As a 28-year-old widow, the grandmother of William “Billy” Greenblatt, English ’79, started riding in the back of a mail truck to her New York City post office job to save the subway fare and better provide for her children. “She instilled a value system about working hard and helping others,” the commencement keynote speaker told graduates during Smith’s 2015 winter commencement on Dec. 20, 2015.
Greenblatt, the founder and chairman of background screening company Sterling Infosystems and a member of Smith’s Board of Advisors, addressed the school’s 790 newest alumni, including 288 undergraduates, 135 MBAs, and 267 Master of Science and Master of Finance recipients. His grandmother’s story illustrated a message on “four tenets of money.”
1. Earning: Working hard is cathartic, Greenblatt said. “It makes you a better person.”
2. Saving: “Be old school,” he said. “Every time you’re tempted to buy on impulse, save that money.”
3. Negotiating: Arm yourself with knowledge, and don’t be uncomfortable or intimidated about negotiating. “Never stop reading,” he said.
4. Sharing: “There has to be philanthropy in all of us,” he said. “With success comes an obligation to help.”