Graduation address given by Sheryle Moon

Sheryle Moon gave the following occasional address at the Faculty of Economics and graduation ceremony held at 9.30am on 12 June 2009. Ms Moon is Chief Executive Officer, Wildtwo Pty Ltd.

The photo of Ms Moon is copyright, Memento Photography.

Sheryle Moon

Graduation address

Deputy Chancellor Alan Cameron, Professor Peter Wolnizer, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. It is a great honour for me to be here and to add my congratulations to all of you who graduate today. It is a real achievement and one that sets you up for the future.

As James McBride observed in his book – the Colour of Water – Education makes all the difference. In my career I have had the opportunity to work with those who are the most marginalised in our society. There is no doubt that education and training are the keys to allowing them to fully participate in Australian our society and the economy.

McBrides book is also a tribute to his mother – who’s support and encouragement propelled him to become a better person. So today is an appropriate time to say thank you to the home team supporters, partners, parents, other family members and possibly, as in my case when I completed my Masters, children; who will have been a part of your journey to this event.

They will bask in your reflected glory. So will the people at Sydney University and the Faculty of Economics and Business – who will follow your progress and as your rise in your chosen career path and will claim you as their distinguished alumni. They will also encourage you to undertake further learning to remain current and enhance your prospects in a competitive job market.

Australia and the world is a different place as you graduate then it was when you embarked on your current studies. The unprecedented levels of economic liberalization resulted in increased flows of people, goods, capital and money between nations, markets and economic spheres. It also meant that negative events and activities continents away, wash across the globe and impact all of us here in Sydney and Australia.

Australia however, remains in better shape than many economies and the effects of an aging population, low fertility rates will see us return to an environment of higher demand for workers. This is especially for those, like all of the graduates today with specialised skills and credentials.

Indeed yesterdays fall in unemployment rate might be interpreted as early evidence that massive government spending and interest rate cuts is refiring the economy and helping to promote a shallow downturn. Or it may be seen as a temporary reprise from further unemployment rises.

When I arrived at my first Economics lecture the then Dean quoted socialist Beatrice Webb, who when establishing the London School of Economics said one of the best reasons for studying economics was to prevent you ever being bamboozled by economists.

After a quarter of a century in work I believe Economics gives you a lens through which to view the world. Whether we are talking demand and supply, comparative advantage, elasticity or the social implications of changes in these the ability to understand what is happening in the economy here and globally, will help you make better decisions about life and work. And they are your choices.

A survey last year by the Gallup group found that less than only 1 in 4 employees are engaged in their workplace that means truly connected committed and performing well. 20% of all employees are actively disengaged and are potentially saboteurs inside the organisation. The remaining 62% are ambivalent.

As an employer and a recruitment professional my advice is make the choice to be engaged, don’t fall into that uncommitted 80%. Use your skills to the maximum and in an enthusiastic and optimistic way, apply them to something which has a purpose and about which you are passionate, Most of all have fun and celebrate the milestones along the way.

Today is one of those milestones. Congratulations again.