On September 9, 2020, Brad D. Smith sat down for a Q&A session with writer…
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.
Houvouras describes how Brad’s success as a world-class executive and compassionate West Virginia native continues to foster greater economic opportunity and visibility for underserved communities in the Appalachian region. The gift comes from the couple’s philanthropic Wing 2 Wing Foundation, which supports initiatives in West Virginia that advance entrepreneurship, education, and environmental stewardship. Just a few years earlier in 2018, the couple gave $25 million to Marshall University’s Lewis College of Business, totaling their lifetime investment in the Mountain State to $60 million.
Brad spoke to the value of staying sincere about who you are and where you come from as part of effective leadership. He described an early experience while on the job for a large corporation where an executive persuaded him to take speech classes to reduce his southern accent so he could more easily advance in his career. As Brad mentions, the classes didn’t work because he had to focus too much on not being himself. The experience helped him focus on the authentic nature of his entrepreneurial and philanthropic ambitions while staying true to his West Virginia roots.
When Brad retired as Intuit’s CEO, it offered him more time to develop new purposes in life, including acting as a voice and source of growth for underserved communities in Appalachia. With his wife, Alys Smith, Brad continues to expose and produce opportunities for local business development. Recently, the couple launched a remote employment program through the Wing 2 Wing Foundation that invites individuals to relocate to West Virginia. The program will help energize economic development in the state, prepare local economies for the 21st century, and showcase the state’s natural beauty. Read the whole issue to learn more about Brad and Alys’s efforts in West Virginia.