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GRADUATION ADVICE—Steven Kolb

This week at CollegeFashionista we are all about celebrating the class of 2015! From our senior Style Gurus to our fourth year Fashionstas to our graduating readers, this class has helped shape CollegeFashionista and inspire thousands of people.

Steven Kolb is someone who understands the business of fashion. As the CEO of the CFDA, he oversees all operations and activities for the American fashion industry’s renowned group of designers (well over 450 of them, to be exact). But he is anything but your traditional CEO. In his role, he works with the CFDA’s Board of Directors (including President Diane von Furstenberg), works to cultivate new talent through the Vogue Fashion Fund and has transformed the annual CFDA into the “Oscars of Fashion.” He is a self-described “accidental fashion drone” and a philanthropist to the core. Kolb is an example that nice and smart guys finish first.

Here are Kolb’s five pearls of wisdom he wishes to impact on the class of 2015:

1.  Don’t hide behind technology—Take time to engage with people in person. When you can talk in person or make a phone call, do that.  Email and texting are great, but not enough.

2.  Find work that matters—Jobs today shouldn’t just be about pay. Find something that inspires you personally and/or with a company that has a business model of giving back.

3.  Learn along the way—Just because you are done with school doesn’t mean you know it all. Find a mentor and those with experience. They have firsthand knowledge that is practical and real and can’t be found in textbooks.

4.  It’s OK to make mistakes—No one is perfect and no one expects you to be. Mistakes are the first step to getting it right.

5.  Be financially smart—Live within your means, don’t rack up credit card debt and take advantage of the employer 401k plan. It is never too soon to save.