A Virtual Commencement

May 20, 2020
  • Bob Chapman
  • Bob Chapman
    CEO & Chairman of Barry-Wehmiller

In February — before the world was turned upside down — I was honored to embark upon a tour of Europe and speak at a number of prestigious business schools.

I enjoy the opportunity to speak to these audiences to shape their thinking about the privilege of leadership. My message is that we need leaders in the world that have skills, as well as the courage to care about their people. I have come to realize that the word management means the manipulation of others for your success. Leadership is the stewardship of the lives entrusted to you with the vision of sending people home each night knowing that who they are and what they do matters!

I've also been honored to speak at commencement ceremonies. As many schools have implemented virtual graduation celebrations this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, I thought I would share a few videos from February as a sort of virtual commencement speech of my own. These are the things I would like them to think about as they begin their careers. Two of the videos are interviews at universities in Madrid, while the last is a lecture I gave to students at the Bauer Leadership Center at Washington University in St. Louis, just prior to the European tour.

As I mentioned in last week’s blog post, care is needed now more than ever from business leaders as we embrace our primary responsibility to give those in our span of care a grounded sense of hope for a better future. As we rebuild our economy, we need leaders who create work environments where people, purpose and performance are in better balance.

Graduates, are you ready to go forward and lead, not manage? Hopefully, caring is one of the skills you are bringing with you as you embark upon your career and begin to touch the lives of others.  

From the Faculty of Economic and Business Sciences Comillas ICADE in Madrid


From IE University in Madrid


Bauer Leadership Center at Washington University in St. Louis

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