Don Soderquist’s legacy lives on through Soderquist Leadership

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Soderquist Leadership announced the death of Donald J. Soderquist, retired COO and Senior Vice Chairman of Walmart, on July 21, 2016.

Soderquist Leadership sadly announced the death of Donald J. Soderquist on July 21, 2016 at the age of 82 due to complications from heart surgery. Don was the Founding Executive for Soderquist Leadership which began in 1998. Prior to this, Don was most notably recognized as the retired COO and Senior Vice Chairman of Walmart. Joining the company in 1980 and later appointed to COO by Sam Walton in 1988, Don was instrumental at the retailer during the years of rapid expansion. After Walton’s death in 1992, Don became known as “Keeper of the Culture.”

Under Don’s leadership, Walmart grew from being the largest retailer in the world with sales of $43.9 billion the year of Sam’s death, to becoming the largest company in the world with sales over $200 billion. Walmart’s success is grounded in the highly ethical, performance-focused, servant leadership philosophies that Sam and Don instilled in the hearts of every associate. Don's passion was to teach those same principles to companies and organizations around the world.

This passion is what drove Don to establish Soderquist Leadership which operates two facilities in northwest Arkansas and is affiliated with John Brown University. Soderquist Leadership is a provider of leadership development for organizations of all sizes, dedicated to developing values-based leaders around the world, while offering a variety of products and services designed to facilitate leadership development in person and digitally. More information about this organization can be found at

Although Soderquist Leadership will deeply miss Don’s presence, the executive team, led by CEO Chuck Hyde, looks forward to furthering Don’s legacy through the continued growth and development of programs for companies both locally and nationally. According to Chuck, “Don had a unique ability to make others feel valued through his genuine interest in them as people. His driving motivation ‘to impact people in a positive way,’ I believe, is the mark he left on Walmart and why Soderquist Leadership exists today. We will miss him terribly but we know his expectations for us. We are blessed to do good work and will carry that forward to impact people and honor his legacy.”

Clearly Don’s desire to influence others has left a notable impact on Soderquist Leadership and hundreds of professionals. In Don’s own words, “A great joy in my life has been to see people grow and develop and become more than they ever dreamed they could be, to have a sense of direction they never felt before and to achieve a greatness beyond their wildest expectation.”

He is survived by his wife Jo Soderquist and four children and their families.


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Chris Grant
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