Janet Bernier, JD ’86, principal at BDO USA, LLP and leader for the northeast region’s State and Local Tax Practice received the Distinguished Alumna Award during the 2017 Department of Political Science Convocation on May 19.
“What a time to enter the professional arena,” Bernier said to the graduates. She used her speech to reflect on her career while noting how time and experience can provide an interesting rearview mirror. “(Time) provides an ever-changing lens for you to perceive and interpret the world through,” she said, “Everything I’ve learned that has made me successful today goes back to the professors I’ve had, the challenges, the learning and dreaming big. I worked incredibly hard. Nothing that’s worth having in life comes easy,” she said. “This is your time to join the conversation.”
Bernier urged the graduates to rely on their educational foundation to find their voice and to work hard to leave their mark on the world. “Be an exceptionally good listener,” she advised, “Be confident enough to say I don’t know, be bold enough to take risks but prudent enough to do your due diligence, be kind, be hardworking, be creative and be a leader in your passions, not just your words.
“It’s probably not going to be easy,” she continued, “But I promise you, it will be fascinating.”