John Roland Serves as Guest Speaker

On June 3rd, MIL Senior Vice President John Roland served as guest speaker at John F. Kennedy High School’s 2021 commencement ceremony. As a proud alumnus and lifelong “Fighting Eagle,” John was honored to receive the request from principal Dr. Terrance Menefee on behalf of the Cleveland Metropolitan Schools District after being nominated by an Alumni Association board member. John has worked closely with the school’s alumni association for a number of years, and in particular this year, supporting a student scholarship program. John generously provides his financial management expertise to the association, helping them to secure the critical funding needed.

Four decades after his own graduation day, John spoke to the Class of 2021 on what life after high school could look like for the newly minted graduates if they worked hard and remembered the most important lessons from their high school years. In his keynote address, John spoke to students on the history and proud legacy of JFK High School and how they could draw on its heritage and great reputation as they pursued future endeavors. John also encouraged the graduates to be SMART— Strategic, Motivated, Accountable, Resilient and Tactical—regarding their future professional and personal lives.

When asked what he learned in high school that helped in his career at MIL, John pointed to high school years full of leadership experiences, achievements through hard work, a focus on excellence, and giving back. John believes these lessons helped him to establish a foundation of accountability and what it means to be part of a successful team; how to establish goals and objectives and how to accomplish the right things in the right way. And, importantly, how to care and support others while you identify and pursue your own purpose and passion in life.

John likewise encourages his team members at MIL to remember where they come from and to reach back to help others when they can—to give generously of their time, encouragement, and resources. He believes that the best encouragement is by example, and he demonstrated that belief by lifting up his Fighting Eagles family on graduation day.