Vice President, Business Initiatives–Sam’s Club
LEADERS Worth Watching
Ella Chan TM
Education: MBA, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and London Business School; BS, economics, The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania Company Name: Walmart Inc. Industry: Retail Company CEO: Doug McMillon Company Headquarters Location: Bentonville, Arkansas Number of Employees: 2.2 million worldwide Your Location (if different from above): Hong Kong Words you live by: “Don’t limit a child to your own learning, for he was born in another time.” – Rabindranath Tagore Who is your personal hero? My mom; for her optimism, fearlessness, and refusal to see barriers What book are you reading? Ways of Heaven by Roel Sterckx What was your first job: Financial Analyst in a tech firm Favorite charity: Mother’s Choice; whose vision is to see every child in a loving family Interests: Cooking and exploration of new places and cultures Family: A husband who makes me better, an independent-minded son, and a quiet but fierce daughter
Marigolds Changed My Worldview I was not (and am not) the owner of a green thumb, but a gardener friend had told me how hard marigolds are to kill. So one spring, I planted a bunch on each side of my driveway. A more experienced gardener might have noticed that one side of the driveway sat just out of reach of the lawn sprinkler. After realizing my mistake, I was desperate to keep the supposedly hardy flowers alive and made a point of going out each day to water them. The routine became a bonding experience for me and my newly walking son. There are plenty of metaphors about gardening and parenting and this might be another, but the experience taught me the root of something deeper. As the summer passed, the
2021 Second Quarter
marigolds prevailed. Some even flourished beyond expectation, without me doing a thing to help them. But on the side of the driveway where my son and I took so much care to deliver water daily, the marigolds only just survived. I was perplexed and then deeply saddened. Hadn’t we done everything right? Then the epiphany came. The flourishing marigolds benefited from being planted in a spot with greater access to sunlight. It wasn’t just the water, something I thought was essential, but also the sun exposure, something I’d taken for granted. People are much the same. We need exposure, we need to be seen. Life is about more than survival; the point is to thrive. Those marigolds that summer crystallized forever the importance of creating an environ-
ment that allows people to thrive and make a difference. I’m grateful and honored to serve on the President’s Inclusion Council at Walmart, where our purpose is to lead inclusion globally and to create a culture where diversity is essential and people are seen and heard. Our efforts focus on cultivating an inclusive Walmart, building equitable people processes, and driving a culture of ownership, accountability, and engagement. Exposure and inclusion are essential to unleashing full potential, maximizing growth, and achieving success. With just enough resources, people survive. But give them a bit more sun and they will thrive far beyond expectation. That’s why diversity and inclusion is so vital. Shine the light.