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Humility, Business + Cancer: A Love Story (ep. 176)

Joe and Kim Koenig

John O’Leary is joined by Joe Koenig, President of World Wide Technology and his wife Kim on the Live Inspired Podcast to share about growing a business and leading a life of service.

I loved today’s conversation.

Joe Koenig, President of World Wide Technology, shares how he grew it from a few million dollars and a couple dozen employees to several billion dollars and 6,000 leaders. Even more impactful, you’ll hear the humility behind the mission and the love story of Joe and his wife Kim. They share about a cancer diagnosis, the journey that followed, and a love and faith that continues to guide their way.

Today, hear how they have transcended the big diagnosis and how they’re choosing to lead their lives to serve others.

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  • The gift of grit: Kim moved nine times before high school giving her the skills to not feel scared or intimidated walking into new situations later in life.
  • When Joe started at World Wide Technology, a technology solution provider, in 1993 when it was a young, start-up with 15 employees and $8 million in revenue. By 2018, it’s grown to over 6,000 employees and over $11 billion in revenue.
  • THE PATH: The core values at WWT are Trust, Humility, Embrace change, Passion, Attitude, Teamwork, and Honesty.
  • Employees at WWT are empowered to fuel their passions through Day of Caring initiatives and other resources.
  • “Plan + attack” mode: The initial cancer diagnosis required multiple surgeries and the removal of 50-60% of Joe’s tongue. After learning it spread to his lymph nodes, Joe required a heavy dose of radiation resulting in a painful path to recovery.
  • Prior to the diagnosis, Kim embarked on a pilgrimage to Medjugorje, giving her armor to sustain what was to come.
  • No one fights alone: Building a support system of people that had gone through a similar situation helped guide, push and challenge them.
  • Unconditional love: The process taught them the depth and meaning of their vows and hope it serves their children in their future committed relationships.
  • Joe hopes to show their children how to deal with situations in a positive way, how you can impact others, build empathy + character and how to be a multiplier of love for others.

If today’s episode reminded you that the best days remain in front of us, you’ll love Live Inspired Podcast guest Michele Cushatt. Michele shares her story of trauma, how hope got her through her struggles and how it will help you through yours on ep. 132.


1. What is the best book you’ve ever read? 

Kim: The Rent Collector by Cameron Wright.

Joe: Halftime by Bob Buford and Multipliers by Liz Wiseman.

(Founding partner of Halftime Institue Lloyd Reeb was on Live Inspired Podcast ep. 170. He’s continuing Bob’s mission to help others ensure their next season in life is defined by joy, impact, and balance. Listen to ep. 170 here.)

2. What is a characteristic or trait that you possessed as a child that you wish you still exhibited today? 

Kim: Being open-minded.

Joe: Adventure and short memory.

3. Your house is on fire, all living things and people are out. You have the opportunity to run in and grab one item. What would it be? 

Kim: My wedding ring.

Joe: My family photos and videos.

4. You are sitting on a bench overlooking a gorgeous beach. You have the opportunity to have a long conversation with anyone living or dead. Who would it be?

Kim: My grandma, my dad’s mom. She lived for 27 years without her husband. I’d want to learn how she was so resilient and strong to live a great long life after he passed.

Joe: My mom and dad. I’d ask him about pain was he going through from 12 years and how did he deal with it. I’d ask my mom the truth for how she dealt with all the pain, suffering and death in her life.

5. What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

Kim: If you are consumed by worry and let worrying take over, you’re going to miss the joy.

Joe: Jim Kavanaugh telling me to come work for WWT; Be interested, not interesting.

6. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self? 

Kim: Trust yourself. You’ll end up and get where you’re needing to be by making good choices.

Joe: You’re going to have great successes and many failures. Great times and some real, real tough times. Buckle up and enjoy the ride.

7. It’s been said that all great people can have their lives summed up in one sentence. How do you want yours to read? 

Kim: Well done by a good and faithful servant.

Joe: He was a true multiplier of others.


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