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Federal Reserve Bank President Advises: ‘Bring Your Whole Self to Decisions You Make’

On Nov. 13, San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank President Mary Daly visited the College of Business and Economics (COBE). During her visit, Daly participated in two events, the collection of data for a podcast and a public talk to an overflow audience. A team from the PBS NewsHour accompanied Daly.

Daly started a project at the Fed called “Zip Code Economies.” The purpose of the project is to share the stories of people living in different communities in the United States — their lives, their aspirations and their challenges – with others outside their communities. While in Boise, Daly met with a group of students, primarily majors in finance and economics, to hear their stories. Daly asked questions about students’ fears for their futures and whether they believe they will achieve the same standard of living as their parents. Daly asked students to describe Boise in one word. Their words included: enthusiasm, opportunity, balanced, growth, safety, energetic, ideal and home.

Paul Solman, a PBS correspondent, continued the conversation with the Boise State students. Solman asked the students why the labor force participation rate is declining among the millennial generation. To hear their answers and see other footage from Solman’s first trip to Idaho, tune into Solman’s broadcast on the PBS NewsHour on Dec. 13 at 7 p.m.

The San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank will create a podcast from the students’ conversations with Daly. That podcast will be available at a future date here:

Daly has a surprising background for a banker. She grew up in a low-income home, was a high school dropout and eventually, a first-generation college student. While in Boise, she shared the story of how she got from her hometown in rural Missouri to her current position. She emphasized three characteristics that enabled her success: curiosity, confidence and humility. Those traits, she said, aid her in making policy decisions.

Chris Loucks, chair of the Department of Economics, summarized one of Daly’s lessons.

“The most important advice she gave the students and faculty was to ‘bring your whole self’ to any decision you make, to realize that your decision is influenced by your past experiences as well as current circumstances in your life and to always listen to alternative opinions. As President Daly stated, the best decisions she has made are decisions that others have challenged. Those challenges have forced her to re-examine what she believes and why she believes it. In our current political climate, that is a good lesson for all of us to absorb,”  said Loucks.

Zeynep Hasen, COBE associate dean, introduced Daly and helped plan Daly’s visit to Boise.

“We were honored to host Mary Daly at the College of Business and Economics. We thank her for her inspiring remarks and for choosing to come to Boise State University,” said Hansen. “President Daly spoke about making policy in today’s environment — striking the right balance to sustain growth. She connected with our students both as a policymaker and on a personal level. President Daly allowed for extra time to talk with a diverse group of students about their aspirations, fears and expectations for the future. President Daly and her team told me that they hope to return.”

The invitation is open, said Hasen.