Tai Bendit was selected from his class to deliver a commencement address at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School this year. His talk broke the mold. For an institution that’s clearly one of the world’s top business schools — filled with high-achieving students who are poised for careers at hedge funds or investment banks — you’d expect a speech focused on financial success and other tangible forms of achievement. But Tai’s message didn’t address any of the traditional commencement topics.
Instead, he talked about love.
Graduation is usually a launch pad for the world of work, but the topic of love is usually absent from the workplace. I hope that Bendit’s speech will become part of a bigger trend when it comes to advising career-bound young adults — and fostering their careers once they’re hired.
The good news is that organizations are starting to recognize that people are humans, not robots. The workplace has been shedding its skin of artificial conformity for the past few decades. Social media has created the need for transparency and direct connection with a company’s leaders. More and more companies want to help people be themselves at work by incorporating personal branding programs in their talent development strategy. Authenticity is the heart of successful branding, whether it’s at the corporate or personal level.