Russell Shaffer is Director – Brand Strategy, Outreach and Benchmarking in the Office of Global Culture, Diversity & Inclusion at Walmart, and reports directly to the Chief Culture, Diversity & Inclusion Officer. He and his team have responsibility for visual and messaging strategy; executive and enterprise communication; and strategic relationships related to the company’s global culture, diversity and inclusion initiatives. He joined Walmart in 2006 and has held roles managing global internal communications and benefits communications. In a previous role as Senior Manager – Constituent Relations, Russell managed Walmart’s corporate strategy and stakeholder outreach for the people with disabilities and aging constituencies.
His career as a professional communicator spans more than 15 years and includes roles in advertising, corporate communications, marketing, print journalism and public relations. Russell has held positions at May Department Stores, The Timken Company and The Ohio Optometric Association, and began his work experience as a teenager paying his way through school as an hourly associate at Walmart and Sam’s Club locations in Michigan and Ohio.
Russell was elected Chair of the Board of Trustees for the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) in November 2017 after joining the AFB Board in October 2015. AFB also named him its 2015 Stephen Garff Marriott award recipient in recognition of his professional achievement and service as a person who is blind or low vision. He has previously served two terms as Chair of Walmart’s Advocates for Disability Awareness and Education (ADAE) resource group, and has been a board member of Sources for Community Independent Living in Fayetteville, Ark. since 2012. His service has included positions on the U.S. Business Leadership Network’s (USBLN) Corporate Advisory Board, the Disability Equality Index (DEI) Advisory Committee and the National Council on Independent Living’s (NCIL) Corporate Development Council. In April 2018, Russell traveled to China to serve as a private sector disability employment expert as part of a U.S. State Department delegation engaging in bilateral discussions with the China Disabled Persons Federation.
Russell is an honors graduate of Malone University in Canton, Ohio, and holds a bachelor of arts degree in business administration and communication arts. He resides in Rogers, Ark. with his wife, Jessica, and their children, Sophia and Brady. His perspectives on disability advocacy and inclusion are informed by his experiences with retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic, degenerative eye disease that was diagnosed when Russell was 10 years old and led to his legal blindness by his late 20s.