Comcast Center was full of good cheer as the Smith School celebrated the commencement of 780 undergraduates, 360 MBA/MS students, 51 EMBA students, and 9 doctoral students on May 21.
William Gossman, MBA ’91, CEO of hi5 and keynote speaker at commencement, urged students in his commencement address to “practice their leadership skills on themselves.”
“Don’t assume legitimacy. Don’t search for legitimacy. Create it for yourself, today,” said Gossman. “Once you have created that vision and that legitimacy, you need the courage to make it so.”
Gossman also encouraged aspiring entrepreneurs to learn how to communicate that vision to others in an effective and compelling way.
“There is nothing quite like coming home on a rainy night and telling your wife, who is working, taking care of two kids under three years old and pregnant with a third, that you are on ‘salary holiday’ from the company you started,” said Gossman. “All I remember after uttering those words was a spirited and graphic monologue from her that formed a real test in making someone believe.
“So here is the trick: words matter. Give your vision a handle that can be explained in a few words or a very simple sentence. Repeat it often and it becomes a part of your bones and the bones of your team.”
Gossman is a serial entrepreneur who is known for his ability to monetize online audiences in the digital space. He has also been an active investor and company builder in the venture industry since 1997, and is currently an Executive in Residence at MDV-Mohr Davidow Ventures. In this role he leverages more than 25 years of hands-on experience building and leading high-growth organizations primarily in digital media, social media and mobile. He is a pioneer in behavioral targeting and enabling media delivery to cell phones. He is the CEO of hi5, the third-largest social entertainment Web site in the world.
Smith School undergraduate Brian Ely and MBA student Egwu Nwankpah also delivered commencement remarks.