Walgreens exec honored for work with disabled

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Deerfield, Ill. Walgreens announced that Randy Lewis, its senior VP supply chain and logistics, will receive the first-ever Productive Lives Award from NARSAD on Friday at the organization’s 22nd annual New York Awards Dinner at the Pierre Hotel.

NARSAD is the world’s leading charity dedicated to funding mental health research. (NARSAD was initially founded as the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression and now supports work on all major mental illnesses.)

Lewis is being honored for his commitment to providing an inclusive workplace for people of all abilities, including those with mental illness. More than 30% of the work force has a disability at Walgreen’s newest distribution centers in Anderson, S.C., and Windsor, Conn.

Lewis has said that his own experience as a father of a child with autism was what first propelled him to make workplace changes.

“People with disabilities die a death of a thousand cuts,” he said. “They may talk differently, they may look differently and they suffer the unkindest cut, which is the belief by most of us that people with disabilities can’t do the job. Our latest distribution centers, which each have a work force of more than 30% people with disabilities, are both 20% more efficient than any of our other facilities. I know team members with disabilities who provide 150% of our standard expectation. People discover their gifts, harness their abilities and, in turn, realize their contributions. We went into this project wanting to change the work environment. But we soon discovered we were the ones who changed in dramatic and wonderful ways.”