My mind is drawing a blank. Writer’s block is kicking in. The motivation is there, but the creativity is lacking. The pressure of telling someone else’s story, while maintaining the ability to do justice to it is suddenly very overwhelming. And what makes this person’s story different or more special than the rest? How do I convey originality?
“The chances of meeting someone at Walsh who does NOT have the potential to change your life are pretty slim.” I catch myself saying these words quite a bit lately. It must be because I truly believe in the power of influence, whether or not it’s an individual you meet professionally or personally. Everyone has the potential to leave a mark. I know that I can say any person that has come in or out of my life has brought an added value. They teach me things about life, even offering a different perspective on who I am as a person.
Last month I focused on the power of mentoring, networking, and building sustainable, meaningful relationships, relationships that create a lasting impression, and offer more than the “what you can do for me” attitude. I want to elaborate on that a little more.
With Father’s Day just behind us, I felt it appropriate to focus on an individual who has quickly grabbed my attention during my very short time here at Walsh. This person is not only a father, but he is someone who is a leader, a business professional, a go-getter, and an overall joy to be around. Adam Wadie will be graduating with the class of 2014, with his Bachelor’s in Finance. Instantly, Adam’s story stole my attention and has left its lasting mark.
During our first conversation Adam very quietly, very briefly mentioned that he had prepared a commencement speech, two years ago, and prior to starting his journey at Walsh. I found it fascinating, and still do, that someone would take the time to sit down and write a speech essentially foreshadowing their future. When I asked Adam why, he said, “It served as my motivation.” Aside from learning more and more about Adam and his journey to Walsh, his experiences while he was here and what life will be like for him after Walsh, I pushed for Adam to submit his commencement speech for this June’s ceremony. I thought it was the perfect opportunity to share your story with not only his peers, but with the Walsh family.
Adam’s speech made it to the top three, but was not chosen for the commencement ceremony. I saw this as an opportunity, to take advantage of Adam’s story and to share it with all of you. When I told Adam I wanted to share a little bit of his journeys, I am fairly certain he blushed, and that expression of “Why me?” appeared on his face. And, once again, very quietly and casually he shared another important part of his life with me, the story of his father and his triumph, which brought Adam’s story full circle.
“In 2009, I was dealt an impossible hand. I lost everything. I hit rock bottom, this is when I knew I had to do something. This is when Walsh College changed my life.” These are Adam’s opening words in his commencement speech, a preemptive glance into what life was like before he made the leap to join the Walsh family. Adam and his family were living the American Dream, successful careers, a brand new home, stability, and assurance. That changed when Adam was laid off from his company. Shortly after that, his wife’s hours were cut in half at work and in a matter of six weeks they lost 75 percent of their income.
Exhausting all options, Adam and his family were forced to face foreclosure and they lost their home. Adam turned to family. Without hesitation, his parents quickly took in his wife, and two sons and a dog. Throughout Adam’s speech he focuses on different motivations, but everyone having one common goal, “A thirst for knowledge.” Adam found inspiration in his professors, Willie Brooks, Bruce Beaumont, Julie Falk, and Dr. Moore. He gained a fresh perspective of what the business world has to offer. He immersed himself into Walsh and everything it had to offer, academically and socially. As the Finance and Economics Club President, he sees the value in utilizing all the resources available to students at Walsh, and is grateful for the relationships he has formed.
“I have reinvented myself. I find Walsh to be a key to a door of possibility. Every notepad I see, every stick man I draw, I will think of the first class education I received at Walsh.” Reflecting back on everything he has learned, and what he has been through, Adam has now positioned himself as a successful professional within one of the largest financial services firms in the world, and without question he loves going to work every day. He has redefined the American Dream, something that many of us crave so badly, strive for, and yet sometimes seems unattainable.
But Adam knows what it’s like to stand in the face of defeat and adversity. Adam is the son of man who beat the odds and found strength and hope in opportunity here in America. Adam is the son of a man who came to this country in 1968, knowing only two words, unable to read or write. Adam is the son of a man who broke barriers and took risks to not only make himself better, but a better life for his family. Adam finds strength in his father’s story. Yousif Wadie is a man who knew firsthand what it would take to reinvent himself, and continues until this day to overcome his greatest feat of learning to read.
You might just in fact ask yourself, why Adam’s story? And the reason is, because everyone has a story, but not everyone is willing to share it. Inspiration comes in many forms, many shapes and sizes. This story serves as a testament to perseverance and the power to be bold.
“It is time to turn the page of our yellow pad and begin the next chapter of our life as a Walsh College Alumnus. My name is Adam Wadie, I have a BBA in Finance and I LIVE.BREATHE. BUSINESS.” Congratulations to you Adam, and all you have accomplished, may life after Walsh be filled with even more joy and happiness, but don’t forget that you will always have a home here.