Ann Moore returned to her alma mater Wednesday to address Harvard Business School’s Class of 2013. The former Time Inc. CEO never attended her own graduation in 1978, moving to New York City with her husband immediately after her last class instead. “Looking back, I wonder, ‘Why was I always in such a hurry to get to work?’” Moore said to the crowd gathered on the Baker Library Lawn, according to Harvard Magazine.
Moore served as a top executive at Time Inc. for 33 years, including an 8-year stint as chairwoman and CEO. She stepped down in 2010, but not before being named one of Forbes’ most powerful women in business 10 times. Although she doesn’t regret her success, Moore claimed she wouldn’t have missed her ceremony today.
“I wouldn’t make that mistake,” Moore said, “now that I’ve learned to embrace mindfulness.”
Moore reminisced on “the good old days,” admitting “they were not all that great, as I recall them.”
“I had two things in my first New York office in corporate finance that you won’t find in your offices. First, the absolutely essential adding machine,” Moore said, claiming the second was a fully-stocked bar. Every week, an employee would come by and re-fill the liquor cabinets with fifths of every alcohol being offered in the company’s magazines.
“For those of us who had young children at home, getting blasted at work wasn’t on the schedule,” Moore added. “I think working mothers should take credit for sobering up America.”
Moore spoke to the power, and necessity, of journalism and addressed Time Inc.’s uncertain future, saying:
For 30-plus years, the chance to work with really clever people, on extraordinary brands, getting paid to read magazines, debating the issues of our time, making a real difference in the world—that was a real joy. Who are these people who volunteer to live in a red zone, during a war, or after a nuclear meltdown or tsunami? And who’s going to pay them, if there’s a total disruption to serious news journalists? It was really a pleasure and an honor to work at Time Inc. for almost 35 years. I have my fingers crossed that it’s not too late for them to survive as an independent public company.
Moore also spoke specifically to Harvard Business School’s female MBA candidates, whom she addressed in April as part of the University’s 50th anniversary of women at the business school. Harvard Magazine quoted Moore at the time as saying:
I don’t know about you, but I’m not spending my twilight years playing catch-up again. I got through HBS in the ‘70s when there wasn’t even a proper ladies room in Aldrich Hall. I played basketball in the ‘60s with that stupid three-dribble rule. I had to go out of state for college, because my state school, UVA, was all male. I spent my lifetime catching up—I caught up. So let’s not slip behind again.
Moore admitted she wanted to repeat her words, but refrained, saying she knew she needed to come up with a new speech. That didn’t stop her from encouraging the graduates to turn to the Internet, however.
“My HBS speech to women alums is still up on YouTube,” Moore said. “By the way, it’s quite good.”
To see for yourself, check out the video below.