Book Smarts and Street Smarts: Video Transcript

Mark Cannon (BA Public Administration, Miami, 1986) [Chief of Staff for the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials International]: We all come together with bonds of age or circumstance to help solve problems. And I realize now, that's a lot of what I was doing in the Arts and Science program at Miami is I was living out through the academic content as well as through my extracurricular experiences an associated way of life. It was De Toqueville that said Americans of all ages, conditions, dispositions continuously form associations, and that's it, that's my inspiration for my career. My career has gone from labor issues to education, now to public safety, it's all been in the public sector, it's all been working for associations, and the real kick is that through a lot of folks coming together, we solve problems, and we make life better for the ultimate citizens that we serve.

So my advice to current Miami students is not to overemphasize the book smarts at the expense of the street smarts—it really takes both. Your success outside of school is going to have a lot do with the working relationships that you build, so you need to understand office politics, you need to be working constructively with those beneath you as well as those above you. It's that whole interpersonal communication that's so important, and I think very few of us end up on the career trajectory that we started out at, and the difference is that your career has evolved based on the kind of relationships that you build and develop from one organization to the other.

[May 2014]