Your Brand is Your Bond

Casey Gerald, HBS
Casey Gerald, HBS

Harvard MBA 2014 graduate Casey Gerald’s May 28th keynote address has many comparing him to Presidents Clinton and Obama.

Sometimes a person’s narrative (the story of their journey) makes their presence that much more intriguing.  Even a storyteller such as me can get sucked into the vortex.

Still, it is important to remember, “business is personal,” and your personal narrative (story) is a tool to build your brand.

Therefore, no matter how challenging your journey, the decisions you make along the way will show your character.  Our decision-making is 100 percent determined by our values.

In other words, in today’s transparent business culture, Your Brand is your Bond.

Gerald’s Class Day Keynote address drives this point home in spades.  His speech is on its way to viral fueled by its Hero’s Journey, mono-myth quality.

The Hero’s Journey, after a series of struggles and temptations, always ends with the protagonist realizing the cause he gives his/her life to – is bigger than him/her.
Gerald, who was raised by his grandmother and sister, reportedly abandoned by his father, rises like a phoenix from a Dallas school district to Yale -to-Wall Street-to -D.C.-to-Harvard.   He says he looked into the face of death and realized he had nothing to fear.

In some respects, Gerald’s early journey reads like that of Presidents Clinton and Obama; some business leaders have compared his speech-delivering skills to both.   To me, the similarity begins with his life narrative, which many great leaders seem to share.

The search for the missing father (or not) that results in knowledge of self. And then delivering the oratorical piece calling us to action that taps into our psyche, reminding of us our humanity and helping us remember the Power of Now.

All that said, I challenge you to listen to Gerald’s speech and not want to go out and change the world; or at the very least, change yourself.

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