Type to search

Latest news

goBeyondProfit names Herschend Enterprises as 2022 Champion Award winner

‘Leading with love’ is in the corporate culture of Herschend Enterprises. (Photo from goBeyondProfit.org.)

By David Pendered

The goBeyondProfit business alliance to advance corporate generosity named Monday the Gwinnett County-based owner of Dollywood, Callaway Gardens and other attractions as the winner of the 2022 Champion Award.

Herschend Enterprises was recognized for the company’s efforts to improve the lives of others, according to a statement released by goBeyondProfit. Herschend is based in Peachtree Corners.

“Love is demonstrated in what you do for others and there may be no better business example of love in action than Herschend Enterprises and its CEO, Andrew Wexler,” Megan McCamey, president of goBeyondProfit, said in the statement.

Previous winners of the Champion Award include Gas South, Creature Comforts Brewing, H.J. Russell & Company, Aflac, W&A Engineering and Cox Enterprises.

Herschend was recognized for giving programs across its business platform and in the communities around those entities. The company has a total of 26 business units in the United States and British Columbia. About 11,000 employees work for Herschend.

Herschend now is the nation’s largest privately held owner of themed attractions. The company’s list of family vacation destinations includes Talking Rocks Cavern and Silver Dollar City, in Branson, Mo.; Wild Adventures, in Valdosta; the Vancouver Aquarium, and Pirates Voyage, in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The portfolio includes the Harlem Globetrotters.

The company began in 1950 with the 99-year lease of Marvel Cavern, near Branson, Mo., according to a story posted on Northwestern University’s website. In 1960, the company built a replica of an 1880s ghost town, Marmaros, that once stood near the entrance to the cave. The replica town is now a theme park known as Silver Dollar City.

The two brothers who co-founded the company, Jack and Peter Herschend, established a corporate value system that on the company’s website lists values such as this: “We serve others… By Leading with Love; being Patient, Kind, Humble, Respectful, Trusting, Unselfish, Forgiving, Truthful and Dedicated.”

Wexler said in the statement the values of the founders remain intact today.

“Our team really believes in leading with love and they act on it,” Wexler said. “This idea of love in action — treating people with respect, dignity, taking care of each other. That’s how we take this timeless concept of love and operationalize it in our day-to-day business.”

Herschend has posted on its website an interview with Wexler in which he offers insights on how corporate leaders can show love for others. One example of that, according to the statement, is to “make core business values consistent across an organization through defined language, clear expectations and a purposeful structure that ensures [all] employees understand and can align around the values.”

The goBeyondProfit Champion Award recognizes a variety of Herschend’s  programs, according to the statement.

Silver Dollar City’s Care for Kids program coordinates with public schools to provide basic necessities for kids from school supplies to food to coats and vision and medical and dental care.

The Dollywood Foundation’s Imagination Library was created with teachers to help increase literacy by providing books for children ages 1 year to 5 years. The program reaches 10 percent of every child born in the nation.

The Harlem Globetrotters focuses on volunteer time with children in hospitals, U.S. troops overseas and aiding with disaster relief.

Herschend provides the GROW U. program to employees. It provides full tuition for more than 100 degree, diploma and certification programs. The cost of books, fees and supplies are covered. All employees are eligible starting the first day on the job.

Click here to watch the video with Herschend Enterprises CEO Andrew Wexler.


David Pendered

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow.


You Might also Like

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.