Mellody Hobson's Inspiring USC Graduation Address: 'Just Add Bravery'


On Friday, Mellody Hobson delivered USC’s commencement address during a downpour and asked the graduates to remember just three words—because let’s be honest, few people are really listening anyway—“just add bravery.”

As director of the Estee Lauder and Starbucks Corporation, the president of the Chicago-based money management firm Ariel Investments and chairwoman of Dreamworks Animation, Hobson, who is also married Star Wars creator George Lucas, has some wisdom to impart. Born to a single mother who was regularly evicted because she didn’t have enough money to pay her rent, Hobson says her mom still encouraged her to pursue her dreams and she did so by being brave and out working everyone else. Via The Hollywood Reporter:

First, “hard work plus bravery equals success,” she said. “Don’t pretend that you know more than you do. … At the same time, don’t pretend to know less than you do either. … I know this can be very hard for women and minorities desperate to fit in. … A better attitude is, ‘This is who I am and I have value, and if you don’t like it, that’s fine, but this is who I am.’”

“… and I’m looking for another job,” is the rest of what her sentence should’ve said.

Second, “imagination plus bravery equals creativity,” as she said the arts “are near and dear to my near and dear,” …
And third, “love plus bravery equals happiness. Other commencement speakers will tell you to be passionate about something; I’m telling you to be passionate about someone. … It took me a long time to be as brave in my personal life as I was in my professional life, and that’s because to be brave in love means opening yourself up to the possibility of heartbreak. … Then I met George. People talk about soulmates; I met my mind’s friend. And since I always trust my mind when it told me to leap, so did my heart.”

Hobson also pushed the grads to pursue diversity both at work and at home by pushing the boundaries of their self-imposed social circles because it will make them “more interesting.”

PS- Mrs. Hobson also delivered some shade for USC’s “Selfie” class, because that’s a thing.

PPS- USC also gave honorary degrees to Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and California Attorney General (and Senate candidate) Kamala Harris. What a random pair.

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