Walmart: Unlocking the Potential of the U.S. Retail Workforce

The retail sector plays a key role in contributing to the American economy, supporting one in four American jobs – a total of 42 million, according to the National Retail Federation. Additionally, we know that retail sales person and cashier is the most common job in America, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
At The Forum, hosted by the National Association of Workforce Boards (NAWB) in Washington, D.C., we joined the workforce development community from around the country to discuss a new program we are supporting.
The Walmart Foundation is investing $10.9 million in the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership (The Partnership) to build retail career services among local workforce development boards (WDBs). These WDBs will help create clear entry points into the retail industry for job seekers, while also enabling incumbent workers to advance along career pathways. Additionally, they will work together to share learnings and pilot and test ways to provide value to the retail sector as a whole.
The Walmart Foundation is investing in The Partnership and WDBs across the country because we know the essential role that WDBs play in training the next generation workforce. We also know that the training this grant will facilitate can benefit sectors beyond retail by developing workers whose pathways start in retail but end up in another sector.
The grant is part of Walmart and the Walmart Foundation’s $100 million commitment to help retail and adjacent sector workers across the country advance their careers and ultimately achieve greater economic mobility. The continued work of NAWB and collaborations like that of the Walmart Foundation and The Partnership are unlocking the fullest potential of the U.S. retail workforce.
We invite you to read more about the Walmart Foundation’s work with The Partnership to build retail career services here.

Blog contributed by Kathleen McLaughlin, President Walmart Foundation & Chief Sustainability Officer, Walmart

Stanford Business Presents: 8 Different Ways to Get Great Ideas

Stanford GSB alumni entrepreneurs shed light on how they come up with their best ideas.

We asked eight innovative Stanford GSB alumni entrepreneurs including Kiva’s Jessica Jackley (MBA ’07) and Design Within Reach’s Rob Forbes (MBA ’85) to shed light on how they come up with their best ideas. From collaborating with others to observing consumer behavior to taking naps, read tips for boosting your creativity:

“ What inspires me is beauty and the human desire and capacity to create it. I listen to Glenn Gould’s piano pieces or other acoustic music in the morning. My best ideas come randomly. I take naps and steam baths. You need to interrupt the logical mind and allow space to daydream.
“ Einstein said the theory of relativity came to him when he was riding a bike. The best ideas will not come from slamming three espressos and grinding them out, but rather at weird moments: in the middle of the night, when you are traveling on a train, when you are receptive to oblique inspiration and the suspension of disbelief. Zen teachers refer to this as ‘the beginner’s mind, where possibilities are many.’ We are all too finely tuned. Our mind uses us more than we use our mind.” — Rob Forbes (MBA ’85), Founder of Design Within Reach and PUBLIC Bikes

“ Every real insight I’ve had has come from being a good listener. I need to have time for quiet reflection to digest it and consider how it affects me, to figure out my voice and how I can contribute to that story.” — Jessica Jackley (MBA ’07), Co-founder of Kiva

“ I have worked in so many different industries and niches: big companies, small companies, government, for-profit, not-for-profit, etc. For me, it is about expanding the adjacent possible. Steven Johnson, author of Where Good Ideas Come From, explains that the world is full of many possibilities, but only certain things can happen. Only by opening doors to new opportunities — a new adjacent possible — can you create what I call a palace of possibilities. I have more doors open — a larger palace of possibilities — than most people, so I can see connections others may not see. My best ideas come from this collage of experiences.” — Denise Brosseau (MBA ’93), CEO of Thought Leadership Lab

“Great ideas find you. I don’t think you find great ideas. As a venture capitalist, you don’t come up with ideas. The entrepreneurs come up with the ideas. It is a lot harder to be an entrepreneur than to be a venture capitalist. And the great ideas that lead to great businesses generally find the entrepreneur, not the other way around. The ones where the entrepreneur is looking for the idea tend to result in flips. Look at Microsoft, eBay, Dropbox, Airbnb. None of those guys was looking to start a business. The ideas just hit them. The great ones just know.” — Lecturer Andy Rachleff (MBA ’84), Co-founder of Wealthfront Inc.

“ I come up with my best ideas by engaging and talking with other people. Great ideas are not solitary things. Feedback from other people is the best catalyst.” — Trae Vassallo (MBA ’00), Strategic Advisor at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

“ I get my best ideas when I get off the grid and detach myself from my industry. Spending time thinking about fashion, toys, or architecture frees me up to think imaginatively. It’s hard to be innovative when you are stuck in your own industry. You see artificial boundaries around what you can and can’t do.” — Laura Ching (MBA ’00), Co-founder of Tiny Prints

“ I enjoy observing consumer behavior and culture. I like to envision what could be, and I ask myself, Why isn’t this better? How could it be better? I start to play out that scenario in my head. The best ideas come out of pain points I experience in my daily life and based on what I learned of gaps in financial services at Progreso. I am already working on my next company.” — James Gutierrez (MBA ’05), Founder of Progreso Financiero

“ For some reason more ideas come to me when I am near water — even taking a bath. I just did a weeklong meditation retreat. Freeing up the mind is a good way to get to inspiration. We fill our lives with so little space. Inspiration looks for crevices to parachute into. The fewer crevices you create in your life, the less likely you are to have inspiration come through you. You need to allow yourself to be a vessel so that something can come through you.” — Chip Conley (MBA ’84), Founder of Joie de Vivre Hotels

*Article written by Natalie White

Walmart Offers Free Screenings and Immunizations at its “America’s Biggest Health Fair”

It’s safe to say most Americans know what they need to do in order to take better care of their health – the challenge is often the behavior change that can be impacted by lack of time, cost and other factors.
That’s why Walmart leveraged its size and scale to make personal health and wellness more convenient and affordable at our “America’s Biggest Health Fair” event on Sunday, March 13, at select Walmart stores nationwide (currently more than 3,200 locations). While our customers were shopping for their weekly essentials, in a matter of minutes they could take advantage of free blood pressure, blood glucose and vision screenings (based on availability and state restrictions) as well as immunizations that can have a life-altering impact on their well being.
As you likely already know, conditions like high blood pressure or hypertension and diabetes disproportionately affect diverse communities. African Americans have the highest rates of hypertension and tend to develop it earlier in life. Diabetes disproportionately affects diverse communities with Filipino Americans, Asian Indians, Native Americans, Hispanics and African Americans all being diagnosed with the disease at rates higher than those of Caucasians. Nearly half of Americans ages 65 and older have two or more chronic health conditions and people with disabilities are twice as likely to have high blood pressure and five times more likely to develop diabetes.
Our “America’s Biggest Health Fair” was a one-day event dedicated to serving the health care needs of our customers, though being a leader in health and wellness is something we’re focused on every day. Walmart was the pioneer of the $4 generic drug program nearly a decade ago and we’re out in front on the reformulation of many packaged food items to reduce added sodium, sugar and Trans fats. You can read more about our progress on sodium reduction in this blog post on Walmart Today.

*Blog contributed by Joanne Tabellija-Murphy, Constituent Relations, Walmart

Upscale water bottle maker takes her hot product to Target

Sarah Kraus
Sarah Kraus, Founder and CEO of S’well, a stainless steel water bottle company based in New York City. Photo courtesy of S’well.

MINNEAPOLIS — Target Corp. is teaming up with S’well, a maker of upscale, stainless-steel water bottles that have become a hot fashion accessory.

Yahoo reports on the deal, which will represent a big expansion for S’well, a five-year-old company that’s successfully built a business selling $35 water bottles through shops such as Williams Sonoma, Nordstrom and J. Crew. The company says its brightly colored bottles keep liquids hot or cold for hours, and it’s cultivated a collector’s-item aura around them by rotating its designs frequently.

Sarah Kauss founded the company in 2010 — an idea built out of a hate of plastic water bottles and a concern for the global water crisis. The company has been profitable since 2010. In 2014, revenue was $10 million.

S’well will roll out a slightly less expensive (the $25 S’ip) version through Target stores; the retailer will carry the bottles exclusively for six months.

New York Times: Government Meets 1994 Women’s Business Contracts Goal

By Stacy Crowley

Rebecca Boenigk, the chief and a founder of Neutral Posture, a furniture manufacturer, brought in $7 million last year from government contracts and expects that to double or triple this year. Credit: Michael Stravato for The New York Times

After more than 20 years of effort, the federal government has, for the first time, met its goal of awarding 5 percent of the money it spent on contractors to businesses owned by women.

Small companies captured 25.8 percent of the government’s contracting dollars last year, representing $90.7 billion, the Small Business Administration plans to announce on Wednesday. About $17.8 billion of that total went to businesses owned by women during the fiscal year, which ended in September.

The news comes on the heels of a Commerce Department analysis showing that businesses owned by women are 21 percent less likely to win government contracts than otherwise similar companies. Companies owned by women tend to be younger and smaller than other businesses, but even accounting for those differences, the disparity remains, the agency found.



What Is CAMSS?

What is CAMSS?

CAMSS is an acronym that was coined to represent the technology solutions that are top of mind today.

Cloud, Analytics, Mobile, Social, and Security

These categories have been the key technology focus areas for the past few years and are predicted to remain in the forefront for some years to come. Leaders in business are well into implementing them. For instance, 45 of the top 50 Fortune 500 companies are using the IBM Cloud. IBM has solutions in all of these categories for medium and even small businesses.

How to learn more about CAMSS

Using the following links, you can read an overview of each area or watch a video, find white papers or learn how others are using a solution through case studies and news reports. There are several offerings under each category, many of which have free trial offers.




Social Business



If you need help navigating any of the sites, please contact


WPO Logo

For Immediate Release

Susan Johnson
Women Presidents’ Organization
212-688-4114 Office
917-601-5778 Mobile


NEW YORK, NY (January 7, 2015) — The Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO) has today announced that Lexus is the organization’s exclusive automotive corporate sponsor. The WPO partnership will include receptions for current and prospective WPO members at Lexus dealerships throughout the country. The first event will be held on January 20th at Mungenast Lexus in St. Louis (13700 Manchester Road in Manchester, MO), 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Women influence 85% of car buying decisions and represent 65% of the customer base that bring cars into the dealership for service. Lexus has launched an aggressive program for its dealers, called “the Lexus Difference,” aimed at enhancing the guest experience at Lexus dealerships, to attract and exceed the expectations of women, millennials, and multi-cultural guests.

According to Marsha Firestone, Ph.D., WPO founder and president, “We are privileged to welcome Lexus as our sponsor. Women entrepreneurs are developing and leading highly competitive companies that are growing at greater rates than ever. As Lexus builds its commitment to women in business, this sponsorship underscores the significant impact that women-led companies have on the economy, by generating revenue and creating jobs.”

According to Peggy Turner, Vice President, Lexus Customer Retention and Satisfaction, “Lexus is excited to be the first automotive company to partner with such an elite organization. This partnership with the WPO is a win-win relationship for our brand. Not only are we passionate about empowering people to make the world a better place, but by supporting WPO events and community involvement, Lexus will gain insights it can use to refine its dealership environment to appeal more to women while providing a superb overall guest experience.”

About Lexus
Lexus launched in 1989 with two luxury sedans and a commitment to pursue perfection. Since that time, Lexus has expanded its line-up to meet the needs of global luxury customers. Lexus is now going beyond its reputation for high quality vehicles with the integration of innovative technology, emotional exterior and interior designs, and engaging driving dynamics and performance. With six models incorporating Lexus Hybrid Drive, Lexus is the luxury hybrid leader. Lexus also offers seven F SPORT models and two F performance models. In the United States, Lexus vehicles are sold through 236 dealers who are committed to exemplary customer service.
For more information, visit

# # # #