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Message from the CEO: Learning Must Continue Even in These Uncertain Times


The COVID-19 pandemic has truly altered the world in a matter of a few months. Many of our everyday experiences have changed materially, from the ways we interact with one another to how we shop and even worship. It has been incredible to watch how quickly people all over the country are adapting to these huge societal changes and how people are finding creative ways to adjust to the “new normal” we are all experiencing. Take for example education – within a matter of weeks, entire school districts and universities have gone from in person to virtual classrooms with millions of students now leaning on technology to continue their studies. We can’t pause learning, even under these difficult circumstances.

At Advance, we have a remarkable team that over the last few years has built many best-in-class training programs to benefit both our Team Members and customers. This work has dramatically accelerated since the pandemic took hold. Over the last few weeks, we’ve introduced numerous virtual training opportunities with courses going from concept to implementation in record time. Here are just a few examples.

  • To ensure our frontline Team Members understand and are able to properly implement new safety protocols such as enhanced cleaning and sanitation practices, frequent hand washing and social distancing measures, we have filmed educational videos and distributed those videos to our stores and distribution centers.
  • We recently introduced a learning series called “Leading with Care,” which targets leaders in our stores, distribution centers and customer support centers, and covers topics like caring for yourself and others, crisis leadership, virtual leadership and inspirational leadership. The series includes virtual panel discussions, as well as a variety of tools and resources.
  • Several cross-functional teams are collaborating with their Human Resources partners to design virtual internship programs that will ensure students can still benefit from real world work experiences and mentorships despite the pandemic.
  • And to assist our professional customers, our Carquest Technical Institute and Worldpac Training Institute have collaborated to develop virtual instructor-led training courses, so repair shop employees can continue their educations from home. In addition to technical and management training subjects, the courses include topics relevant to independent automotive service professionals including new skills needed to navigate business during the pandemic. Already more than 12,000 people have benefitted from these virtual courses.

Our teams have also identified ways to support learning in their local communities. Just recently, Daniel Naylor, a senior director in our IT group, Jay Hill, IT service specialist, and Allison Bubar, the SVP and General Manager of our DieHard business worked together to distribute laptops to local school districts whose students lacked the equipment to participate in virtual classrooms.

Being a life-long learner is something I have always subscribed to. Now more than ever, I think we all need to find ways to continue to learn and grow. I’m excited about the training programs we’ve recently introduced and how they are benefitting both our Team Members and customers. I am also very proud of the way we’re supporting students as they adapt to online learning. We plan to build on the new platforms of learning and education we’ve implemented once the pandemic ends as we move beyond this difficult time and toward a bright future.

4/24/2020: Message from the CEO: Learning Must Continue Even in These Uncertain Times


Kiwanda Stansbury

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