On Wall Street and cities around the country, protests are mounting from people who think that corporate America has gotten too greedy and that increasingly the poor are left with nothing.

Stedman Graham, Oprah’s longtime companion, said that young people need to chart a course that allows them to create their own jobs.

 “When you learn, what happens? You start standing up for yourself,” he told a group of women business leaders on Tuesday at the Gaylord Resort at National Harbor. “You have a different outlook. You start to get real serious. People look at you and say ‘You took them earrings out your ear. You don’t have them tattoos all over you, trying to figure out who you are.’You start to stand tall. You are not bending over. You start to have pride in yourself.’

Graham, a businessman, educator and author of ten books, was a keynote speaker at the 2011 National Diversity Women’s Business Leadership Conference that attracted more than 500 leaders from academia and the nation’s largest companies.

At times, he sounded like a Pentecostal preacher.

“Do you have the fire?  I am talking about the Holy Ghost fire,” he said. “What happens when you get that fire? The smile comes. What happens when you get the fire? You walk around and your shoulders are square.”

Asked specifically about the protests, Graham said:

“The goal is for young people  to develop a skill and a talent to allow them develop a career path so they can create their own jobs, their own business,” he said. “That is where the 21st century is going. Don’t be so focused about the world that you lose the ability to self actualize your potential, your gifts and your talents.”

And how is Oprah? “She is fine. She is working on her network and it is going to be outstanding.”

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