MasterCard Exec Addresses UNH

Melanie Rovinsky

Lawrence Flanagan, MasterCard marketing executive, addressed the University of New Haven community Sept. 28 in a speech that urged those present to make decisions based on their own convictions.

Borrowing a quote from the book Rules of Thumb, Flanagan used the motto “when the going gets tough, the tough relax” to explain the importance of making difficult decisions by “driving fear out of the equation.”

Flanagan, a University of New Haven alum, was selected as the University’s Fall 2009 Bartels Fellow because of his success and prominence in the business arena. After graduating from UNH in 1980, Flanagan worked his way up the corporate ladder of advertising by making decisions based on his beliefs. His good judgment revived MasterCard’s failing brand when he chose the “Priceless” ad to represent the company, despite opposing viewpoints.

Although Flanagan encouraged individuals to follow their dreams, he recognized the current bleak job market and compared it to the situation when he graduated college. “You can’t control what’s going on in the economy,” he said.

However, Flanagan was optimistic. He told the audience that the economy “is a prefect storm that is creating opportunities.” Among the opportunities he mentioned were social media, ecommerce, and online searches.

Flanagan ended his address by insisting that each person in the audience embrace his or her big ideas. He advised students to have the courage to make their experiences count and to look ahead into the future. “Big ideas will challenge you to think big thoughts,” Flanagan said.