How would you define courage? Who do you believe exemplifies it? For Boma co-founder Kaila Colbin, one name in particular comes to mind: Ed Stack.
In February 2018, Stack was the CEO of Dick’s Sporting Goods, a retail chain in the United States. When news spread that 17 people had been killed in yet another high school shooting spree — this time in Parkland, Florida — Stack learned that the assailant had shopped for assault-style rifles at one of his stores.
He assembled his management team, told them that this tragedy was the last straw, and publicly announced that Dick’s would no longer sell assault weapons at any of its 850 stores — on top of that, it would destroy more than $5 million worth of inventory.
“No other gun retailer had ever made such a move based on personal values,” Colbin says. “And values aren’t values until they cost you.”
Stack’s decision certainly cost him. The backlash from gun-rights advocates and the NRA was fierce. Between boycotts, lost sales and negative publicity, Stack’s decision cost the company about $250 million. But he says he wouldn’t have done it differently.
On Jan. 27, Colbin will explore the nature of courage — and the tremendous impact it can have on our world --- during her talk at the Boma Momentum summit in Paris. (If you can’t attend the event, find out how you can watch it live online.)
“One of the biggest myths about courage is that you’ve either got it or you don’t,” she says. “It’s not a personality trait you’re born with. It’s a teachable, measurable, concrete thing that you can choose to have. And most importantly, if you choose to have it, courage is contagious.”
In the wake of Stack’s decision, other retailers followed his lead. Kroger, LL Bean, and Walmart all stopped selling assault-style rifles.
“Ed Stack decided to not wait for legislation. He was fed up with a broken system, decided to take action himself, and his courage became contagious,” Colbin says. “The world is calling on all of us to be more like Ed.”
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