Good morning everybody. It is my honor to
introduce you a UAlbany alumna from the class of 1978 who just happens to be the
chief executive officer of Hertz Global Holdings. Mrs. Kathryn Marinello. Since 2017 she has led Hertz, one of the largest vehicle rental companies in the
world as one of only a handful of female CEOs in the country. Yeah, you! In fact just this week the latest fortune 500 list came out and it sets a new record. As of June 1st, 33 companies will be led by female CEOs, the highest total ever. And while
that number represents only about 7% of the group as a whole,
it certainly is trending in the right direction, isn’t it ladies? [cheers] Mrs. Marinello’s
varied business background includes experience in automotive and consumer
marketing, banking, business services, technology and executive management. A former UAlbany psychology major, like me, she credits her degree with building
her lifelong awareness of people’s perceptions and motivations which has
directly impacted her success. Her experience includes leading companies
such as GE, Citi Bank, Barclays Area management and Ceridian Corporation and
participating on boards of directors for companies such as General Motors and
Volvo. An auto aficionado and mother of three, I personally look forward to hearing from Kathryn and hope she might even share with us her ultimate choice in cars. And now, Kathryn Marinello from the class of 1978. [Applause] By the way that is my roommate that I first met at State Quad when I first came to the school. Yeah, you go girl! And a couple of my fellow employees and
friends from GE and currently from Hertz. That’s a tough thing
do I need to rip up my speech? I know, don’t clap give me a break here. When I got the call and was asked to consider doing this commencement speech, I have to be honest with you it was pretty amazing and I thought to myself wait a second I graduated SUNY Albany pretty ordinary
student with a psychology degree. I worked washing dishes at State Quad, I
was a waitress at Red Lobster, and I was checking people in at night at the Turf
Inn to pay for my school. So why am I here, why am I being asked? Well you know as you heard I am in a rare group of people, I’m one of 30 women running a
Fortune 500, ten billion dollar company. Yeah. And so I thought it was really important
to come today for you to understand that I was just one of you guys sitting out
there never did I have a clue that I would
have the success. And there’s not a real mystery to it, I don’t think about
it every day. I get up at about 6:00 in the morning walk my dogs go to work and get the job done. But I’m here and I was just a normal kid in this audience not too long ago I’d like to say. I didn’t have a spectacular academic career, I got a degree in psychology and my plan was to go out and save the world. I wanted to make a difference, I was really focused on wanting to help underprivileged kids. Wanting to make an impact and I tried and for a couple of years I was a foster care social worker for the Brooklyn diocese of Catholic Charities. And I worked probably a hundred hours a week, I will tell you this the hardest job I
ever had it was beaten and abused kids it was
horrific and ultimately I burnt out and you could
call that a failure but I did give it my all for a few years, I went the full
nine yards and I finally said I’ve got to find a different way. And so I left
Social Work but I had to get a job and I had to pay the bills and so what were my
competencies to fall back on? I took a ton of statistics here as a part of my psychology degree and I was good at numbers so I talked my way into a
accounting job a cost accounting job and I worked at a metal desk in the
middle of the manufacturing floor basically counting numbers, adding things up, weighing things. It was an unbelievably boring job, but it did pay the bills and I did learn how companies make money. But part of what has gotten me through the years is figuring out how to have fun. And through this boring job
we would listen to the radio we play tunes and whoever would figure out the
name of the tune first got points. The one with the
most points got free beers that night when we all went out to drink beers. Right? So it is about having fun and figuring out how to make the best of a
tough situation. So ultimately I did realize I’ve got to do something different, this is not going to make it for me a long-term and I went back to
school, I worked full-time and I went to school full time at night and I got my
MBA. And so ultimately again I ended up here being asked here because I ran a Fortune 500, 10 billion dollar company managing a million cars and forty thousand people around the world. That is friggin awesome guys right and I
love it right and so I think not just for the women here but for all you guys
here you know it’s an amazing journey but anybody here in this audience can
have your own amazing end and have that awesome job. And so you know I didn’t have a clue back then, I was afraid I had no idea what I was gonna do but I got it
done. So a little bit of advice and I think I want to start first and foremost with what you do when you’re successful. And I think no matter where you go and
what you do you have to continue to serve others, and all along the way what
has motivated me and made me the leader that I am is my passion for making
things better for people, people I work with, people who I have served in the
community, and people need a little extra help. And my faith has been an incredible
driver behind this, it sustained and reinforced the responsibility I feel to
share the gifts that I’ve been given with the rest of the world and do good
in the world. To that end, I have, because of my success, had the means to do good. I provide homes for foster children and support that work. I provide mentoring
opportunities and I built a community center in my neighborhood that helps to
train and helps kids with school skills and kids who aren’t going to graduate
high school basically get them their credits and get
them through the school. And I continue my passion to help underserved minority youth, at Hertz we’ve established a scholarship foundation to help kids
through college and find their way. So as it from a business perspective I’m a
servant leader, I have a very simple plan for success, if I take care of my
employees they take care of the customers the customers come back
because they love the service and the people that they meet and in the end we
make more money we’re investing back in the company and we can create careers
for the people working for us. And when you give people a career, they’re proud, they give back to their community, they do service, and right now I feel like
we’re creating 40,000 people that go out into their community and do good. So now for some practical advice and if you talk to my kids they they love to hear
me give practical advice … no, and parents out there, there’s good news
they will eventually see the wisdom and to that end I have three sons and right
now they’re all working so that’s also good news for you guys, but for the most
part they did listen and it will come full circle there will things parents
there and professors there will be things you share with these students
that they do find in their jobs and apply in their jobs in their lives that
make a difference. So 7 tips that I share with my sons and I’ll share with you: when you’re going into a job be all in and go in there to make an impact, look
around and ask yourself what needs to get done that’s not getting done and
then don’t overthink it just get it done, be the first in to work and always show
up, stay relevant do the extra time and put in the extra effort to continuously
upgrade your skills, be committed if you don’t love your job quit and get one you
love, and then finally work hard raise your hand
step up take the hard job that others shy away from because of the
difficulty or risk and hit it out of the park through hard work and tenacity
you’ll grow from it and I guarantee you’ll be recognized. So for the parents who love these graduates and were supportive all along the way I will tell
you again my kids are all gainfully employed it’s a beautiful thing and
yours will be to and believe it or not they now ask me for advice unsolicited. Very few people obtain success by simply being in the right place at the right time or winning with a single project or transaction. Shortcuts really don’t pay off but the simple formula of hard work, tenacity and doing what you love will make a very ordinary person like me end up with extraordinary success and happiness in life. And that leads me to my final piece
of advice. You have to work at happiness, it is hard work, it doesn’t just happen, you make your own happy, it’s work but it’s the best kind of work. And when I’m having a bad day and I feel like I didn’t do a great job I go home and I tell myself, tomorrow double up make twice the impact. And I go in, I hit it out of the park, and the success I have that day overrides any kind of sense of
sadness or feeling of failure. And then, guess what, here’s another great hint: if
I’m tired, pissed off, overworked I do something to treat myself and if it’s
been really hard it’s really expensive and really fun and if it’s just a bad
day I maybe will call my old roommate up
here get her to tell me a joke or laugh and get out of the funk. But I refuse to be unhappy for more than a day and I do think that’s made a huge difference in
my life and never forget you can be happy you can make your own happy. So with this everybody I know you’re saying is unleash your own greatness you may
not believe it or understand it yet but I would have never thought sitting in
this chair that I would have been able to unleash the greatness that I’ve
gotten in my life and the achievement. So go out there guys, kill it, and prove them
you can be great and extraordinary! God bless you have fun today!