Fast 15: Drew Johnson

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As manager of the Global Treasury for Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Drew Johnson knows the magic mantra — cash is king.

Responsible for moving millions of dollars around the globe in support of Walmart operations, at any given time Johnson knows what’s going on in Asia, Africa, Central Europe or Latin America.

Keeping tabs on the world, and the global flux of exchange rates, isn’t easy.

“It’s a monumental undertaking,” Johnson said. “The goal is to get the right amount of money to the right place at the right time and at the right cost.”

As tough as that is, Johnson is cut out for the job. He has degrees in both finance and economics from the University of Arkansas, and he also completed Walmart’s rigorous two-year Accounting and Finance Development Program.

But if Johnson is a financial whiz, it is also true he wants to put his good fortune to use for those in need.

Last year he founded the Second Street Snack Packs Program in support of Washington Junior High in Bentonville, and to date, the program has provided over 1,300 packs. He is also in the process of founding the nonprofit Rise Up to combat homelessness and hunger.

A native of Joplin, Missouri, Johnson knows firsthand what it feels like to be in need, and how meaningful it is to be helped by a stranger. His family lost pretty much everything in the tornado that hit Joplin in May 2011. Aid workers and members of his fraternity, Lambda Chi Alpha, helped him and his family salvage what they could.

Their struggle was captured in a 2011 article in The New York Times.

“The help and support was incredibly moving,” Johnson said.

He and wife Britt share a tdeep commitment to altruism, and regardless of how high they climb in their professional careers, they will always give back to the community.

“When people think of me and my wife, I don’t want them to think of titles, but of us as philanthropists,” he said. “That’s how we’ll be measured.”