CEO encourages inclusion as the path to prosperity in Mount Allison convocation address

Photo Credit: Daniel St. Louis

In an era of disruption and uncertainty, it is up to everyone to work together to build a more inclusive future, TD Bank Group President and Chief Executive Officer Bharat Masrani told graduates from Mount Allison University during a convocation address on Monday afternoon.

"It is both your obligation and opportunity to build an even stronger Canada from the one you have had the good fortune to inherit," Masrani said during his address in front of roughly 400 students in Sackville, New Brunswick.

Masrani encouraged the students to set outrageous goals for themselves, but while doing so to consider the big picture. "What do you really want to achieve? Who do you really want to be? Character matters. Reputation matters. Many of these attributes come down to one thing: the promises you make to yourself and to those around you."

In all, five individuals received honorary doctorates from Mount Allison this year. These include Masrani and retired Chief Justice of Canada, the Right Honorable Beverley McLauchlin; Crabtree Foundation President Sandra Crabtree and Grand Chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, Chief of Mathias Colomb Cree Nation (MCCN) in Pukatawagan Arlen Dumas. Indigenous advocate, activist and Olympian, Waneek Horn-Miller was also honoured.

And while disruption and uncertainty can be frightening for people, Masrani emphasized that despite challenges, that the world in many ways has never been safer, healthier or more prosperous, as technology and new innovations help lift people from poverty, drive adoption of clean energy, and fuel remarkable advancements in medical science.

"So the world is, for the most part, moving in the right direction," added Masrani. "Better still, in an increasingly connected world, you will have the power to influence and inspire it in ways that were unimaginable only a few years ago."

"But your generation will also be confronted with challenges. We are living through a period of profound disruption. In the working world, globalization and innovative technologies are reshaping how we are organized, what we do, and how we do it."

Masrani challenged the graduates in the room to use the skills they learned at Mount Allison to think both critically and holistically in helping solve global challenges. Achieving this could be possible he said, in part by aligning with team players who aim to be their best selves and who help others do the same.

"Associate yourself with people and organizations that are purpose-driven—that understand they are part of something larger than themselves and engage in ways that serve the greater good," said Masrani.

"I'm incredibly proud to lead an organization that knows its success relies on the success of those around it. An organization that has made a promise to help build a more inclusive future by investing our time and money to help individuals and communities thrive in an ever-changing world. This includes targeting $100-billion in total by 2030 to support the transition to a low-carbon economy."

Masrani also offered a message of solidarity for the people of New Brunswick affected by the worst flooding in decades along the Saint John River. The flooding has forced thousands of people from their homes and caused millions of dollars in damages.

"Faced with similar challenges before," said Masrani, "this province always proves to be resilient."