Pinnacle Presbyterian Church

Echoes Blog

No Greatness Without Goodness


Last Friday, January 5th Pinnacle hosted a live remote webcast, Calvin College’s January Series* entitled No Greatness without Goodness: How a Father’s Love Changed a Company and Sparked a Movement. It was such an inspiring story that I wanted to share it with you in this week’s blog!

The story was told firsthand by Randy Lewis, author of the book No Greatness without Goodness. Randy bet his career that he could create an inclusive workplace at one of America’s biggest corporations—a place where people with disabilities could not just succeed but thrive. No Greatness without Goodness is the powerful story of a corporate executive who, after watching the world through the eyes of Austin, his own child with autism, realized that we all have a greater responsibility to make the world a better place for everyone, including those with disabilities. Take a look + listen below (click the highlighted URL links to be inspired).

As the senior vice president of Walgreens, Randy Lewis created thousands of full-time jobs for people with disabilities. While seeking to change people’s lives for the better, the facility chosen for this pilot program became Walgreen’s most efficient and safest location in the country. It turned out that doing “good” was also great for business. Randy’s motto is “What’s the use of having power if you don’t use it to do good?” Take a look:

He talked about what led him to launch an unprecedented disability hiring initiative at Walgreens and how it ended becoming much more than anyone ever imagined in changing how everyone looked at the world. No one had ever built a large-scale production facility with the specific intent to have one-third of its workforce composed of people with disabilities -all performing the same jobs, held to the same performance standards, earning the same pay, working side-by-side. But that’s what happened at their Anderson, SC distribution center. As the word got out about what they were doing, both ABC and NBC sent a team down to see what this was all about. Listen in:

Washington wanted to know about it too. After it was clear that Walgreen’s efforts to employ people with disabilities had exceeded all expectations, Randy was invited to testify before the United States Senate.  What the senators heard was not only how successful the initiative was, they heard about how it changed the company’s overall work culture, that they were sharing what they learned with other companies and that its most profound impact was on those WITHOUT disabilities.

After watching the Senate Testimony, watch the video that Senator Harkin talks about in his opening remarks that “blew him away!”

Today, more than 10% of Walgreens logistics workforce is composed of people with disabilities who perform the same jobs, earn the same pay and are held to the same performance standards as fellow team members. Considered the “gold standard of disability employment” by the National Governors Association, the program has been subsequently replicated in companies both domestically and abroad including Procter & Gamble, UPS, Lowe’s, Meijer, Marks and Spencer.

*For over 30 years, the January Series of Calvin College has been one of the leading lecture/cultural arts series in the country. The series has been a three-time recipient of the Silver Bowl Award as the “Best Campus Lecture Series in the U.S.A.” Presented weekdays at 12:30 pm in the 1000-seat Covenant Fine Arts Center Auditorium on Calvin’s campus, the series is open without charge to students, faculty and the west Michigan community. Despite typical Michigan winter weather, the auditorium fills up and the audience spills over into closed-circuit television rooms as needed. This is Pinnacle’s second year hosting the live presentations, we join 50+ remote sites across the country.