TCC Graduates Encouraged to Take Risks

FORT WORTH, Texas (May 13, 2011) Graduates should be “measured risk-takers” willing to take jobs based on the opportunities they provide rather than the salary, said Tarrant County College commencement speaker Napoleon Brandford III, who took lower- paying jobs that prepared him to start two companies.

Brandford, chairman and co-founder of the nation’s only minority/woman-owned investment banking underwriting firm, made his remarks Friday at TCC’s 43rd Annual Spring Commencement. Associate degrees and certificates of completion were awarded to the nearly 2,000 graduates, who participated in the ceremony.

His firm, Siebert Brandford Shank & Co., LLC, is ranked eighth in the nation for senior-managed underwriting transactions for the first time since its establishment in 1996. Brandford also co-founded the first African-American a municipal underwriting firm.

In sharing his “Blueprint for Success,” Brandford told graduates to get their priorities straight, work hard and “withstand the dream killers who will be doing everything in their power to prevent you from reaching your destiny.” Further, he encouraged them to build up a rainy day fund while living within their means.

“If I had not kept my living expense low and set aside money in a savings account, there is no way I would have been in a position to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity (to start his own company),” said Brandford. He said had he kept his higher- paying job he would have lost everything since the company he worked for eventually became Lehman Brothers, which filed for bankruptcy.

“In the pursuit of your dreams you will encounter in life a lot of takers and a lot of haters, but remember, you can’t let anyone deter you. . .,” Brandford said.

TCC Chancellor Erma Johnson Hadley told the commencement audience that “Tarrant County College is the people’s college” and invited them to take advantage of the “many opportunities that have been designed just for you.” She added that TCC offers preparation for 32 of the 38 job opportunities available in the region.

After conferring degrees and instructing graduates to move their tassels to the left, the Chancellor directed them through the inaugural TCC Alumni Association pinning ceremony, as a symbol of their accomplishments and membership in the association.

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