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Congrats, graduates! Corporate boss gives crucial advice to Atlanta Tech grads

Photo credit: Kacie Whaley with Steed Media Service

Photo credit: Kacie Whaley with Steed Media Service

It was a very joyous day for all in attendance at the Georgia International Convention Center on Monday, May 16. The occasion was the graduation of hundreds of Atlanta Technical College students.

Proud parents, siblings, extended family members and friends cheered on their loved one as the former students walked onto the stage to receive either an associates degree, technical certificate, GED, or diploma. Each student was sent off in hopes that they will succeed at the various technology careers the school specializes in, such as business, public safety, health, public service, industrial, and transportation technologies.

The graduation welcomed a special guest to present the commencement address — Lisa J. Smith. As the region manager of Georgia Power’s Metro South Region, Smith leads the company’s operations and is also in charge of sales, customer service, economic and community development, and external affairs activities. The Meridian, Mississippi native joined Georgia Power in 1997 and worked as an engineer at its sister company, Mississippi Power, in 1993.

Photo credit: Kacie Whaley with Steed Media Service

Photo credit: Kacie Whaley with Steed Media Service

Smith embodies the type of career track that many of the Atlanta Tech grads aspire to achieve, so her message on being passionate about work was extremely valuable to those she addressed.

“Today, employees are looking for career opportunities that really inspire them,” Smith told the audience of eager grads. “Surveys have shown that employers don’t take this into account and lose employees regularly. So, employers have to create an environment where employees can be passionate about that they do.”

The corporate leader told the graduating class to ask themselves one important question that will lead them on a path to doing what they love.

“Ask yourself today, what do you feel passionate about? If you’re able to make a career with your passion, you will be successful,” she said. “There are some people who will say ‘I don’t play games, that’s just not me.’ I would tell them that if you are in the workforce, you’re playing the game. Either you choose to sit on the sidelines, or you choose to be engaged.”

Smith ended her speech with words of encouragement that several students are likely to carry with them into their future.

“Stay strong,” she suggested, “and let your passion guide you. I truly believe — I know — that each one of you can change the world.”