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Moore Delivers Advice to Business School Grads

By Kevin Zhou, Crimson Staff Writer

Facing a sea of umbrellas and spectators huddled in ponchos, Time, Inc. Chairman and CEO Ann S. Moore provided a ray of sunny optimism when she challenged members of the Harvard Business School Class of 2008 to use their talents to make a lasting impact on society.

Moore—who has been named one of Fortune magazine’s “Most Powerful Women in Business”—called on the graduates-to-be to fill the void left by the previous generation, emphasizing that “making money is easy, making a difference is not.”

“I’m sorry my generation didn’t advance civilization further for you, and left you with many of the same problems,” she said underneath a tent on Baker Lawn. “It will be hard and stressful, but you are a competitive bunch. You can do it better, and you have to try.”

Moore, who oversees approximately 150 magazines and 40 Web sites, advised the graduates that they should always maintain their priorities. Though she has dined at the White House, attended the Academy Awards, and thrown out the opening pitch at Shea Stadium three times, Moore said that her most lasting memory has been the time that she has spent with her family.

“The biggest thrill for me is still Sunday night dinners at my house,” she said. “My husband and I both live for Sunday night dinners.”

Moore also told the audience that they should not be afraid to take risks during their lifetimes. When she graduated from the Business School in 1978, Moore turned down other high paying jobs in order to become a financial analyst at Time Inc.—a job that she said allowed her to pursue her passion.

“Inactions may be regretted more in the long term,” she said. “As you age, you feel worse for not trying.”

But Moore said she was able to take her job at Time Inc. in part because the salary difference between the positions was not as wide as it would be today.

“The real reason I took the lowest offer had nothing to do with my husband’s salary,” she said. “It had everything to do with the spread.”

In introducing Moore, Class of 2008 graduate Anne E. Bercovich not only extolled Moore for her accomplishments in the business world, but also for overcoming hardships as a student. Moore attended the Business School when men dominated the class and womens’ bathrooms lacked permanent signs, Bercovich said.

Kelly P. Diamond, the Business School’s associate director of student and academic services, said on Monday that Moore would be able to leave a lasting impact on students because of her connection with the school.

“I think she understands what it is to be an HBS grad,” she said. “It’s such a different community. I think to have someone who understands that is really helpful.”

—Staff writer Kevin Zhou can be reached at kzhou@fas.harvard.edu.

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