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.

When Brad and his wife, Alys Smith, co-founded the Wing 2 Wing Foundation, they came equipped with a simple goal: to inspire hopes and dreams by offering the power of possibility in the heart of Appalachia. In order to support under-resourced individuals and communities, the couple focused on bolstering three key drivers: improving access to education, establishing effective entrepreneurship practices, and preserving the state’s natural environments. Brad described how West Virginia now sits at the intersection between those key drivers and several crucial changes shaping how we work in the 21st century. 

The first is a trend toward establishing entrepreneurship practices. Brad discussed the discipline’s rise in demand and how top universities across the country are relying on it to improve curriculums. He cited the importance of neurological differences in younger generations at work, specifically their ability to focus on simultaneous tasks with equal precision due to growing up with smart technology. Brad also mentioned how universities are moving toward teaching design-thinking courses that teach entrepreneurial skills related to science, math, and the arts. 

“I believe the time has come for us to reimagine and to transform ourselves,” Brad said, ”…to prepare the next generation of West Virginians for this exciting future that’s unfolding around us.” With a recent $25 million donation to West Virginia University, the Wing 2 Wing Foundation will fund an innovative remote worker program, create world-class recreational infrastructure, and improve outdoor educational opportunities. As 2020 comes to a close, Brad and Alys continue to surprise and inspire with the development of a more connected West Virginia.