Get to Know the WWT Board: Rich McClure Part II
This is the second time we have profiled WWT Board member Rich McClure. We last spoke to him in 2020, and you can find the first Q&A here.
Rich brings to the board a leadership resume that spans both the public and private sectors as well as a rich body of work in the philanthropic and community giving realm.
From 2002 to 2014, he served as president and CEO of privately held UniGroup, the multi-billion dollar parent of United Van Lines and Mayflower Transit, and UniGroup Logistics. He has chaired several of the St. Louis-areas most influential not-for-profit boards, including Civic Progress, the United Way and Children's Hospital.
It's been a rocky economy over the last 12 months with more turbulence on the horizon. What are you seeing from the market and how is WWT positioned within it?
We do have a more challenging economy, particularly with inflationary pressures and challenges with workforce retention and talent. That puts a premium on technology solutions that are accelerators which will improve processes and/or customer retention and acquisition. That is the sweet spot of WWT. Our ability to help our customers and partners scale and add digital and processing capacity means we have the ability to transcend economic trends. This is what we do for our customers to help them through challenging times that increases our value during times like these.
We just returned from the World Wide Technology Championship in Mayakoba. What was your experience there and how does our relationship with the PGA drive business value for WWT?
One of the great characteristics of the WWT culture is that we are a learning organization. We frequently learn together with customers and partners so we can better serve them. The experience with customers and partners at the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba was really a strong example of that cultural dynamic.
The customer and partner interactions, as well as the Business Innovation sessions, produced strong insights that will have incredible value over the course of the next six to 12 months. We heard firsthand from customers about the need to accelerate the digitization of their systems and experiences. We confirmed that many are struggling to modernize their core IT infrastructures to deliver those experiences. And we learned that executives — no matter their industry — that they are placing an unrelenting emphasis on improving the experience for their end users whether they are patients, clients, employees, and current or potential customers.
All of those are areas that WWT excels in as we serve our customers. What I heard reinforced the strength and opportunity for our business model and the initiatives or strategies we have underway and can embrace more aggressively.
And we heard from Great Place to Work CEO Michael Bush, too, about the role of diversity, equity and inclusion. Diversity has been part of our DNA since being founded over 30 years ago, but did we learn anything new from Michael's keynote?
As with the the Business Innovation sessions, Michael's discussion and panel on a great place to work and the importance of embracing differences and an inclusive mindset reinforced the cultural framework that we at WWT work very hard to exemplify.
Michael positioned empathy as an action word. "Empathy without action," he said, "is just sympathy." It was a great reminder that just talking about diversity as a cultural imperative in our workplace is not enough. We need to be intentional and purposeful about how we amplify and accelerate our DE&I initiatives. Being great means being purpose-driven and caring about our people just as we do our customers and partners.
I found it very interesting the comments that came out of that session, which focused on how leaders could develop actionable frameworks and practices that could drive a deeply rooted and intentional successful diversity, equity and inclusion culture. WWT is blessed to a strong commitment starting with the board and senior management to the initiatives underway and ambitious plans for the future. But we must continually challenge ourselves, just as Michael Bush did with our team and our audience at Mayakoba. He reminded us that "less sameness equals more ideas, which leads to innovation."
What about WWT has you excited? And what are board members talking about as we close out 2022 and look forward to a strong 2023?
The WWT Board and senior management team are laser focused on growth strategies -- ways we can broaden our reach, improve our margins or accelerate the methods we go to market with in such a way that would improve our strategic value to customers. That occupies our discussions and is where we see the opportunity in 2023 and beyond. How can we deliver not just a great solution, but a great solution that adds value to a customer's service delivery or digital transformation? Those kinds of services are going to be at a premium as the economy recovers but still feels the pressure on wages and talent development.