Kathleen McLaughlin is the Chief Sustainability Officer for Walmart Stores, Inc. and President of the Walmart Foundation.
Kathleen is responsible for programs that help Walmart create economic opportunity through jobs and sourcing; enhance the sustainability of food, apparel, and general merchandise supply chains; and strengthen the resilience of local communities. Through business initiatives and philanthropy, her teams work with Walmart associates, suppliers, non-profit organizations, and others to drive significant and lasting improvements to economic, social and environmental systems. Last year, the company awarded more than $1.4 billion in cash and in-kind donations, including $1 billion of food donations.
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation take a shared valued approach to its strategy to create significant and lasting improvements in the global and local systems that are relevant for their business. This includes a whole-system, multi-stakeholder efforts to tackle the economic mobility of people working in retail.
Over the past two years the company has taken a two prong approach to reshape the retail sector, through both a $2.7B investment in training, education and wages for its own associates and through Walmart Giving’s Retail Opportunity Initiative, a five-year, $100 million sector-wide effort aimed at making it easier for front-line workers to advance their careers in retail or adjacent sectors by building transferable skills.
Kathleen and her team have lead the collaboration with leading innovative organizations such as The Aspen Institute, National Skills Coalition, Jobs for the Future and National Immigration Forum, to work to address some of the biggest challenges to frontline worker advancement and identify ways to accelerate mobility. She has spoken at several stakeholder gatherings on this topic including; Concordia Summit, National Association of Workforce Boards Annual Forum and the National Retail Federation Big Show. Under Kathleen’s leadership, Walmart’s shared value strategy was recently highlighted in the Harvard Business School case “Walmart: Navigating a Changing Retail Landscape”, by Professor Michael Porter.
Kathleen serves on the board of the Council on Foundations, and is a member of CECP’s Strategic Investor Initiative Advisory Board. Before joining Walmart in 2013, Kathleen spent over 20 years with the global consulting firm McKinsey & Company. She was a leader in the Retail Practice, helping retailers from grocery chains to specialty apparel companies with strategic and operational transformations, and of the Social Sector Practice, where she supported initiatives in global health and agriculture. She also was a leader of McKinsey’s Organization Performance Transformation Practice, where she led research and client initiatives focused on frontline workforce productivity and engagement.
Kathleen earned a Bachelor of Science from Boston University in Electrical Engineering, as well as Master of Arts in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from Balliol College at Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar. She also has a diploma in Theology from Oxford. She is married with three children and divides her time between Bentonville, Arkansas, and Toronto, Ontario.