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Celebrating Black Business Leaders: David L. Steward

David L. Steward is the founder and chairman of World Wide Technology (WWT), the largest Black-owned company in the United States.

David was born in Chicago in the 1950s, but grew up in a small rural town in Missouri during the time of segregation. After graduating high school, he earned his bachelor's degree in Business Management from Central Missouri State University.

He went on to hold several positions in various companies, including as the first person of color to be hired by the Missouri Pacific Railroad. After leaving the railroad, David started working at FedEx as a senior account executive. In 1981, he was recognized as salesman of the year and was inducted into the company's Sales Hall of Fame. His reward for this achievement was an engraved ice bucket. At the time, he and his family were living paycheck to paycheck, and it was then he decided he needed more out of his career and life.

In 1990 he founded WWT with a modest budget and seven employees. There were times he went without a paycheck and once even watched his car get repossessed from the parking lot. Today, WWT generates over $14.5 billion in annual revenue and employs more than 9,000 people in more than 20 facilities around the world.

WWT has been named as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work for by Great Places to Work and Fortune Magazine for 11 years in a row. David places value in the importance of collaboration between departments and employees and emphasizes the role of strong cultural values.

"Transformation does not happen without listening. Our Employee Resource Groups, dedicated to diversity, equity, and inclusion, strengthen our workforce culture. These groups help members better understand others through listening, learning, and engaging. As we celebrate our employees' unique contributions to our culture and business, we put them in a position to make a meaningful impact on our business and community." - David L. Steward

In addition to his business ventures, David is also an avid philanthropist and civic leader. He is dedicated to providing opportunities to underserved communities. Together with his company, they invest time, talent, and funds into several STEM programs geared towards these communities. He is also a member of the National Urban League, the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, Boy Scouts of America, and the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation.

David is a supporter of the Concordance Academy of Leadership whose aim is to break the cycle of reincarceration and supports people who have been released from prison. He is also the chair of The First Chance Campaign which is a fundraising effort designed to bring support programs to 11 additional cities in the next 5 years. David has had a hand in encouraging and supporting diversity in NASCAR. He was the keynote speaker at the sports diversity and inclusion symposium in Daytona Beach, Florida in 2019. David also supported Darrell "Bubba" Wallace JR during his stand against the confederate flag and its removal from all NASCAR events.

Today, David is worth $6 billion, holds many awards, and has written two books (Doing Business by The Good Book and Leadership by the Good Book).

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