On November 13, San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank President Mary Daly visited the College of Business and Economics (COBE) at Boise State University. 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. Daly met with a group of students (pictured), primarily majors in finance and economics, to hear their stories. Daly asked questions about students’ fears for the future and whether they believe they will achieve the same standard of living as their parents. Daly concluded by asking students to describe Boise in one word. Some of the words used were enthusiasm, opportunity, balanced, growth, safe, energetic, ideal and home.
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: http://zipcodeeconomies.org/.
After Daly left to prepare for her presentation, Paul Solman, a PBS correspondent, continued the conversation with the 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 December 13 at 7 p.m. MST.
Daly has a surprising background for a Federal Reserve Bank president. She grew up in a low socioeconomic group household, is a high school dropout and a first-generation college student. During her public talk, she shared the story of how she got from her hometown in rural Missouri to the San Francisco Fed. Daly emphasized three important characteristics in her life journey that enabled her personal and professional success: curiosity, confidence and humbleness. Those traits, she said, aid her in making policy decisions.
Chris Loucks, chair of the Department of Economics and very involved in the preparations for the events, 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 reexamine 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, along with staff, was responsible for much of the day’s events.
“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. They have an open invitation from us!”