Chairman's Newsletter Special Edition: Perseverance and Patience
WWT Chairman Dave Steward shares a personal message of faith, hope and encouragement during these challenging times.
Greetings WWT Family and Friends,
As I began drafting this newsletter two weeks ago, it was to deliver a message of perseverance and patience amid a global pandemic stretching into its third month.
Then, as so often happens in the world, things changed.
As someone who has had my own personal encounters with racism, I am deeply saddened and terribly concerned by the brutal murders of unarmed black men and women. As a father of two black children and grandfather to black grandsons, I pray for the families that are suffering and that social justice will be the outcome — through peaceful protests and action taken by each and every one of us.
Additionally, I want to thank Jim Kavanaugh and Ann Marr for their courage and leadership to speak to these horrible events, and to reiterate our message that this senseless violence must end. Racism has no place in this world, and we remain committed to creating a culture of inclusion and equality to ensure that WWT is a great place to work for all.
Thirty years ago, Jim and I chose to stand together — a black man and a white man, representing and celebrating the power of diversity and inclusion — when World Wide Technology began.
Diversity has always been a key component of our success. Several years ago we made a significant investment in supporting Bubba Wallace, the only black driver in NASCAR. Reinforcing WWT’s views on the importance of ending racism, Bubba will be driving a new “Black Lives Matter” car during the Martinsville race this evening (June 10th at 7 p.m. ET).
We are grateful to stand with Bubba as he boldly proclaims that racism has no place in our world. And I encourage our NASCAR friends to follow Bubba’s courageous leadership and levy a full ban on confederate flags at NASCAR events.
Throughout WWT's 30-year history, we have been joined by thousands of teammates, each of whom has blessed us and our customers with unique gifts and backgrounds. Our diverse workforce represents the core values we hold so dear. As a result, countless families and communities have prospered as WWT has grown.
We are but a small example of what’s possible when we all come together regardless of the color of our skin, religious backgrounds or any host of other differences. Such collaboration and unity are essential to overcoming these horrific social injustices.
Because our employees' safety and wellbeing is our number one priority, WWT will be embarking on a series of global forums to listen to their feelings, learn from their experiences, and ensure they can express concerns and ideas for solutions and improvements. I encourage all of our employees to use this platform so we can be the change we want to see in our world. Thank you in advance for having the courage to share your perspectives.
As we navigate the continued challenges of these days, I do feel it is relevant to talk about the importance of perseverance and patience as we face trials.
As I reflect on perseverance, I am reminded that tribulation brings about perseverance, which helps build proven character that can lead to hope.
Perseverance and hope go hand in hand. Desmond Tutu once said: “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.”
The rapid change happening throughout the world can be very unsettling and cause us to focus on negative aspects. I encourage each of you to devote your attention to the light in your current situation and continue to have a mindset of perseverance as we adapt to our surroundings.
As Jim mentioned during the most recent corporate update, it will likely be several more months before we can safely begin to reopen WWT corporate offices. We are all anxious to return to normal, but please remember the safety of our employees and their families remains our top priority. While we are truly grateful for our frontline workers reporting to work, many of us will be asked to continue working remotely for the wellbeing of us all.
Patience is a virtue. Patience is defined as the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, difficulty or annoyance without getting angry or upset. I can think of no other time when practicing patience is so critical.
If you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed, or perhaps losing patience, please take a break — even just stepping away from the task at hand for a few minutes can help clear your mind and refocus your attention to help you be more productive.
Scripture tells us to “rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” At a time when so many companies are being forced to make the difficult decision to reduce their workforce, WWT has been blessed to be able to offer the option of working remotely. Although working from home certainly has its own unique set of challenges during these days, I pray we all rejoice in this blessing!
We continue to have great participation in the WWT Prayer Calls. Thank you for all of the encouraging notes we have received. We have a very special guest lined up for our call today (June 10 at 12:15 p.m. CT) — my longtime friend, Dr. Willie Jolley, a motivational speaker and minister who helps organizations maximize profits and elevate the performance of their people. Please remember to submit your prayer requests to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are also seeing a wonderful response to the Global Community Impact Program. To date, we have approved approximately $20,000 in matching donations, with many more requests in the queue. Some of the organizations that will benefit from these matching funds include Operation Food Search, The American Red Cross, The Salvation Army and United Way of Greater St. Louis.
As you may have read already, we are extending this program to include organizations fighting to end racism and social injustice.
I am so grateful to everyone for their continued focus on our business and achieving amazing results in this difficult season. With summer upon us, please remember to keep your health and safety top of mind as social distancing measures continue to be redefined.
I pray the challenges of these unprecedented times are helping you develop a newfound patience that flows to your family, friends and neighbors. Remain strong in your faith, maintain your practice of the Golden Rule and continue to persevere!
Together we are stronger and will overcome the enemy!