Making a Difference through the Power of Passion

Rosalind Brewer, President and CEO, Sam's Club
Walmart Shareholders Meeting 2013

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Friday, Jun 07, 2013

Remarks as Prepared for Rosalind Brewer

Good morning, everyone.

Good morning, Sam's Club!

As you can tell, we are very passionate people at Sam's Club.

Our journey started with our first store in Midwest City, Oklahoma, and this year, we are celebrating our 30th anniversary!

It's been an incredible journey, and it all started with Sam Walton's idea for a warehouse channel.

He was a fantastic business leader, of course.

But he also set us on our journey toward giving back.

He once said, our clubs and stores "should reflect the values of customers and support the vision they hold for their community." Today, we are making a difference on the big issues our customers and communities care about.  They expect us to lead the way, and we are… in sustainability, in women's economic empowerment, in healthier foods, with veterans, and in hunger.

In fact, we have become Feeding America's first partner to donate one billion meals.

We have also become the first retailer to surpass $1 billion in giving globally.

We are using the power of our business.

We are using the power of our size and scale.

And most importantly, we are using the power of our associates - power and passion that come straight from the heart.

Our associates are out there - feet on the street - exploring personal passions - and discovering how they connect with needs in their communities.

I want to share one example that shows the power of grassroots efforts, which grow and spread among associates and reach true critical mass.

Sam's associates do this in so many different ways, and in recent years, they have made a big, big difference for Multiple Sclerosis.  Why Multiple Sclerosis?

Did someone in corporate require it?

Absolutely not.

It all began with Noel Williams , an associate in Colorado.

He has associates on his team with MS.

He has members with MS.

And he simply wanted to make a difference...

Soon associates were doing - bike races, - walk-a-thons - and cookouts.  Then it began to bubble up and spread throughout the West Division.

There were - lunch sales, - silent auctions, - bowl-a-thons - and polar bear plunges.

Next, the entire Sam’s family joined in.

And since 2011, Sam's associates have raised $4.7 million for MS.

Next, Volunteerism Always Pays came forward ... and pushed that grand three-year total to more than $8 million!

Congratulations, Sam's Club! 

I'm very proud that our shared commitment to community is about to open a new door ... for us.

We know small business owners are working, working, working to hold together their families and make a life.

And when we help them along the path to entrepreneurship, we help them along the path to opportunity.

As you know, Walmart has committed to source much, much more from women-owned businesses.

But not every woman-owned business is ready to sell to Walmart.

We have pledged to hire veterans, but sometimes not every veteran wants to work for a company.

Some want to work for themselves.

So what can we do to nurture these entrepreneurs - and all of the hard-working business owners out there - who need us the most?

Well, we are already doing this for people like Amanda Vaughn , a military spouse in Killeen, Texas.

She was three months away from closing the doors of her pet store.  That's when a team of college students arrived, sponsored by the Sam's Club Giving Program. 

They worked with Amanda for nine months creating a business and marketing plan, partnering with a Club manager to get a new store layout and look, developing an inventory tracking system and helping Amanda update her merchandise.

Amanda's sales have since increased 90%, and she's had a 281% increase in profit!

Get ready, because we're now going to do this on a much bigger scale.

Today, I'm excited to announce:  We're kicking off our Sam's Club Small Business Boot Camp in 25 markets across the country.

Associates will partner with local nonprofits and provide small business owners with valuable training giving these businesses support to really succeed.

Clearly, you - our associates are making a difference, member by member, and community by community.

And, you are making an impact on the business. 

So I must also congratulate you on a fantastic year for our business and on how well you have positioned us for the future.

I'm proud to say that we grew revenue by 4.6% last fiscal year and operating income by 5.9%.

In the coming year, we will open 15 to 20 new clubs.

We have more "shop anywhere, anytime options" than ever, and our Scan and Go app will be piloted in 150 clubs by mid-June.

And our small business members continue to be a cornerstone of our business. 

We're here for them for our members, our customers and our communities.

We're making a difference all around the world, on the kind of scale and the kind of leadership that you won't find just anywhere.

But you will find it here.

Isn't that what we're all about?

The power of one to change a community, and the power of many to actually change the world?

You, our associates, are our heartbeat in our communities.  You keep the customers and communities we serve strong - from Montana to Maine and - from Midwest City to Mexico City.

Thank you for making us so proud.