Twenty-eight years ago, I stood with 18 other third graders to serenade our parents with “The Greatest Love of All.” At the time, Whitney Houston was a role model for bridging racial silos, for women and for young girls of color like myself. Through the following decades, her classic 80s ballad seemed nothing more than an icon on the shelf with other hits like “We are the world.” The song takes on a different meaning with her passing.
At the Bainbridge Graduate Institute, we focus on self-development in nearly every class. Each student aims toward a deeper level of individual awareness and authenticity. We combine the direct correlation between leadership, innovation and performance with knowing who we are, what we believe in and what we value. Whitney was sharing this message with the world over 20 years ago, “Learning to love yourself, it is the greatest love of all.”
Graduation is approaching for my fellow cohorts, and I can already imagine a post-MBA world filled with a busy career, family, achievements and possibly some failures. Cohorts will need to navigate business cycles, employee relations and new markets…all of which are critical to creating companies that create economic and social impact. Yet, within our daily lives it is so important to take a moment everyday to be aware of our values and right livelihood to avoid being distracted from the very reason we started our journeys at BGI–to change business for good. The resiliency to remain committed to a lifetime of living out triple bottom line values starts with self-awareness.
Thanks for all the memories, Whitney, and for sharing the profound message that loving ourselves is the first step in being the change we want to see. Your message is needed now more than ever in our challenged world, and I hope you find some comfort in knowing not all was in vain. May you rest in peace.
Jen Martinez will graduate from the Bainbridge Graduate Institute in 2012 with an MBA in Sustainable Business with a Concentration in the Outdoors Industry. She is changing business for good as the Strategic Initiatives Manager, Economic Development at Bexar County in San Antonio Texas. You can follow Jen on Twitter at @jen_martinez.