Disability Advocate Randy Lewis Speaks at Hardin-Simmons Convocation

September 9, 2019 Felicity Neptune, Staff Writer

(ABILENE, Texas)–To celebrate its 128th academic school year, Hardin-Simmons University held Convocation in Behrens Auditorium on Sept. 5. Former senior vice president of Walgreens, Randy Lewis, spoke at this year’s event. As the author of No Greatness Without Goodness and founder and president of the NOGWOG Fund, Lewis has dedicated his life to creating an environment of equality for disabled employees to thrive in the workplace.

After Lewis received the news that his son was diagnosed with autism, he often lay awake at night wondering if his child would get to live an independent life. For years, Lewis noticed Austin was not given the same opportunities as those without disabilities. Seeing Austin unfairly denied job opportunities because of his disability made Lewis realize he needed to take action.

Randy Lewis speaks with high energy during Convocation at Behrens Auditorium.
Randy Lewis speaks with high energy during Convocation at Behrens Auditorium.

In 2004, as senior vice president of Walgreens, Lewis began the creation of a new distribution center where one-third of the employees would be people with disabilities. In 2007, the center was created and 200 employees with disabilities were hired. By looking at the world through his son’s eyes, Lewis stated it changed his view on everything and the hiring process was changed entirely. Now, when hiring someone who seems as though they cannot perform a specific duty, Lewis just simply asks how they would do it.

Because of the positive, open way employees and higher management look at those who have disabilities, the company’s productivity has greatly increased, making it the most productive and cost-effective distribution center as of 2018. Lewis explains that there is a new light being brought in to the workplace since there is now more diversity and acceptance. All employees work at the same place, are held to the same standards, and receive the same pay.

Since launching the NOGWOG Disability Initiative, Lewis has shared his techniques and encouraged other businesses and competitors such as Lowe’s, P&G, and Best Buy to follow his lead. To learn more about Randy Lewis and the NOGWOG Disability Initiative, visit the NOGWOG website.

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