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      FINAL LEDE- Beyond the Ball: How the World Cup Helps Unite Us- Soccer ball globe on field

      Beyond the ball: How the World Cup helps unite us

      Alex Gorsky, Johnson & Johnson Chairman and CEO, shares why reading about a special World Cup gathering in his hometown left him with a powerful feeling of optimism about the world—and the future of health for humanity.

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      One of my first jobs growing up was working in a bar and bowling club in Kansas City, Kansas. As odd as it may sound, the club was located in the basement of a church—a church that my grandparents helped build generations ago in the heart of the diverse and close-knit neighborhood of Strawberry Hill.

      My time at the St. John Catholic Club taught me vital life lessons that shaped who I am today. The club was truly a melting pot and brought together people from so many different backgrounds and walks of life. Yet we were all united by shared purposes. Whether you were there to improve your bowling average, participate in a community program or share a drink with your neighbors, we were all united by our community.

      The power of coming together as one

      That’s why reading this article, about folks gathering at St. John’s to watch the recent World Cup match between Croatia and Russia, brought back so many warm memories and poignantly reminded me of the power of coming together as one.

      I can just imagine the camaraderie and excitement in that basement, with all eyes glued to the TV during the penalty kicks that decided the match. Everyone standing together, shoulder to shoulder, with the collective roar of “Hrvatska!” (“Croatia” in Croatian) uniting all those watching that day.

      Win or lose, the match offered a welcome moment to reflect on the fact that we can set aside our differences even as we celebrate them.

      Watching the match left me with a feeling of optimism and determination. It also reminded me of how we are all part of an interconnected global community and part of something much, much bigger than ourselves.

      With so much change and political unrest happening around the world, it’s easy to focus on the negatives. But sometimes we have to change the channel and focus on our shared progress and the things that bring us together.

      It’s why moments like the World Cup—watched by Johnson & Johnson employees from Brazil to India to Croatia to New Jersey (which is the proud host of the World Cup final in 2026!) and the world as a whole—are so special.

      How the Johnson & Johnson Credo unites us

      Watching the match left me with a feeling of optimism and determination. It also reminded me of how we are all part of an interconnected global community and part of something much, much bigger than ourselves.

      If that sounds familiar, it’s exactly how I’d describe the work we do every day at Johnson & Johnson, guided by the company’s mission statement, Our Credo.

      Brought together by Our Credo and united by our purpose—to change the trajectory of health for humanity—we share the same commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive culture of belonging. And we stand together as a company that puts the values of family and community first in their times of need.

      So whether it’s a soccer match broadcast in the basement of a church, or our work creating a healthier world for billions of people, we’re all in this together.
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