Michael Gallagher | Alumni Service Award Winner Speech [Video]

The George Mason University Alumni Association annually recognizes outstanding alumni at the Celebration of Distinction. This year, Michael Gallagher MBA ’94 is the recipient of the 2015 Alumni Service Award. A segment of Gallagher’s thank you speech can be found below.

“I’m not a joiner, and I never have been. In fact I’m too often embarrassed when I’m asked what clubs or groups I belong to, or what causes I give my time to…because there are none too few of the former, and very few of the latter.

In fact if I’m going to support something I’m much more inclined to give my money than my time, because I can always get more money.

Before I got involved with the then School of Management’s Alumni Chapter, I had rarely attended alumni events at the university, although for a number of years I’d enjoyed judging or commenting on students’ case analysis presentations.

So when, out of the blue, [members of the School of Business] asked me to get involved with the alumni chapter as a board member, I was flattered. And couldn’t say no. And I’m very glad they asked.

That’s the thing about asking. What I’ve learned over my career in business is that it’s VERY hard for people to say no when you’re looking them in the eye. That’s why the world’s richest and most powerful people are surrounded by gauntlets of adjutants, whose primary job, I’ve come to realize, is to say “no” on their behalf to the many requests for their time, attention, and coin.

It’s hard for people to say no to other people. Which is why it’s so very important to ask. I was asked to get involved, to give my time, and I couldn’t say no. I’ve enjoyed every second of my time with the alumni chapter of the School of Business. I’ve met many great people and made many new friends.

So I’ll leave you with this.

The most powerful thing we can do, to help get our fellow alumni engaged in supporting the university, is to look them in the eye and ask them to do something. To give some time, to join a committee, to complete a survey, to give money…something, anything. Because they WILL have a hard time saying no.

And to those of you who aren’t yet engaged in supporting the university, I’m looking you in the eye right now and asking you to contact the alumni relations office, or the alumni chapter, and find out what you can do to support George Mason University.”

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