THEN AND NOW In 1971, as an undergraduate student at Loyola University of Chicago, I often sat on the steps of the Chicago Water Tower during class breaks. I watched the traffic flowing north and south along Michigan Avenue’s bustling Magnificent Mile. As a kid who hailed from the housing projects on the west side of Chicago, I marveled at the late model cars, beautifully tailored pedestrians and the expensive boutiques that lined the street. I often wondered, “How do you get there from here?” In 1994, I arrived in Bentonville, Arkansas to assume my new post as the Senior Vice-President of the People Division for Wal-Mart Stores (Sam Walton’s term for human resources). Soon to become the world’s largest retailer and private employer, a Fortune #1 company and among the Fortune 100 Best Companies To Work For. I had experienced an exciting and satisfying journey. Today, residing on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina I enjoy my role as consultant and corporate board member for several public companies. Over the years, I have shared my thoughts on “getting there from here” in many places around the world. Why not finally put them in a book? Good question. This book is my answer. Enjoy.
For whom is this book written? For the person newly entering the workforce, for the middle managers looking to advance their careers, for the person working for a corporate, governmental or nonprofit organization...for those who are simply intersted in becoming a better person.
Coleman Peterson Cole Peterson is President/CEO of Hollis Enterprises, LLC, a human resources consulting firm founded in 2004 following his retirement from Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. He specializes in executive coaching and keynote speaking engagements globally. Peterson, known as America’s top people person, served as Executive Vice President of People for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., where he had the distinction of being the Chief Human Resource Officer of the world’s largest private workforce (today: 2.1 million associates world-wide). He headed human resources during Wal-Mart’s most aggressive global expansion and helped diversify its workforce. Today, Wal-Mart is the country’s number one employer of African-Americans and Hispanics. Peterson serves on the corporate boards of J.B. Hunt Transport of Lowell, Arkansas, Build-A-Bear Workshop of St. Louis, Missouri and Cracker Barrel Restaurants of Lebanon, Tennessee. He is chairman of the compensation and development committees and serves on the nominating and corporate governance committees on both the J.B.Hunt and Build-A-Bear Bear boards. Peterson’s numerous recognitions include: The Award for Professional Excellence, The Society for Human Resource Management’s highest honor; the Lifetime Achievement Award for Human Resource Excellence from Linkage, Inc.; The Chancellor’s Medal for Volunteerism from the University of Arkansas and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Arkansas MLK Planning Commission. His most recent recognitions are the National Association of African Americans in Human Resource Professionals Trail Blazer Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Arkansas Society for Human Resource Management State Council. Peterson is a Fellow of the Academy of Human Resources, and a member of both Kappa Alpha Psi and Sigma Pi Phi fraternities. Peterson is a native of Birmingham, Alabama and grew up in Chicago where he obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Loyola University. He and his wife, Shirley, have two adult children and reside in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.