“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
When I was a child, my parents taught me 1960's folk songs instead of lullabies. While most kids were learning "The Itsy Bitsy Spider," I sang "Blowin' in the Wind" and "If I Had a Hammer." I came to HBS to build myself a hammer for change, the heaviest hammer I can wield.

I will use my hammer to ensure quality education for all children, regardless of income or race, across the United States. I will find others hammering out change and work with them to build quality schools, train amazing school leaders, and improve college access. I will question our technique to make sure we are hammering away in the best way for young people. I will seek out master carpenters and get their advice. I will train apprentices to ensure that the work continues in the future. When necessary, I will exchange my hammer for sandpaper, screwdrivers, or pliers. I will always keep my sense of humor when I hit my thumb accidentally (which, knowing me, will happen often).

And I will teach my own children "If I Had a Hammer," to inspire them to create their own hammers. Hammers they can use for change, all over this land.

— Rebecca Gifford