The Lytle Center for Faith and Leadership Development hosted Brett Biggs, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on October 25th, as the speaker at COBA’s annual Distinguished Speaker Series luncheon.
Biggs is responsible for accounting and control, corporate strategy and development, business planning and analysis, internal auditing, treasury, tax, global shared services and several other key areas of the company. Before being appointed to his current role, Biggs was executive vice president and chief financial officer for Walmart International, where he was responsible for all global finance activities, including accounting and controls, business planning and analysis, financial services, and support for real estate, M&A and Strategy. Prior to that, Brett served as executive vice president and chief financial officer for Walmart U.S., where he was responsible for U.S. finance functions including strategy, merchandising, logistics, financial services, real estate, operations, and financial planning and analysis.
Biggs began his visit to ACU with a Q&A meeting with approximately 30 COBA students. The students had unfettered access to ask Biggs questions about his career path, how Walmart works and his best advice on how to jump start their own careers. After the private gathering with students, he then addressed the luncheon crowd of about 200 guests, talking to them about Walmart’s corporate philosophy as well as his own beliefs on what it means to be a Christian leader in the workplace.
Biggs stated that the “Joy of working at Walmart is that it is a company that stands for things: take care of your people, do your best, and take care of the people that come through your door.” Biggs also said that he believes, “The world needs places that stand for something. I love ACU’s mission. If you can combine your passion and your vocation with your mission, that’s where it’s at. Sometimes being a person of faith is tough. You have to stand your ground when others around you aren’t. Rosa Parks said it well when she said, ‘Stand for something or you will fall for anything. Today’s mighty oak is yesterday’s nut that held its ground.’ Matt 5:14 says, ‘You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.’ I know that’s what this university is about and I appreciate that.”
Biggs also gave a personal anecdote when he told a story about meeting Sam Walton, who he described as a once in a lifetime kind of man and the greatest entrepreneur of all time. Biggs said that he met Walton on a field trip in college. Biggs happened to be carrying around a very big notebook while studying for the CPA exam. Sam Walton asked what the book was for and Biggs explained to him that he was intensely studying for the exam. Walton then told him that, “If you study hard and work hard you never know what you’ll be able to achieve.” Biggs said that today, his office is next door to Sam Walton’s former office.
Biggs encouraged students to find a company that fits your values, to be intentional about your faith and to stay grounded and focused on your faith. He also exhorted the audience to know who you are before you are faced with big decisions. He stated, “You have to know what you would do and make a choice ahead of time. You have to really know who you are. Students, take advantage of your time here and form that person now. Take advantage of all the spiritual opportunities you have here.”
Biggs wrapped his trip to ACU up with a private meeting with some of COBA’s faculty, where they discussed current markets and opportunities for students. COBA would like to thank Brett Biggs for so graciously giving of his time and energy to our students, faculty, staff and community.
For pictures from the event, please click on this link for COBA’s FaceBook page.