. He simply found ways around the seemingly insurmountable obstacles. He knew that his lifestyle and circumstances required the innovative and creative methodologies not available at traditional brick-and-mortar campuses. For Charles, Grantham was that solution.

With great power comes great responsibility: “My education has always been very important to me,” said Lamp, “It ensures that I can take care of my family, myself and make a difference in every opportunity I come across since retiring from the military.” 

I love that, during his commencement speech, he addressed the audience as future managers and leaders. It was as if he didn’t even acknowledge there was a chance his cohorts wouldn’t want to be in those positions. He reminded them that, with the power of their accredited online degrees, came a new responsibility.

Seeing beyond today: One thing that makes Lamp successful is that he was acutely aware of the changing world around him. Instead of fighting the inevitable change of expectations in his industry and hiring managers at-large, he lowered his head and got to work!

“I completed 20 years in the Army…[where it] used to be if you had on-the-job training or skills, you could get the job.” he said, “Nowadays, you have to have the diploma. There is no hiring manager that is going to pick you up. I knew that and had to push myself a little harder.”

The real keys to the kingdom: Lamp’s charge to his class was to “specialize until you’re special”. He likened a diploma not to a sword that would slay every hindrance, but as a key that would open many doors.

“You hold that key in your hand,” he said. “But, you can’t stop there…we must seek out that which makes us stand out as top-notch professionals in the workplace.”

He also encouraged the graduates, “Don’t be afraid of failure along the way.” He’s been knocked down by its grit but has found the inner-drive to get back up. He believes that you only learn from failure and from failure comes growth.

To close his remarks, he quoted the signature line of every email he sends: “In the words of Samuel Beckett:  Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.”

Learn more about Grantham University: http://rly.pt/GranthamU


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