2016 African American Celebration Keynote Address – California State University, Fresno

2016 African American Celebration Keynote Address – California State University, Fresno

October 19, 2019 0 By Stanley Isaacs


>>Kornya Lansana: Mr. Ramsey Jay Jr. is a Wall Street trained
financial professional with more than a decade of global investment management experience in acute focus and alternative assets. Mr. Jay is also a widely recognized expert in leadership development, communication consultant and international motivational speaker driven my his “Mission to Empower Dreamers to Become Achievers,” the title of his newly released book. In 2015
Mr. Jay was honored to be a member of President Castro’s Southern California Council, in 2016.
And he will return to deal with the keynote address speech to the African American Commencement Ceremony. Mr. Jay got his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with emphasis in Finance from Craig School of Business at California State University, Fresno. And his master’s in Business Administration from Tuck School Business at Dartmouth College, where he is the recipient of the Jack Welch Award
of Excellence in Management from Communications. And voted 105th speaker of the graduating
class. Please join me in welcoming esteemed alumnus Mr. Ramsey Jay Jr. [Applause] Thank you very much.>>Thank you.>>Thank you.>>Ramsey Jay Jr: Empowering dreamers to become achievers is the mission today for you, the distinguished Class of 2016. Allow the time to be reflected as 150 hours, on this, the twenty-first day of the fifth month, of the sixteenth year—of the third-millennium. Let the record further reflect that all that are gathered here, to pause and take a moment and look at these 150 faces that stand as true representative of what scholarship and what scholastic achievement can and will continue to look like.
[Applause] And may we all recognize before I get into
my remarks, the magnitude of this moment. The expected academic process for these young people may happen a maximum of seven times. When friends and family from the adolescent journey to the middle journey, and now some of them on the latter end of their journey,
all come together under one roof at one time, to celebrate excellence. When it was in kindergarten we celebrated; when it was elementary school, we celebrated; when it was in junior high,
we celebrated; when we were in high school we prayed. [Cheer]
In college, Mom and Dad, we prayed even harder, but they made it.
[Audience cheer] That’s five. And perhaps they earned a master’s degree, that’s six; and maybe they got a doctorate degree and that would be seven times! So maybe before I begin my remarks, would you all please pause and recognize the magnitude of the moment you are witnessing for some of them, this might be the last time, others it might be
the first time, but before we proceed let us recognized this is their time! [Cheering] Your time! Your time! Your time! [Cheering] Let me also sound the air of realism urgency of the matter. The reality is some of your brother and sisters that started this journey
with you are not here. Your voices in that regard have been heard, I can tell you by
the administration and there are things that are going to happen to make sure that we get better at that. But let me tell you why there’s a spirit of optimism in your speaker. Because history suggests that any time there is leadership transformation it’s going to be young people that finish their race, that come back and help other people finish theirs. [Cheering] So my optimism is because I see the bright
lights here today, and I know that you are actually as much a part of the solution as
everyone sitting behind me on this podium. You are part of our answer. Let me —before I begin, make sure that the
spirit and enthusiasm is where it needs to be. You sit in the Save Mart Center, capacity is 16,000 people and when it is full for entertainment or sports, people will yell and scream until
they’re delirious and they’ll go crazy. I wonder that would happen if your speaker challenged you to recognize these Academic All Stars on this, their final, day of achievement,
to make a noise that —–entertainment noise in this facility. [Cheering] Yes, yes! It should be that loud, in this
stadium. It should be that loud in this stadium! [Cheering] We celebrate academic excellence!
My name is Ramsey Jay Jr. as I was introduced and I am a proud alumni of this institution.
I’m honored to be back home; and ladies and gentlemen, graduates, I say home is where you have come from and helps you go to where you are going, but never forget where you come
from! [Cheering] I say if anything in my remarks is resonate
in your spirit, is please allow me to deflect the honor to he, who gives me, the ability
to empower thee! [Cheering] Now, I made a commitment to Dr. Castro and Provost Zelezny that I would follow my principal practice. So let me tell you what it is. It
goes by the acronym B-G, B-B and B-G. Dr. Castro and Provost Zelezny, I’m going to ‘B-G’, I’m going to ‘Be Good’ and Behave. Mom and dad, I’m going to ‘Be Brief’ and get you out of here. And graduates, because this is your time, I’m going to B-G, I’m going to Be Good, I’m going to Be Brief
and then I’m going to Be Gone! [Applause] I’m going to put six points in front of you, that I will build in my narrative in the next ten minutes. Six points for you:
1. Believe that someday it’s today for your dream to become possible. 2. I want you to add the word “Not” instead
of asking the question of ‘why you?’ ‘Why NOT you?’ 3. If you are not hearing NO, your speaker
is telling you, you are aiming too low. 4. A set back is a set-up for a comeback, if
you get up. [Cheering] 5. I want you to get comfortable being uncomfortable, there is no rule that says you should be comfortable if you are going to be excellent. Get comfortable being uncomfortable. 6. Prepare in such a way so you can actually effectively prepare somebody else. 7. You’ve been governed by syllabus for years, a syllabus that tells you what to do, how to do it and then it evaluated you on how
you did it. But when your tassel crosses over after this, the syllabus is over. The reality
of the laboratory of live life awaits you. So with the time I have I’d like to give
you three academic points that I think governs the post-academic syllabus for you today.
Graduates, if you put these three P’s into your spirit, I think your dreams will not
only be yours, they will be yours to achieve for tomorrow. The first P is – POSSIBLE. Say Possible. The second P is PROBABLE. Say Probable. The third P is PREDICTABLE. Say Predictable. Those three P’s form the post-academic syllabus. The first P, believe that your someday is today! When I grew up there was a magazine that my mom subscribed to called Ebony Magazine. Some of you know it, some of you had a mom that had it. Your speaker used to look a that magazine, and I used to say to myself graduates, that someday it would be possible for me to be one of those people that they looked at and said, is a leader of the future. Hear your speaker when I say, graduate; I
did not know anybody who had been there. Hear your speaker when I say, I didn’t know
anybody who had done that. Hear your speaker when I say, I had to become my first believer own believer in myself sometimes to make it happen, but believe I did. Let me tell you that the question that I ask
when I flip through that magazine, is why NOT me? Not, why me? By definition somebody has to be next to be great, I say why NOT the 2016 Class at Fresno State! [Applause] So I close my possibly by saying in February 2007, they did let me in right at 29 years and some months, I slid in and was one of
the Top 30-Under-30. I’ve come back to Fresno State to tell you, that if I could do it with
a dream that was possible, stop waiting for tomorrow. Make your someday today! But as inspiring as my story was, I want to
recognize one of your own, by the name of Miracle. Miracle Fauli-Garibay, where are
you? Where are you? Stand up! [Applause] Let me tell you why she is standing up. This
young woman graduates, stand up please! This young woman stands up, majoring in communications with a minor in journalism, but it was hard sometimes that she believed it was possible. Separated from her family, she shared with me and allowed me to share with you, that she grew up in the foster care system, but she never stopped believing that her dream was possible. [Applause] Okay Dr. Castro? She never stopped believing. The beauty of what I love and I want everyone to hear what I’m getting ready to say. She
said her oasis of hope of how to get out of the environment she came from, was this campus right here! [Applause] She wanted to get here, to make it. She says and I quote, “Being in college taught me academically, mentally, emotionally spiritually and she thanks Kornya Lansana she thanks Kizzy Lopez, she thanks Dr. Bell, she thanks Dr. Oputa, She thanks
Hector Cerda, She tanks Laura Moc and she thanks Melissa Knights.
[Applause] Miracle, you said your dream is to achieve
best so you can advocate for mentoring other youth that have a circumstance like yours.
Ladies and gentlemen, if you agree with your speaker ,that this young women dream is very, very possible won’t you say in one accord the word Possible, on the speakers que it
is POSSIBLE! And don’t you forget it Miracle! [Applause] The ‘Second P’ is Probable. You have to
work extraordinary hard to make it probable. When I was a student here, Dean Harper, I
I did all the right things in the Craig School of Business. I was —chief of Portfolio Manager of the Student Investment Fund, I was president of the Financial Management association had an internship at a local brokers firm. I was a five-time all-conference athlete. I did
all the right things. But when I wanted to work for a major blue Wall Street firm, they
informed me that they wouldn’t come to Fresno State campus to recruit. I said “That is not
a problem, where do you, I will come to you.” True story. Your speaker drove from this campus up to Stanford where they had a recruiting fair, and I met them there. I was early and
that woman said, “Young man, are you a student here?” I looked at her right in the eye, and
I said, “Yes ma’am, I am a student and I’m here.” [laughter] She went on to ask me, “Young man are you a student that is enrolled here?” I said, “I can do this all day, I’m a student, I’m
enrolled and I’m here!” [laughter] She pushed me finally to get to the answer
she wanted; she wanted to know if I was taking classes there, and I finally said,
“No ma’am, I’m not.” Message to you Class of 2016. She then asked me, “Then why are you here?” I said, “Ma’am, I’m here because I’m willing to do anything
I have to do to make my dream come Probable, and since you wouldn’t come to me, I’m coming
to you!” [Applause] Hollywood ending would tell you that after
she said that, she hired me, because I went on to work for Wall Street, I’m working
—- Wall Street, in international business and did all these great things in finance,
but what if I told you that your speaker went through that extra side fifty-five times I
was rejected until they gave me my one shot. [Applause] But let me tell you what that does to somebody. And this is somebody’s word, right here. I wrote this in my book. It says the following: “When
people get told no, they usually give up or they aim lower, both which are deemed derailing activities. When you work so hard to make something possible, you refuse to quit, you
actually find the defeat to be an advantage to you and you make that defeat your fuel to
keep pushing forwards. Ultimately it is that fuel that allows you, not just to sustain,
but to change the way they race for the future. But that’s my story. What about, John Hunt
Jr.? [Applause] Stand up, John Hunt Jr.! Stand up, John! Stand up, John! [Applause] Listen to this; you want to hear about somebody
who knows how to work to make a dream come probable? What about John Hunt Jr.? Listen to me Son, one of nine siblings, like you. He will be the first in his family to earn his degree
today. [Applause] John, I want you to hear me sir, stand up.
You are one of the few. You said, “My older brothers and sisters had some problems but they kept telling me that John you are the one that’s going to make it. He said, the
toughest decisions that he made was leaving his neighborhood because he felt he might
be leaving his younger brother who is looking at him to be his example. This young man said he packed his Honda, he drove up here to this campus, he felt like he was all alone because he watched friends move in with their loved ones, and no one helped John move in. He moved in by himself with that Honda. But listen to what this young man who knows how to work said. He said, “I made a commitment that day, I promised myself that not one of
my children “ or one of nieces or nephews would ever move into their college dorm alone
again!” [Applause] This young man, standing right here says he plans to complete his Ph.D. program in clinical counseling or psychology, go back to that
neighborhood that he left, and make sure that other young people get to live their journey
just like him! [Applause] And John, I want you to hear me. I’m talking to you like it’s just me and you right now. John when they tell you, that it’s not going
to happen, that you are aiming too low, you tell them, you aim higher! John you listen
to me when I tell you, that a setback was a set-up for a comeback, and you keep coming back John Hunt! [Applause] Okay? And now I invited everybody here, that if
you believe that this young man here are probable with the speaker will you say in one accord,
It Is POSSIBLE! It is. Congratulations John Hunt Jr. [Applause] Lastly, lastly I say, you got to prepare for
the predictable opportunity sometimes you can’t control everything. You can’t control
if there’s a job for you, you can’t control how they will feel about you. But there are
four things you must always control. You can always control your level of preparation.
You can always control your attitude. You can always control what Dr. Castro’s vision
is, is being BOLD and attacking outside the box opportunities. You always can control those things. Some people say luck, favors that prepared. I say, the prepared favors luck! Because when you are prepared, it’s amazing how lucky you seem to keep on getting. Three months ago, I was at the White House, taking a picture with the first family, in the adjacent room they invited me in to make remarks. I approached the podium, PBS, TV1, the Cabinet was there, all the dignitaries. And I took
the microphone and I said that following, “We would like to extend the gratitude to President Obama, the First-Lady and the Smithsonian. It is an honor and a privilege to be able to
celebrate and commemorate the life and legacy of one of Americas greatest musical icons.
And as Mr. Charles would say if he was here, “Tonight, ladies and gentlemen, you
got the right one, baby!” It sounds great, but what I would tell is,
nobody was able to prepare me for that moment, like I was. Before there were lights, before
there were cameras, before there was action there was me, in my room, by myself putting in repetitions to be prepared for my predictable opportunity. You don’t’ need bright lights
or a big stage to practice your opportunity. You start practicing and you know it will
come to you. Don’t go looking for it, do your work in your seat, your chance will come to
you! [Applause] I close by telling you a story of a young
woman, some would say was divine for me to meet. I’m talking about Adriana Jones. Stand up! [cheering] Listen to this, under the spirit of preparing
for your predictable opportunity, listen to this as I close. She said that following a divorce
that left her homeless, penniless, for twenty-years she was out, before she came back today she earns her Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. [Applause] That’s enough for you to be excited about,
but that’s not even the story. She was in the housing complex governed by the Fresno Housing Authority. She was one of their recipients for support services. What if I, what if I
told you twenty-years later, she is now a commissioner of the organization that she
used to be a recipient of beneficial services from. [Applause] And what if I told you, she told me she is
the first former resident to become Chairman of the Board, the first African-American woman to become Chairman of the Board of the organization that she used to receive support services
from! [Applause] And you think I’m done, I’m not done yet.
What if I told you she was even in her despair, in her moments of time of trial, hear me Adrian,
she was preparing for her predictable opportunity to prepare other people for their opportunity. For her, Zafar, her brother that graduates today, and another sibling, started an organization. [Applause] Where is Zafar? Stand up Zafar. Her brother, Zafar, graduates today and another sibling. [Applause] Stop all that clapping. Stop all that clapping. Now, I’m going to give you something to clap about right now. Listen to this, these two and another sibling started an organization
together to help African-American men over the age of 35 who did not earn a high school diploma, earn one! [applause] And, in fitting fashion, AJ and Zafar told
me that one of their most proud moments was when a graduate at the age of 52, who had
been out of education for 34 years, earned his High School Diploma because of their work! [Applause] I’m talking to Zafar and AJ, but I’m talking
to every graduate here. When you prepare for your predictable opportunity, little do you know
you are preparing to be able to prepare someone else, to achieve their opportunity. Congratulations AJ! Congratulations Zafar! [Applause] I close my address with three minutes of this exercise, I ask every graduate to take these three minutes very seriously. I ask everybody in the room for absolute silence. This is the defining moment for these graduates. Absolute silence. Graduates, in the solitude of this moment, I want you to identity your coexistential motivator. Identify the one person who you know you would not be hearing the speaker
here today, if it not for this person in your life who you know, has gone above and beyond to help you being where you are. Quiet in this place as you think about that one person. Who is it? #2. In the quiet, I want you to replay the very specific things that this person did on your behalf, time and time and time again. Getting up early, staying up late, going without so you could go with. This person gave up their dream so you could have a dream. Remember exactly what they did, in this defining moment. Quiet in this place. #3. Today you earn your
degree from [California State University, Fresno] as you go forward, ten to twenty years, thirty years from now, Imagine that one person taping you on the shoulders, that you’re thinking of right now, and asking you a one very simple question, graduates, “How did you do?’ With all the love, sacrifice and support that
the person you are thinking of did for you, How did you do? There is one answer to the question, graduates. You finished the race, so you could run another one. You didn’t give up because you thought about where you would be if that person, you are thinking of, would of given up on you.
You said, I’ll take a set-back and make it a comeback, because you kept getting up
for me. You said I got told ‘no’ fifty times, I’ll keep getting up because of you. You got
put out and had to work for 20 years and you got back to school, but you didn’t give up because you. You packed up without your siblings and you came up on your own Honda and you made sure you want back to —it happened because of you. Miracle, you didn’t give up
despite the foster care system, because of somebody stepping into your life to make sure you didn’t give
up on yourself. So graduating class here in 2016, as you move on and move forward hear your speaker tell you, that your dreams are more than possible. Hear your speaker tell you, you work in the face of adversity to make it probable. You stay prepared for your predictable opportunity for a break-through and it will find you! You remember the passion and power of the coexistence motivator that you are thinking of right now, to be fuel in
your journey to never give up, no matter the odds or the obstacles. Ladies and gentlemen, if you agree with your speaker as I close, on this day—the twenty-first day—of the fifth month—of the
sixteenth year—of the third millennium in a room that we will celebrate for entertainment, won’t you please join me in congratulating with a noise that is deafening, for this our dreamers to achievers Class of 2016! Congratulations! [Applause]