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Living it, up: BYU Marriott’s 2024 Convocation

 “We are sending you out to accomplish the momentous task of transforming a world.” These were the words of Brigitte Madrian, dean of the BYU Marriott School of Business, to the graduates at the April 2024 BYU Marriott convocation. With that in mind, guest speaker and BYU Marriott alumna Ruth Todd encouraged graduates to keep an upward trajectory—to truly “live it, up”—as they practice Christlike leadership.

Ruth Todd, in ceremonial attire, stands at the pulpit as she shares her message during the convocation.
Ruth Todd speaks to graduates during BYU Marriott's 2024 convocation.
Photo courtesy of BYU Marriott.

Todd graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in journalism and later returned to earn her MBA from BYU Marriott. An award-winning journalist, Todd has worked for a variety of companies ranging in roles from a spokesperson and media manager to a senior vice president and chief reputation officer, and she is currently the executive vice president and chief content officer for Bonneville International. These experiences have taught her that successful leaders rise up, level up, and look up.

The first step is for graduates to rise to the occasion and start the next chapter of their stories immediately, Todd explained. “Rise up to your potential and determine to offer the world the best version of you.”

Todd clarified that we shape the best version of ourselves when we do the right thing even in difficult situations. “It will be during the hard times when we choose to step up and do the right thing that our characters will be shaped and our hearts will be molded,” Todd noted.

The next step Todd outlined is for graduates to level up by seeking continual self-improvement. For Todd, leaving her corporate job to earn an MBA was a drastic change that leveled up her education. She also called attention to the small details of life, emphasizing that “if we decide to level up a little every day, in time we will be blessed with a fullness of learning and understanding that will enable us to serve better and live with greater purpose.”

Rounding up is a method that Todd suggested graduates use to level up on a daily basis. She explains, “To round up means you get the chance to share some of your abundance with someone else who might have need or may be struggling.” Todd encourages graduates to round up by practicing kindness, patience, and forgiveness.

In essence, Todd explained that to “live it, up” is to be a Christlike leader. She taught that the final and most important step is to look up to Jesus Christ. “Focus on drawing close to Jesus Christ today. That will bring you the confidence you desire.”

As graduates draw closer to Christ and look up to Him, Todd knows they will be able to transform the world. Todd concluded, “My great hope for you, Class of 2024, is that you will always look up to the Lord, Jesus Christ. Look up to the Light of the World as your pattern for leadership, your guide for living, your Savior and Redeemer.”


Written by Nicholas Day