Graduations are always exciting times for graduates and their families and often offer an opportunity to look back on challenges and accomplishments. The world opens up with potential as graduates move on to the next stages of their lives. This is why it often falls to commencement speakers to ground these moments in optimism and infuse outgoing classes with the energy, enthusiasm, and inspiration they’ll need in order to build on their past successes and strive for their dreams.
Bharani Rajakumar was given the opportunity to share some of his journey with the 2023 graduating class at Lurleen B. Wallace (LBW) Community College. Bharani’s family came to the US when he was just a child, where he started his working life at 16 in the fast food industry. Years later, he forged a career for himself in finance, eventually founding and building multiple start ups, including Transfr where he serves as CEO today.
When LBW Community College, a long-time Transfr supporter, asked him to speak to their graduating class, he could not have been more thrilled. LBW currently uses our software in a variety of applications, including programs for students with disabilities. The entire team here at Transfr was honored to have Bharani speak at LBW’s 2023 commencement. The selected excerpts below tell the story of Bharani and Transfr’s journey — we hope you find them inspiring!
Resilience: The key to overcoming adversity
Every student’s journey is unique. Every graduate — of trade school, a community college, university, or any other program — has had to overcome adversity of some kind. At Transfr, overcoming adversity is in our DNA: Each time we roll out a new sim, our teams deal with creative challenges to turn knowledge from our subject matter experts into experiences that will help countless learners along their career paths. Bharani had this to say to LBW grads about overcoming challenges:
“Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t achieve what you want to achieve… You might say to yourself, that’s easier said than done. You’re correct. The trick is, you’ve got to be able to manage adversity — the tough times. I know that many of you have faced your own challenges over the past few years and you have overcome them which is how you got to this fantastic day. Maybe you struggled with a difficult class or had trouble balancing schoolwork with a part-time job. Maybe you faced personal struggles that made it hard to focus on your studies. Maybe you are a single parent juggling taking care of your child, working a job and completing school… So how did you get here? How did you overcome those challenges and make it to this point? Resilience.”
The students sitting in those stands listening to Bharani’s words definitely overcame their own specific challenges, bringing them to a new phase of their lives where they could look back proudly on their accomplishments and turn to face new opportunities.
Learning and growing through challenges
Even though we don’t call ourselves an edtech company, VR learning software is a key part of how we change lives and help countless people get on career pathways towards upward mobility. Learning and growth go hand-in-hand, here at Transfr, in schools of all kinds, and out in the real world.
In life, the challenges we face can be our most important teachers. Surmounting these challenges again and again helps us learn and grow and develop the resilience we’ll need to overcome future challenges. It’s a virtuous cycle that ultimately makes us stronger and smarter.
“You are all incredibly resilient. You’ve proven that by making it through college despite all the challenges you’ve faced along the way,” Bharani said. “But resilience isn’t just about bouncing back from setbacks. It’s also about learning from them. Every challenge is an opportunity to learn and grow. Every setback is just another step on the path to success.”
Continuing the Alabama-Transfr story
Alabama was the first state to take a chance on Transfr. We know that opportunities are not equitably distributed, but with the right training, technology, and resilience, we know people from all over the country and the world can achieve their dreams. That’s why Transfr decided to launch in Alabama and why some of our strongest client stories come from there. As Bharani puts it:
“After meeting people from around the world, I decided to launch our first product here in Alabama. Your state has an incredible passion for workforce development… I met a principal at Charles Henderson High school who was so determined to help his students succeed that he said he wanted to be the first person to try our system. That principal’s name was Brock Kelley and he is now your President at LBW. Today, Transfr works with over 500 locations nationwide and we expect to be in over 1,000 locations by the end of the year. Although we are based in NYC, our origin story started right here in Alabama.”
A big thank you to the people of the state of Alabama and the students of LBW Community College — your futures are looking bright!
Bharani Rajakumar, Transfr founder and CEO, was also the co-founder of math tutoring software vendor LearnBop. In 2016, Bharani received the “Outstanding Leader of the Year” award from the US Distance Learning Association. He founded Transfr in 2017 using his understanding of how people learn, what gets them excited, and what skills they need to master in order to create their own pathways to career success.
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