College Graduation Advice From Kenneth Cole & Liz Rodbell

Liz Rodbell Lord & Taylor Hudson's
Liz Rodbell
Courtesy photo

College graduates are off and running — and many of them are looking for some great advice as they start their careers. 

Two major shoe execs, Kenneth Cole and Liz Rodbell, recently spoke at graduations. Here are the tips they offered:

Liz Rodbell, president of Hudson’s Bay and Lord & Taylor, LIM College commencement speaker:

Please, chase your goals and aspirations, those big, terrifying ones that tiptoe through your dreams. But if life changes your path, roll with it, embrace it.”

Always seek to evolve. It’s the key to success in the fashion business where change is the only constant … I tell my team, we must be bold and take risks, [though] not everything you do must be grand. Small opportunities become big bricks.”

My father taught me to believe that we are constantly learning, that change is good and risk pays off. That learning is the key to flourishing even in the most difficult of circumstances. Yes, there are times when your growth and evolution are going to be uncomfortable. It will rarely be in a straight line, and often it’s not in the direction you expect. Growth is like that. It takes on a direction of its own. Learn to embrace it.”

FN Platform Trade Show Las Vegas 2016 Kenneth Cole Jim K. Decker.

Kenneth Cole, designer and founder, Kenneth Cole Productions, Merrimack College commencement speaker:

“First, be the creative alternative. As children you are taught to draw within the lines, but the best solutions are usually found outside those lines. So I urge you to shed those generic gowns and find your own trailer story.”

“Second, embrace change. But don’t be changed. Don’t disconnect from what makes you, you. there is an information inundation, which induces attention deprivation. Stay present. Hold on to whatever idealism you may still have. You will need it. Have the courage and discipline to be “the brand” you would want to friend, like, post, pin, share, snap, tweet and retweet.”

“Third, learn to keep learning. In the last four years, you have probably learned a lot, perhaps also even more than you intended. But I assure you, what you will need to know to realize the success you want you haven’t learned yet.”

“And finally, graduates, it’s time for you to use your god-given gifts, find your voice and help others find theirs.”