Peter Ward, MBA '10 (E), global head of marketing communications at Newedge and president, Newtown Youth Basketball Association
Bringing Newtown's youth and community together following tragedy
Ward helped to organize a week-long free-play program in a large facility owned by the Newtown Youth Academy and welcomed more than 4,000 children from the area to participate in sports, games and other activities — anything to get their minds off of what had happened just days before.
“While longer-term support plans were already in development, I knew that we had to do something immediately to give kids a sense of security,” Ward says, “and we also had to give parents security in knowing that their kids are safe.” Once the program was in place, the community received a tremendous amount of support and outreach from people all over the country who wanted to contribute what they could to Ward’s initiative. He and the rest of his community, Ward says, couldn’t be more grateful.
“There was a woman who drove her RV from Iowa to serve her homemade pies to the kids participating in the free-play program,” he remembers. “The University of New Haven’s lacrosse team manned the door, helped register kids for the program, and made sure everyone was accounted for. One woman came all the way from California to donate her time. Representatives from Therapy Dogs International brought specially trained therapy dogs to the program and to our schools. The incredible acts of kindness and service are simply too numerous to mention,” Ward says.
In fact, there’s been so much support that Ward, who is global head of marketing communications at Newedge, a global, multi-asset, institutional brokerage firm with offices in New York City, says that his management background and the operational perspective he gained at Johnson is more relevant than ever.
“One of the biggest challenges we face is managing the various services being offered to our town and to our families,” says Ward. “It’s going to take a great deal of work to make sure that these efforts are coordinated so that the families affected can get the help that they need, both financially and emotionally.”
Ward explains that the town is currently developing an infrastructure system to funnel all the donations and services being offered, as well as working with federal government representatives that President Obama has sent in.
In light of the tragedy, Ward says that now, more than ever, he appreciates the emphasis that the Johnson curriculum places on promoting a values-based business education. “I am continually inspired by the stories of other Johnson alums who are devoting their professional and personal energies to socially responsible endeavors — from microfinance to “B” companies to socially conscious venture capital. I think this speaks volumes about the inherent quality of the Johnson education,” Ward says.
While Newtown continues to mourn and attempts to move forward, Ward urges business students and the Johnson alumni community alike to continue to seek meaningful, values-based endeavors. “With increased collaboration, we can drive even greater change” he says, “both in business and in people’s lives.”
Maria Minsker ’13 is an intern in Marketing and Communications at Johnson.