Bill Lane, former U.S. ambassador to Australia, spoke at Cal Poly yesterday in the University Union regarding challenges students face in the current state of the economy.
Lane said new opportunities were arising all the time for employment, saying he wanted to encourage students worried about their future employment. Lane said that too much of today’s media is focused on the negative and students should accentuate the positives and remain open minded with their options that come along.
Before serving as a U.S. ambassador, Lane worked as a co-publisher of Sunset Magazine with his brother Melvin for almost 40 years. During the depression, Lane and his brother walked door-to-door selling the magazine and he said he learned how to remain optimistic during a difficult period.
“Students should realize that what exists today isn’t going to be what happens tomorrow,” Lane said.
Lane also said he wants them to have a passion for what they do and not to close off opportunities to other fields that are rapidly changing today. His message to graduates is to remain patient since they will not find their “magic bullet right away.” Lane said students should utilize their education at Cal Poly and keep an open mind since something will happen tomorrow that nobody can predict.
Lane’s presentation was sponsored by the Executive Partners Program through the Orfalea College of Business at Cal Poly. The program represents an organization of senior executives and college administrators who volunteer their time to share experiences with Cal Poly students. There are 11 members who serve on the leadership council for the program. Lane said he was honored to be associated with a program of executives who impart their knowledge with students.
A group of around 50 people, including students and other executive partners, attended the event. One of the most interested students was environmental management and protection senior Lucas Rossmerz. He said he was interested in the international perspective on history and global growth that Lane had.
“History is one of the most important factors in being successful today,” Rossmerz said. “We have many more advantages today that we need to utilize.”
Rossmerz added that too many people are concerned with the here and now which hinders their ability for success. He said that he came away smiling and with a sense of American pride following Lane’s speech.
Mark Landon, founder and executive director of the Nature Corps, recommended that Lane speak to students after working together on preservation efforts in national parks. Landon has been involved with Cal Poly since the early 1990s through the landscape architecture department and has served as a mentor to Cal Poly business students for five months.
Landon said he wants to instill a positive attitude in his students to meet today’s obstacles. He said life will always present a whole series of obstacles regardless of the economic conditions and does not want students to get down on themselves.
“The most profound message that I want students to understand is that it isn’t what you get out of life, but what you give in life,” Landon said.
Landon concluded by saying that life involves dealing with different attitudes and perspectives and the greatest rewards in life come from what people choose to give.