A friend of mine had been asking me for a month to write her a valedictorian speech for her, without providing me any specific information into her new job, or what exactly she was the valedictorian of. This is what I came up with.
Good afternoon Managers and Coworkers,
Today I stand infront of you all as Valedictorian of BMO. Does the person who's writing this speech for me know what that means? No. Did they have any sort of guidance aside from, "Just write me the speech. Use bmo.com or something"? No. But in the grand scheme of things, none of that matters. What matters is I am the Valedictorian of something, and I assume this means I'm better than all of you, which is awesome because it's only been like two months. So, congratulations to me. And to you! Look at us. Graduating something, and furthering our careers at BMO in some field. Mine is fraud. Yours may be similar, or different. Let us think about the reason we wanted to work here in the first place, which will vary from, I forgot that I even applied last year, to This is who I bank with. And let us feel pride that we have a job that I would assume is stable, probably with an office, employed by a company who appreciates its workers enough to have some sort of celebratory function.
"Who had I become? Just another shark in a suit? Two days later at our corporate conference in Miami, a breakthrough. Breakdown? Breakthrough. I couldn't escape one simple thought: I hated myself. No, no, no, here's what it was: I hated my place in the world. I had so much to say and no one to listen. And then it happened. It was the oddest, most unexpected thing. I began writing what they call a mission statement. Not a memo, a mission statement. You know, a suggestion for the future of our company. A night like this doesn't come along very often. I seized it. What started out as one page became twenty-five. Suddenly, I was my father's son again. I was remembering the simple pleasures of this job, how I ended up here out of law school, the way a stadium sounds when one of my players performs well on the field. The way we are meant to protect them in health and in injury. With so many clients, we had forgotten what was important.
I wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote and I'm not even a writer. I was remembering even the words of the original sports agent, my mentor, the late great Dickie Fox who said: 'The key to this business is personal relationships.' Suddenly, it was all pretty clear. The answer was fewer clients. Less money. More attention. Caring for them, caring for ourselves and the games, too. Just starting our lives, really. Hey - I'll be the first to admit, what I was writing was somewhat touchy feely. I didn't care. I have lost the ability to bulls--t. It was the me I'd always wanted to be. I took it in a bag to a Copymat in the middle of the night and printed up a hundred and ten copies. Even the cover looked like The Catcher in the Rye. I entitled it 'The Things We Think and Do Not Say: The Future of Our Business.'...Everybody got a copy...I was 35. I had started my life."
Was that monologue from Jerry Maguire? Perhaps. But at the end of the day, Bank of Montreal offers competitive rates on mortgages, efficient financial planning, and various bank accounts that adhere to your personal needs. Did I apply at TD Canada and Scotia Bank first? Of course I did. They were my first and second choice. But you leave with the girl you brought, and I thank you BMO, for giving me the honour of Valedictorian of something, and I look forward to probably finishing out the rest of 2015 with you. We did it!