Chairman's Newsletter: December 2020
As 2020 comes to a close, WWT Founder and Chairman Dave Steward shares his thoughts on the business, WWT's legacy and what is inspiring him.
When WWT first began, I remember carrying two satchels containing our 8(a) Business Development certification application into the office of the U.S. Small Business Administration. It was not easy, but we won acceptance into the program, which helps level the playing field for small businesses owned by economically disadvantaged individuals known as 8(a). This acceptance helped build momentum for the success WWT has experienced to date. With the help of SBA leaders like Maureen Brinkley and the hard work and dedication of many employees, WWT has become the most successful 8(a) and small business story in the history of the program. Truly inspiring!
We are now blessed to spend hundreds of millions of dollars with diverse suppliers every year to help them grow their businesses. Scripture reminds us, “To whom much is given, much will be required!”
Big things have small beginnings, and that is exactly how we grew with our first customer, Southwestern Bell Corporation (now AT&T). We began as a value-added reseller but have since blossomed into an award-winning technology solutions provider. Priscilla Hill-Ardoin, AT&T’s first Director of Diversity, played an important role in cementing our relationships. I am proud to now have her on our WWT Board of Directors. She continues to be an invaluable resource to help grow our business and strengthen our Diversity & Inclusion programs.
Speaking of D&I, this year General Bob Ferrell was appointed to lead our Diversity and Inclusion efforts, partnering with Ann Marr. I am happy to report we have seven new Employee Resource Groups that will continue to strengthen WWT and position us for continued growth with a diverse employee population that is a Great Place To Work for All.
I am so thankful to our thousands of customers and partners who have placed their trust in World Wide Technology. Because of them and our incredible workforce, WWT will realize the most successful year in history. While so many businesses have been forced to cut jobs or even shut their doors for good, WWT continues to thrive.
As a result of the increased diversity, equity and inclusion focus around the globe, I have been blessed to speak at a number of fireside chats this year. In addition to celebrating Black History Month with our UK team, I have shared the stage with executives at OptumServe, Palo Alto Networks, Cisco, HITEC, the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Economic Club of New York, to name just a few.
I am grateful for the opportunity to share our story and that of WWT. I pray our story may inspire others.
At the onset of the COVID pandemic, we instituted a company-wide prayer call. I am thankful to those who have chosen to participate. These completely voluntary calls have featured remarkable musical talent and inspirational guest speakers and are a wonderful time of fellowship that has grown to include many of our customers, partners and friends. I want to thank you for your many kind words of encouragement. I received one note from a new employee telling me he was being pursued by WWT and another top organization, and he chose us because of the prayer calls! Thank you to the amazing team leading the coordination of these calls!
So, how will WWT be remembered? In a recent WWT interview, Board Advisor Brandon Mann said, “Culture is not developed in a crisis; it is actually revealed by it.” For me, I believe 2020 will be a major component of how WWT will be remembered for a long time coming. We have leaned into the storm! We have come together to support one another and are soaring higher than ever! Thank you for all that you have done to support the success of World Wide Technology. As always, I am grateful to have you in our family, and I thank God every day for all of you.
May God continue to richly bless and protect you and your precious families. In respect for the many faiths gathered under the WWT umbrella, I wish each of you a Happy Holiday Season, Happy Hanukkah, a very Merry Christmas and a New Year full of God’s abundant blessings!