Guest Post: MSJ professor revisits Cintrifuse CEO's commencement address

This week, Cintrifuse welcomes Guest Blogger, John Ballard, PhD, to share his thoughts following Cintrifuse CEO Wendy Lea’s commencement address at Mount St. Joseph University on May 13.

Ballard is currently an emeritus professor at Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati, Ohio. Ballard has deep experience in workplace management, psychology, organization development and much more. His full bio can be found on his website here. Additionally, you can find Ballard’s original entry here.

Now, a word from John…

What advice would you give young adults just starting their careers?

This is a challenge this time of year for commencement speakers across the nation. As a professor I have heard many speeches and a few have been memorable. I do not remember what Neil Armstrong said but I do remember staring at his shoes and wondering which foot was the first foot on the moon. It was the left. Wendy Lea, CEO of Cintrifuse in Cincinnati, spoke recently at commencement at Mount St. Joseph University. Lea’s career path as an entrepreneur is stellar and inspiring. She was exceptionally well qualified to share her wisdom. Here are a few gems from my notes of her speech.

  • “Business is an art.”
  • “Accept responsibility for your whole self.”
  • “Stay in a beginner’s mind.”
  • “Define your North Star.” Know what is pulling you. This will help you focus.
  • “Know what you stand for.” Emerge yourself in learning new skills, developing new points of view, and build the platform that is you.
  • “Embrace relationships.”
  • “Nothing is more magical than sharing.”
  • “Respect impermanence.”
  • “Keep your windows open and the wind in your face.”
  • “Expose yourself to big, hairy problems.”
  • “All jobs are temporary.”

My take-aways:

1 – Wendy Lea spoke from an outstanding career of creating and building. Each of the gems listed here could be a key theme for a speech or book chapter. I found each point right on the mark. This was very sound advice for starting a career and addressing life.

2 – I loved the phrase “Nothing is more magical than sharing.” Through our words and deeds we carry each other, support each other, and open doors.

3 – As I reflected on Lea’s words, I was moved to verse:

Is Your Window Open?

Is your window open?
Is the wind in your face?
‘Cause no job’s permanent –
You’ll be leaving this place.

Embrace relationships.
It’s magical to share.
Find big hairy problems
That seem impossible to bear.

Keep a beginner’s mind.
Find your North Star.
Know your whole self
And you’ll go far.

Adapted from Wendy Lea’s Commencement Address, Mount St. Joseph University, May 13, 2017.

© John Ballard, PhD,  2017. All rights reserved.

Author of Decoding the Workplace, BEST CAREER BOOK Next Generation Indie Book Awards, 2016. Visit

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