Nina Tassler, former chair of CBS Entertainment, spoke at Boston University's commencement this weekend. Something she said was an oft-repeated theme: amazement at the unexpected twists and turns life takes.
Tassler became one of the highest ranking women in Hollywood, but it wasn't something she'd imagined for herself, because she was, "a middle-class, Jewish, Puerto Rican kid from a quasi-hippie family; a woman finding her way through a dominantly male industry, clutching a bachelor of fine arts in a world of folks with law degrees and MBAs. It's inconceivable that I should be standing here before you."
On Saturday, over at Bridgewater State University, Se. Elizabeth Warren said:
"My own journey feels too improbable, too full of mistakes and twists and turns and failures. I did not sit in the back row at my college graduation and say 'Whoa, next stop U.S. Senate!" I never imagined I would be a commencement speaker. I never imagined I would get into a Twitter war with Donald Trump...Get ready, because even if you think you've got everything figured out, trust me, the most exciting parts of your life are not even on your radar screen yet."
So, what's possible when you embrace the improbable? Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito picked up the theme at Worcester State University, when she recalled this July 1776 moment from Massachusetts history:
"The moment that the publisher Isaiah Thomas, just a few steps from here, standing on what was known as Worcester Town hall, publicly reading for the first time in Massachusetts our Declaration of Independence. Those that saw opportunity, they seized it, they laid a foundation, a foundation upon which the next generation could build a life."
Warren concluded her speech to the Bridgewater class of 2016 with that same spirit:
"Knowing who you are will help you when it's time to fight. Fight for the job you want, fight for the people who mean the most to you, fight for the world you live in and the world you want to live in. If you know who you are, you won't get caught up when times are tough and the naysayers try to stop you. Or, to put it differently, as one of the great philosophers of our time has said, 'Haters gonna hate hate hate hate hate.' Knowing who you are helps you shake it off!"
This segment aired on May 17, 2016.