Remarks by João Paulo Olival de Paiva MBA’18
Parents, siblings, families, friends, and fellow graduates.
I am humbled to stand before you today.
Welcome and thank you for being here with us at the #1 entrepreneurship school in the world.
I also want to thank all of our relatives as well as everyone that has distinctively and positively impacted our lives and made us what we are today.
Somehow and at some point, they contributed to this special challenge we’ve just accomplished.
So, I’d like to share a brief story with you all.
It’s about a woman.
A woman who was born immigrant parents in Brazil.
A woman that didn’t have access to higher education.
She worked hard to give her 3 daughters the opportunity to HAVE an education.
She failed a few times, yes, she did. But she tried again, learned, and tried again until she accomplished what she believed to be right:
To empower and give strength to her daughters to grow up in the world we live today.
And that was her purpose in life.
That was the banner she rose along with her life.
That’s what she stood for.
Thanks to her, the 3 children are today 3 strong, independent and successful women in their respective lives.
And this woman was my grandmother.
She taught me that education helps us face the unknown and that allows us to take action.
Once we understand what moves us, we understand where we have to go.
With that in mind, I encourage all of us, Babson community, families, graduates, to answer this question:
What do we live for?
What will you write on YOUR banner?
It’s time to raise your banner.
It’s time to speak up.
To do something.
Babson is known for many things, including to creating a diverse, multicultural and inclusive community of highly talented students since its day 1.
Though today is our graduation day, what on earth are we gonna do with that gift?
You want to do something meaningful.
Either for yourself,
for the people you care about—like my grandmother did—
or for the underrepresented minority groups,
people who are hungry, people who need more balance, more opportunity… or even for your next customer.
At Babson, we find out that, whatever your banner says, there is someone else in the world that connects to that, or wants to be part of it.
So, tell me:
What is the banner we will rise today when we leave campus?
Here, we all experienced other people raising their distinct banners and learned that, yes, we can not only solve more than just businesses' problems, but also, we were taught that we can use entrepreneurship as a way to look at the world in a different perspective.
Once Stephen Hawking said:
“So, remember to look at the stars, and not down at your feet. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.”
And we have seen some fellow graduates present here today looking at the stars.
For example, Waku is sharing healthy traditions and helping Ecuadorian local farmers improve their livelihoods #gowaku.
DonDoctor, is helping people have better and more efficient access to health in Colombia.
Junipo Shoes, is making shoes and insoles with cinnamon and helping farmers in Vietnam.
They’re raising their own banners.
They’re speaking up.
They ARE doing something.
And that is what Babson is all about.
That’s what Babson’s banner is: to support entrepreneurs of all kind.
And, believe me, we are no ordinary entrepreneurs.
We come from the #1 entrepreneurship school in the world.
We know that resilience and discipline are fundamental in keeping us focused on this challenging journey.
But we know we do more than that.
We step up out there.
We raise our voice.
We don’t sit on the fence.
We embrace and drive change.
We take action, we fail, we learn, we build it again, we fail again and again and again and again …
until we accomplish what we set out to do.
We are from Babson.
Greatness is what we aim for and we will push forward until the last drop of hope tells us to change, but NEVER to stop.
The world is begging for people like us.
People out there are waiting for the next banner to rise.
So, ask yourself:
Who are you going to stand for?
Today, here at Babson College, the world welcomes all of you to raise your own banner.
Today is OUR day 1 and it’s up to us to decide.
Whatever it says on the front, Babson will always be on the back… and we’ll always have each other on speed dial.
So, tell me:
What will be written on YOUR banner?
Congratulations Class of 2018 and thank you.