Inspirational Janet Napolitano Quotes

Janet Napolitano, Mission Inn, April 2015
UC President Janet Napolitano, April 9, 2015.
Image credit: Michael Elderman

Janet Napolitano Quotations

Janet Napolitano Quotes: (Updated thru 2018) Though many of these quotes come from Janet Napolitano’s commencement speeches, they are relevant not just to university graduates, but to all.

* On the subject of free speech: “Civil discourse between those with opposing views seems a quaint relic of the past.” Janet Napolitano, announcing the National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement at UCDC. (October, 2017)

* Advice to a leader: “Listen more. Set a vision. Be clear. Be strong, and don’t lose your sense of humour.” Janet Napolitano, NY Times, Higher Ed Leaders’ Forum. (June, 2017)

* “We are not here to be mediocre. We are here to be excellent.” Janet Napolitano, UC Berkley-Haas, Dean’s Speaker Series. (November 4, 2014)

* “Be more forgiving about perfection. It’s okay to make mistakes. But what you have to do is be strong enough to acknowledge them and keep moving forward.” Janet Napolitano, She Shares Speaker Series, September 2015

*”The most important thing for us as women, is that we have to help each other.”

*”Even the thickest of skins can get pierced at times.” Janet Napolitano, March 25th 2015

* “The way I look at it is, you’re put on the earth for a reason and you’re put on the earth to make a positive difference somewhere, somehow, for someone other than yourself.” Janet Napolitano, February 10th 2015

* “Your most precious asset is your time.”

* “We often forget that someone had to build basics we rely on.”

* “Respect is all about treating the people around you with fairness, dignity and compassion.”

* “It’s each generation’s obligation to help the next generation along.”

* “It’s not how much you make in life, it’s whether you make a difference.”

* “Employment must be meaningful to you, to the people you love, and to the greater society in which we live.”

Janet Napolitano, May 2011, Emory University.
Janet Napolitano, May 2011, at Emory University.
Image Credit: The Associated Press

* ” … my hope for you is that you will look back on the decades that have passed and see the twists and turns — the tacking — that are the hallmark of a well-lived life …”

* “Leaders must have a long-term vision. They must think bigger and persuade other people that they want to be part of this something bigger. They must also have a sense, operationally, of how to get it all done. And then they must have the wisdom and patience to step back and let others do it.”

* “Let the actions of leaders inspire you but let them also teach you that no-one is perfect and that our success comes despite our imperfections.”

* “One of the purposes of a good education is that when windows of opportunity open, you are prepared to go through them.”

* “Believing is the first requirement of achieving. The second is that you get in the game.”

* “Stay alert to opportunities especially the unexpected ones that will move you forward.”

* On leadership values: “You have to clearly communicate your vision to get people to buy in. You also have to have the courage of your convictions, and you need to be able to explain what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.”

* “For as long as we hold them in our hearts they are not gone.” (Speaking of the deceased UCSB students at Isla Vista, May 2014)

* “But I will stand here today and say this with utmost certainty: in the end, how each and every one of you comes to judge the success of your life ….. will hinge on your answer to a single question: Did I make a difference?”

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