UT Dallas

Glimpse of Graduation, Spring 2019

Photo of Bonnie Helm
View More Tevin Edney Bonnie Helm
Brian Hoang
Aminah I. Khan
Ashton Rel
Zehra Rizvi
Emily Stinnett
Pranav Thanki
Weston Tuttle
Christian Vieira

Bonnie Helm

Master of Business Administration and Master of Science, Healthcare Leadership and Management

Throughout the course of my life, my father has repeated a phrase that I never truly understood until recently. Over and over again, my father has urged me to “be bold.” And when you think about it, bold is a relatively vague term. Is it good? Is it bad? Is it even applicable to me? People who speak out of turn are said to be “bold” with their words. Anything that comes after “If I may be so bold,” is generally not something that you want to hear. Soldiers and first responders are “courageous and bold.” To me, it was either a bad thing, like being impudent and presumptuous, or that was incredibly unattainable: like a war hero or an officer in the line of duty. And yet, over and over again the encouragement that I received was not “be confident,” or “be brave,” but “be bold.”

What I’ve found is that being bold is not an action that one takes in a defined moment in time. It is a lifestyle, a deliberate choice that has both the advantage of pushing you outside of your comfort zone while being able to truly change who you are as a person. Being bold is reflected not in the large but in the small. It is choosing to speak up when you know something is wrong. It is offering a genuine smile to someone you don’t know. It is being kind, even when you don’t want or have to be. It is trying something new, going out of your way to help someone else, and exploring new sides of who you think you are.

“Be bold by continuing to fight and live, and to stay true to yourself. The difference between boldness and bravery is that the former can be practiced no matter where you are in life.”

Being bold is not “living your best life.” Because even if you aren’t living your best life, even if you find yourself in the midst of the darkness, you can still be bold. The thing about boldness is that you can utilize it wherever you are in life. Do you find yourself in a place of fortune? You can choose to give back to others. Are you stuck in a rut? Be bold by reaching out to genuinely compliment someone if you feel like that is as much as you can muster. Are you at the bottom of a pit? Be bold by continuing to fight and live, and to stay true to yourself. The difference between boldness and bravery is that the former can be practiced no matter where you are in life.

In Star Trek, the mission of the starship Enterprise is to “boldly go where no one has gone before!” I like to think of graduation as the gateway for our own starships as we spread out amongst these “strange new worlds” to tread our own paths and create our own futures. We have an endless supply of choices to make and things to do in our lifetimes, and it is often an easy decision to look away, to ignore, or to take the easy road and hope that everything will work out. But in taking the easy road that many have trodden, rather than boldly creating your own path, you will fail to discover some of the most wonderful things about life and about yourself. Boldness is a choice, in all stages and moments, no matter who or where you are.

The generation that is sitting here in this room is the generation that will be the next to lead organizations, companies and even countries. That is why I believe that being bold is one of the most important decisions that you can make. Who dares to research and learn? To challenge their own personal beliefs? To make decisions that can help change and guide our futures? Those who choose to live a bold life are the ones who will be able to do these things and will be able to take us where no one has been before. The best for all of us is only waiting beyond our comfort zones, so I encourage everyone to follow my father’s advice and “Be Bold!” Congratulations to the Class of 2019!

During her time as a graduate student, Bonnie Helm BS’16 has served as the social chair for the MBA cohort, helped recruit new students to the school through the MBA programs office and volunteered with the Jindal School’s Institute for Excellence in Corporate Governance. After graduation, she will seek a job in health care operations and strategy.