Walker Person of the Year
Honoring David Steward
2015 Walker Person of the Year
For more than a decade, the Walker School has bestowed its Person of the Year Award upon innovative and inspirational global corporate leaders. In 2015, the Walker School honored David Steward, the founder and chairman of World Wide Technology (WWT).
Together with Jim Kavanaugh, Steward founded WWT in 1990 as a small product reseller with a handful of employees. Today, WWT is a market leader in systems integration and supply-chain solutions. Boasting nearly $7 billion in annual revenues, WWT is the second largest privately held company in the St. Louis region.
During the Walker Person of the Year event, Steward shared insights from his leadership journey and offered his advice for career success.
The Importance of Failure
A self-described risk-taker, Steward acknowledged the importance of failure. While he admitted to having more failures than successes in his career, he said they have enabled him to learn and grow. And in the end, they eventually helped position him to achieve success.
Innovation runs deep at WWT. When asked about fear, Steward said both and his leadership team have courage in their DNA, and this is what enables them to create the next generation of technology. “Other organizations have a sense of fear when it comes to challenging themselves to do something different,” he said. “At WWT, we want to be relevant. We want to change the world. We want to have an impact, and we want to bring more value to our customers tomorrow than we did yesterday.”
Advice for Career Success
Steward encouraged the next generation of leaders to identify their core values now because their personal brand will be with them for life. “Who you are today will define you in the future,” he said. “Your reputation is everything and you must protect it.”
In closing, Ambassador George Herbert Walker III presented him with the 2015 Person of the Year award. During his remarks, he recognized Steward for his unparalleled contributions to corporate America as founder of WWT and for his commitment to building communities far and wide. He then went on to say, “David is an inspirational leader, and it is our belief that his finest days are yet to come.”