Chairman's Newsletter: November 2022
In this news
Greetings, WWT family and friends,
I pray each of you and your families are enjoying the changing of the seasons and preparing to welcome the holidays. It is hard to believe how quickly this year has gone by and that we will soon be entering 2023!
WWT and its leadership team continue to recognize that our people are our greatest asset. As such, we are very happy to offer significant enhancements to our benefits program. Please be sure to check out all the changes by watching the 2023 benefits overview video, and make your selections by Nov. 18.
If you have not yet had the opportunity to use your Day of Caring, let me urge you to prayerfully consider serving your community during this holiday season with this valuable PTO day. After your day of service, please share how you are serving through WWT's new Benevity volunteer and charitable giving tool.
The St. Louis community has lost a few great icons over the past several weeks whom I have had the pleasure and privilege of calling my dear friends.
In early October, Dr. Robert Lefton left this Earth. Through his company, Psychological Associates, Dr. Bob was instrumental in the lives of many great leaders across the world. Psychological Associates was globally known as the premiere firm in coaching, developing, guiding and recruiting talented leaders. He was truly a wonderful man, tremendous mentor and great friend.
In late October, another pillar in our world and great humanitarian, George Paz, passed away. George is most well-known for his role as former chairman and CEO of St. Louis-based pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts. George was my treasured friend with a heart for serving the least of these, as demonstrated by his part in spinning off Rx Outreach, an organization born out of an idea from former Express Scripts Vice President Michael Holmes. Rx Outreach provides low cost medications to the underserved in our communities. George will indeed be missed by everyone who knew him, and I am honored to offer the opening remarks and prayer at his memorial service Nov. 20.
Most recently, my dear friend Martin Mathews was called home at the age of 97. Co-founder of the Mathews-Dickey Boys and Girls Club, Mr. Mathews was a St. Louis community saint. His dream of inspiring and enabling all young people, especially those who are underserved, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens has helped to shape countless young lives. His legacy will live on for generations.
Please remember the families of these great men in your prayers.
Since I last wrote to you, we were blessed with even more tremendous events at the World Wide Technology Raceway!
Of course, we welcomed the Inaugural Enjoy Illinois 300 NASCAR Cup Series Race and Confluence Music Festival in June. It was during this fabulous weekend of racing that my family and WWT were excited to sponsor current Steward Scholar Rajah Caruth as he made his debut and finished in the top 10 driving the No. 7 Confluence Music Festival Chevy Silverado in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. We are excited to announce the Enjoy Illinois 300 Cup Series race will return to the raceway in June 2023 and to continue supporting Raj through our partnerships with the Wendell Scott family and Petty GMS, formerly known as Richard Petty Motorsports!
Some of the latest events include:
- On Aug. 20, we were pleased to again welcome the sixth annual Bommarito Automotive Group 500 INDYCAR Series. Two-time IndyCar champion, Josef Newgarden, brought home a career-high fifth win in the race.
- From Sept. 30 to Oct. 2, NHRA made its way to WWT Raceway. It was a weekend of heart pounding drag racing where we saw female driver Brittany Force set a new world record for fastest pass in Top Fuel history! This was a great win for Brittany, for WWT Raceway and for diversity!
- On a holiday note, the Raceway will again host the WonderLights Christmas show that runs Nov. 11 through Jan. 1. Presented by an outside vendor, we are unable to offer an employee discount, but we you may want to experience the magic of a beautiful light display with your family. Tickets are available for purchase here.
Congratulations to six outstanding WWT family members honored as Technology Rising Stars at this year's Women of Color STEM conference! These women have contributed to the growth of WWT and are living examples of what is possible for our next generation of women leaders in technology.
- Jaime-Christie Garrett, Strategic Initiatives and Operations Manager
- Shay Gillespie, Diversity Business Development Manager
- Ashley Harris, Manager of Community Outreach and Employee Engagement
- Melinda Hines, Strategic Engagement Manager
- Karishma Varshani, Strategic Engagement Manager
- Lani Sabol, Strategic Sourcing Manager
These wonderful women also spent time with our extraordinary Boys Hope Girls Hope WWT Collegian Scholars. The scholars had the opportunity to speak with grade school students, sharing their college journey experience. What a blessing to see such servant leadership in action!
I was also pleased to see Dr. Aria Jones, a WWT Application Services leader, share her wisdom on a panel about Discovering Essential Leadership Skills, where she spoke about key leadership strategies to manage ourselves, people and competing values. Learn more here.
This year, the National Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) celebrated 50 years at its annual meeting in New Orleans, where leaders in supplier diversity committed to accelerating the organization's impact over the next 50 years.
Ann Marr was the "hostess with the mostest" in her hometown and helped shepherd WWT's largest customer appreciation event ever with almost 300 guests. It was wonderful to see Dicran ("D") Arnold honored for his years of leadership driving the impact of diverse business development for WWT and beyond.
And to top it off, Ann humbly accepted an award on my behalf from Harriet Michel, one of NMSDC's greatest leaders of all time. I was blessed to be recognized for WWT's longstanding commitment to NMSDC's mission. In turn, I was able to honor my dear friend Harriet for her unwavering leadership and support of the NMSDC.
As we were wrapping up in New Orleans, we were just getting started in Mexico, where we hosted the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba. The PGA Tour stop was a resounding success with customers and partners coming together in beautiful Riviera Maya to engage with one another.
I am grateful to the group of WWT family members who took time out of their schedules to work with students of the K'iin Beh school and local colleges, to help them identify their talents and shape their future careers.
The Business Innovation Summit we hosted shared industry-leading vision and insight on important topics such as environmental sustainability, culture and diversity, cyber security, and market outlook. Content related to the week's worth of activity can be found here.
A passion for learning is truly one of the hallmarks of WWT's renowned culture, and the week's events in Mayakoba were a testament to how we can learn together with customers and partners so we can better serve them. Read more about the Mayakoba experience in this Q&A with WWT Board Member Rich McClure, who also shares his outlook on the economy and what makes WWT such a special place to work.
Last month, I was humbled to be presented with the University of Missouri Kansas City Bloch School International Entrepreneur of the Year Award, after being nominated for the distinction by my dear friends, the Kemper family. I was grateful to have several of my family members present at the event. As part of the evening's program, I participated in a fireside chat with my friend and mentor, former UMKC Chancellor Leo Morton.
I share this honor with the entire WWT family because without you it would never have been possible. It was a tremendous opportunity to celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit and perseverance of WWT's leadership team and extended WWT family, who have all sacrificed to build our amazing company. Thank you for your dedication and for making WWT the great company it is today!
Supporting and investing in youth from underserved communities is a key tenant in WWT's culture. That is why I was so excited to receive Missouri First Lady Theresa Parson's invitation asking me to participate in a fireside chat celebrating 100 students who had participated in her Jobs for America's Graduates (JAG) Essay Contest. JAG is a national program that helps students who have potential, but who also have significant barriers to overcome, including poverty, a challenging family life or trauma.
Regretfully, a last-minute schedule change kept me from the event. However, Kingdom Capital President of Technology Investments Group and CTO Chet Guess very kindly took over in my absence. He offered a thoughtful and inspiring conversation with First Lady Parson that was well received by the JAG students, their parents and teachers, Israel Consul General Maor Elbaz-Starinsky, Lieutenant Governor and Mrs. Mike Kehoe and Missouri Governor Mike Parson.
The Governor and First Lady's service to our state's youth will have a ripple impact for families and communities for generations to come. Thelma and I are deeply honored and blessed to call the Governor and First Lady our friends.
I am so excited to share with my WWT family and friends that Lion Forge Animation, a content development company owned by my son, Dave II, has again been nominated for an Emmy for their work with Nickelodeon on Noggin's Rhymes Through Times short films. Lion Forge continuously challenges expectations and reflects the diversity of its audience and my family and I could not be more blessed.
This groundbreaking series portrays Black heroes throughout history. If you have not yet had the opportunity to watch this series, please take time to check it out on the Noggin website.
The series highlights the likes of Ruby Bridges and Thurgood Marshall, Katherine Dunham and Amanda Gorman, among others.
As I think of all the blessings for which my family and I are grateful, we continue to be thankful for the WWT Family & Friends Prayer Call. We have had some amazing guest artists and speakers this year, including Hope Darst, CeCe Winans, Pastor Alvin Love, Bishop TD Jakes and Coach Joe Gibbs.
Our next call is scheduled for Nov. 23, when our guest artists will be BeBe and Pastor Marvin Winans and our guest speaker will be Coach Jim Harbaugh from the University of Michigan. If you have not had the opportunity to join a call, I invite you to do so as your faith and schedule dictates.
You can always watch previously recorded calls here and submit prayer request to email@example.com. If you are interested in how the Bible applies to your everyday work, please explore all that Biblical Business Training offers.
Of course, you are likely aware of our tradition to begin each of the WWT Board of Directors meetings with a devotional. October's meeting began with a Scripture from Galatians, where we are reminded that our actions and words matter. I pray we will always be mindful of the power we have to change a person's day with a kind word or a simple smile. To read the full devotional, click here.
As I close, I want to express my immense gratitude to all veterans. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do to preserve our freedoms. May God bless you and your families for the sacrifices made on behalf of others.
Finally, I wish everyone a wonderful holiday season. I pray you will take the time to be thankful for the many blessings bestowed upon you.
And with that, I wish all of our American friends a Happy Thanksgiving!
May God continue to richly and abundantly bless and protect you and your precious family.