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Keep up with the news, inspiring words and business insights that make Brad tick! From leadership lessons, industry news and the latest updates from The Wing 2 Wing Foundation, think of this blog as a resource for learning and connection.

Brad D. Smith Shares His Favorite Leadership Lessons from Ted Lasso


When you think about career development, personal growth or leadership, your mind might automatically jump to thoughts of college courses, training seminars or management books. But the truth is, inspiring leadership lessons don’t have to come from an online course complete with a downloadable certificate, or from pages that are catalogued under 303.34 (“leadership”) in the Dewey Decimal System.


Engaging Youth Outdoors with the Science Adventure School


One of the driving goals behind the Brad and Alys Smith Outdoor Economic Development Collaborative (OEDC) is to expand outdoor educational opportunities. This means helping kids step away from screens and inspiring them to get outdoors, instead. At the OEDC, we know just how much West Virginia’s great outdoors has to offer and we want our state’s youth to know and appreciate it too!


Brad D. Smith Discusses Ascend West Virginia on NPR’s “All Things Considered” Program


On May 11, 2021, on an NPR “All Things Considered” segment titled “Pennies From (Almost) Heaven: Get Paid To Move To West Virginia,” hosts Alisa Chang and Mary Louise Kelly discussed Brad D. Smith’s Ascend West Virginia program. The episode included some recorded quotes from Brad, as well as quotes from Danny Twilley from West Virginia University, Assistant Dean of the Brad and Alys Smith Outdoor Economic Development Collaborative.


Discussing the Outdoor Economic Development Collaborative with Positively West Virginia Podcast


On April 9, 2021, Danny Twilley and Paris Winfrey appeared on the Positively West Virginia podcast to discuss the Brad and Alys Smith Outdoor Economic Development Collaborative (OEDC) with co-hosts Jim Matuga and Frank Vitale. Danny is the Associate Dean for the OEDC and Paris is the Program Coordinator. Both individuals were excited to share the OEDC story with Positively West Virginia – a podcast that prides itself on equipping small business owners and entrepreneurs with tools they need to succeed in West Virginia – and its listeners.


Recent Wing 2 Wing Foundation Activities


The Wing 2 Wing Foundation focuses on supporting accessible education to instill capabilities and skills needed to participate and compete in the digital world. Wing 2 Wing primarily operates in the Appalachian Region, where technological changes have created upheavals in the social and work lives of residents and youth.


Brad Shares His West Virginia Roots


On June 3rd, 2021, Brad D. Smith appeared on the the Mountaineer Media Podcast, a podcast that connects West Virginians by sharing stories and interviewing leaders. Smith, a native of West Virginia, discussed his roots and Ascend West Virginia, a remote worker initiative he is spearheading. Brad also explained how West Virginia’s unique culture guided his career path, and how he's working to help the state become an entrepreneurial force.


Brad D. Smith Talks About Agility, The Most In-Demand Skill


I’m often asked what skill, experience or attribute I find most important in today’s fast-changing environment. Admittedly, my answers have evolved over the past 35 years of my professional career. Looking back, it has become clear that one skill stands the test of time, and I believe will be increasingly in-demand as we push ahead in the 21st Century. That skill is agility.


Brad D. Smith Delivers Special Commencement Speech for UVA Wise


The graduating class of 2020 experienced a variety of challenges as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic. From stay-at-home orders and having classes interrupted, to cancelled spring break plans and virtual graduation, this group of students had to overcome various hurdles as they graduated and pursued future endeavors. To honor them, the University of Virginia’s College at Wise held an in-person commencement ceremony on May 9, 2021, at Carl Smith Stadium. Brad D. Smith was a part of this special ceremony, where he delivered the commencement address via video to the graduating class.


Brad D. Smith Participates in Beyond The Cloud Discussion


On March 17, 2021, Brad D. Smith participated in the West Virginia Public Education Collaborative’s Focus Forward event. The event focused on the National Weather Service’s available data that could benefit innovators and businesses. Focus Forward aims to bring together business, education and government leaders to discuss forward-thinking ideas and how to implement them in West Virginia.


Brad D. Smith Keynotes The Virtual 3 Steps to StartUp Venture Fair


On March 9-10, 2021, the virtual 3 Steps to StartUp Venture Fair featured experienced investors, innovators and entrepreneurs who offered advice on starting a business and attracting investors.


The Power of Storytelling to Build a Coalition of Minds, Hearts and Hands


Shaping culture, catalyzing change and building coalitions of the willing share one thing in common – they are the outcomes of successful storytelling. A leader’s ability to organize details that create an emotional arc and result in visible progress and change in the receiver(s) is the most under-rated tool in a leader’s toolbox.


Tech Leaders Hopeful For West Virginia’s Future Economy


When you think of technology companies and revolutionary innovation, West Virginia likely isn’t the hub that pops into your mind. That could all change in the future; at least according to several optimistic West Virginia tech experts. In an article published by the State Journal, Anne Barth, TechConnect Executive Director, and Jim Estep, President and CEO of the High Technology Foundation in Fairmount, shared their thoughts on some big changes that will impact West Virginia’s role in the tech industry.


Remote Worker Initiative Launched in West Virginia


In October 2020, Alys and Brad D. Smith—through their Wing 2 Wing Foundation—donated $25 million to West Virginia University to develop the Outdoor Economic Development Collaborative (OEDC). The OEDC was created to leverage the state’s outdoor recreation opportunities to stimulate the economy and improve the overall quality of life in West Virginia. As part of this program, a remote worker initiative called Ascend WV was created, and, as of Monday, April 12, 2021, interested candidates can apply. In the United States there are now more than 4 million workers able to work from wherever they want. West Virginia is hoping to capture their attention and introduce them to the natural beauty of the area.


Brad Discusses His Unique Approach to Leadership


Brad’s journey to becoming one of the most successful Silicon Valley CEOs wasn’t without challenges, but those challenges molded him into the leader he is today. In a December interview with Investor’s Business Daily, Brad discussed his past experiences and how they have shaped his leadership style.


Brad D. Smith Talks About Leadership Lessons and His Path to Silicon Valley


On January 28, 2021, Brad D. Smith virtually joined Rebecca Fannin to discuss lessons he has learned as Intuit’s former CEO and now executive chairman. In the session, Brad breaks down his five principles of leadership, as well as how his humble beginnings in West Virginia made him who he is today. The show featured questions from Fannin, as well as real-time questions from the virtual audience. After discussing leadership, Brad spoke on the importance of his home state, West Virginia, in making him the man and leader he is today.


Brad D. Smith Delivers a Message of Resilience During Charleston Area Alliance’s Celebration 2020


On December 3, 2020, Intuit’s chairman Brad D. Smith virtually joined the Charleston Area Alliance’s webinar “Celebration 2020: Trailblazing the Future of the Kanawha Valley.” The event celebrated innovation in the Mountain State and offered a look forward at economic development opportunities and entrepreneurship in the region. As the event’s keynote speaker, Brad spoke about West Virginia’s opportunity to lean into new trends in work and education, and investments he and his wife are making in the state.


Brad D. Smith and John Chambers Join Forces In West Virginia


For the Fall 2020 issue of West Virginia Executive Magazine, editor-in-chief Samantha Cart wrote about two business leaders with big plans for fostering economic opportunities in the Mountain State. The article featured Brad D. Smith and John Chambers, JC2 Ventures CEO, and explored the work both leaders are doing to improve the communities that raised them. In 2018, just a day after Brad and his wife, Alys, donated $25 million to the Marshall University Lewis College of Business, West Virginia University released a statement that John Chambers had made substantial donations to higher education as well.


Leading a Company Through Self-Disruption


“Predictions are difficult, especially about the future.” That is one of the many mind-benders attributed to the great Yogi Berra. However, one prediction has proven to be more certain by the hour – rivals are disrupting market leaders at a pace that is accelerating. Research published in an article by the scholar Mark Perry affirmed that “nearly 9 of every 10 Fortune 500 companies in 1955 are now gone, merged, or contracted, demonstrating that there’s been a lot of market disruption, churning, and creative destruction over the last six decades.”


Brad Moderates Marshall University’s Third CEO Panel With Chris Gardner and Shellye Archambeau


The Lewis College of Business and its Brad D. Smith Schools of Business at Marshall University hosted its third CEO Panel discussion on March 3, 2021. The panel is part of the Dean’s Distinguished Speaker Series and started in 2018 as the highest-profile community event of the Brad D. Smith Schools of Business. The Dean’s Distinguished Speaker series offers a rich and vibrant experience to Marshall University students and various other stakeholders as they learn from renowned c-suite executives, entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs and industry leaders about business successes, effective leadership and the future of work.


The Five Principles of Leadership: Principle #5 is PAY-IT-FORWARD


In an earlier post, I shared a definition of leadership that I believe best articulates what is required for leaders to succeed in the fast-moving 21st Century. In doing so, I foreshadowed a framework derived from more than three decades of benchmarking, learning, applying and adapting. I call it “The Five Principles Leadership” – Potential, Purpose, People, Playbook, Pay-It-Forward, and committed to devoting the next five articles to diving deep into each of these “P’s”, sharing lessons learned, best practices and pragmatic tips for implementing the model in our daily leadership habits and organizations.


Brad D. Smith Attends Marshall University’s #WVSolutions Seekers Student Leadership Conference


On November 20th, Brad D. Smith joined Marshall University’s president, Jerome A. Gilbert, for an interview as part of the first #WVSolutions Seekers Student Leadership Conference. The event invited West Virginia high school upperclassmen, college students, and individuals enrolled in professional training programs to engage with local leaders over Zoom. With a shared passion for giving back, West Virginia natives Brad and Gilbert encouraged students to learn about the Mountain State and make lasting connections with fellow attendees.


Brad D. Smith Visits West Virginia University to Inspire Future Leaders of the Digital Workforce


Jake Stump, director of research communications at West Virginia University, recently wrote an article in WVU’s Business Magazine about Brad D. Smith’s visit to campus in March of 2020. Before the COVID-19 pandemic fully hit the U.S., Stump joined faculty, staff, and students in welcoming Brad by giving him a tour of the WVU Innovation Hub. They asked the chairman of Intuit and SurveyMonkey board member about his personal relationship to West Virginia and his plans for improving professional and economic opportunities in Appalachia.


The Five Principles Leadership: Principle #4 is PLAYBOOK


The importance of playbook was instilled in me at an early age when I enrolled as a martial arts student. To progress from the beginner rank of white belt to gold belt, I was expected to complete a series of skill tests which included breaking a board with my hand. Prior to enrolling in the class, I had many childhood memories of attempting to break sticks and other objects with my hand, only to experience intense pain and an unbreakable object. This time would be different, thanks to the introduction of a playbook.


The Five Principles of Leadership: Principle #3 is PEOPLE


One of the best examples of getting this right was the 1980 U.S Men’s Olympic Hockey Team. When college coach Herb Brooks was hired to helm the 1980 U.S. Men’s Olympic Hockey Team, he set out to assemble a team of college all-stars with a singular goal of uniting his squad against a common foe, the heavily-favored Soviet team. As the story goes, Brooks invited the top players in the country to try-out for the team, and in an unexpectedly short period of time, made his selection.


Brad D. Smith Honored By WV Chamber of Commerce’s Debut Magazine


In a recent issue of Chamber, Jack Houvouras, publisher of West Virginia Chamber and Huntington Quarterly magazines, wrote a compelling article about the life and career of Brad D. Smith. Inspired by Brad and his wife, Alys Smith’s recent $25 million donation to West Virginia University, Houvouras explores Brad’s personal and professional journeys to get a clearer understanding of the former Intuit CEO’s entrepreneurial and philanthropic spirit.


The Five Principles of Leadership: Principle #2 is PURPOSE


In an earlier post, I shared a definition of leadership that I believe best articulates what is required for leaders to succeed in the fast-moving 21st Century. I foreshadowed a framework derived from more than three decades of benchmarking, learning, applying and adapting. I call it “The Five Principles of Leadership” – Potential, Purpose, People, Playbook, Pay-It-Forward, and committed to devoting the next five articles to diving deep into each of these “P’s”, sharing lessons learned, best practices and pragmatic tips for implementing the model in our daily leadership habits and organizations.


Brad D. Smith Honored as WVU December 2020 Commencement Speaker


West Virginia University (WVU) recently invited Brad D. Smith, a native of Kenova, WV, to take part in their December 2020 graduating class’s celebration. As the remote event’s commencement speaker, Brad spoke to the students’ opportunity to thrive despite challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic. He described how their experiences adapting to current adversity can instill some of the most important professional skills available: adaptability, resilience, and purpose.


The Five Principles of Leadership: Principle #1 is POTENTIAL


In my most recent post, I shared a definition of leadership that I believe best articulates what is required for leaders to succeed in the fast-moving 21st Century. In the article, I deconstructed the various attributes necessary for a leader to role model “the ability to inspire others to achieve shared objectives.” In doing so, I foreshadowed a framework derived from more than three decades of benchmarking, learning, applying and adapting to bring it to life.


The Five Principles of Leadership: Defining Leadership


Since childhood, I’ve been enamored by those who seemed to run towards danger, guide others to safety or success, and deflect any accolades that came their way. As a boy, that was my definition of leadership. Over the years, many articles, books and presentations have been published that seek to define and decode the essence of successful leadership. While their numbers surpass my ability to read or listen to them all, I will confess that I’ve devoted a significant portion of my life to doing so.


West Virginia Chamber Fireside Chat with Brad D. Smith


On September 9, 2020, Brad D. Smith sat down for a Q&A session with writer and fellow Marshall University alumnus, Jack Houvouras, for the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce’s 2020 Virtual Business Summit Series. Brad spoke about his personal and professional reasons for transitioning from Intuit’s CEO, including his desire to seek out his next exciting life challenge along with his wife, Alys.


Alys and Brad D. Smith: Creating An Outdoor Economic Collaborative


Brad D. Smith, executive chairman of Intuit, and his wife, Alys, recently donated $25 million dollars to West Virginia University to support groundbreaking new programs that improve the state’s economy, establish first-rate recreational infrastructure, and improve access to opportunities to explore and learn in nature.


Leading Through A Crisis: Bad Times, Followed By Good Reflection, Lead to Great Opportunity


The year 2020 has challenged us in ways that we could not predict, requiring us to improvise and adapt along the way. As we’ve experimented our way from day to day, many individuals have shared their reflections and best practices for navigating through a crisis. In this article, I will attempt to codify/share the key leadership lessons I have embraced so that bad times, followed by good reflection, can lead to great opportunity.


Wing 2 Wing Foundation Website Launch


After careful development, Intuit’s executive chairman Brad D. Smith and his team are proud to announce the launch of the Wing 2 Wing Foundation website. Co-founded by Brad and his wife, Alys Smith, the Foundation strives to support human potential and growth with guidance through philanthropy and experienced leadership. By establishing an online presence, the Wing 2 Wing Foundation can more effectively connect people and fulfill its mission to bring greater educational, entrepreneurial, and environmental opportunities to those underserved regions that need it most.


Moves The Needle & Brad D. Smith Podcast Recap


In a recent interview with Moves The Needle, Brad D. Smith shares his experience as a leader, educator, and executive. Brad speaks about what an empathic and productive leader looks like for businesses and beyond. With a rich personal history of meeting challenges in the workplace and changing executive roles, he talks about what makes a leader effective when helping produce innovation and while cultivating these skills in others.


Brad D. Smith Honored With 2020 Champion of Children Award


On October 6, 2020, West Virginia KIDS COUNT (WVKC) honored Brad D. Smith with the Champion of Children Award for his ongoing commitment to developing education-based and economic opportunities within the mountain state. WVKC is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with over 30 years of experience meeting the needs of children and families. It is a member of the larger KIDS COUNT network with offices nationwide.


Brad D. Smith & HERD 20-20 Webinar Recap


In a recent Q&A interview with Marshall University as part of the HERD 20-20 webinar series, Brad D. Smith provides his perspective as an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and education-focused business leader. Brad offers his insight on multiple topics related to large and small businesses surviving and prospering during the pandemic, and he discusses how other corporate leaders are developing and deploying strategies for effective recovery.


Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood – A case study for today’s leaders


In today’s increasingly chaotic and unpredictable world, a premium is being placed on the attributes and actions of our leaders. While some may argue that this is not a new expectation, the reality is that 2020 has brought an unanticipated share of challenges that have tested new and seasoned leaders in ways that could have never been imagined.


How to Discover Your Why: What I Learned From My Transition From CEO

10/21/2019 - LinkedIn Article

After stepping down from eleven years as Intuit’s CEO, Brad D. Smith realized that his decision, while the right choice, left him feeling uncertain about his own life’s next mission. Smith consulted with other successful industry leaders who had experience redefining their focuses and discovered that one of his biggest personal values was championing underserved and overlooked individuals and families.


Life's Most Important Lesson Learned at a Young Age

06/28/2018 - LinkedIn Article

Since serving on Intuit’s diversity council almost 20 years ago, Brad D. Smith always arrives at the same conclusion about the significance of diversity and inclusion: the true power of our differences happens below the surface of what we most easily observe about others.


Three Ways to Prepare the Next Generation for the Future

05/21/2018 - LinkedIn Article

No one achieves greatness on their own, and as a community-driven business leader, Brad D. Smith has had the privilege of learning from the employees and customers of the future.


Three Ways Being a Parent Made Me a Better Leader

03/02/2018 - LinkedIn Article

Reflecting back on raising children, it has become clear to Brad D. Smith that many of the lessons that he's learned from being a parent apply equally to the work environment.


How to Build an All Star Team

01/03/2018 - LinkedIn Article

One of the most important differences between a “Team of All Stars” and an “All Star Team” is the latter’s ability to express vulnerability between members to secure trust in support of shared goals.


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