How one Walmart director is using his role to promote diversity.
Early in his career, Fernando Martinez improved his leadership skills by leading groups focused on diversity, including one of Walmart’s associate resource groups—a Hispanic/Latino ARG. The group was mentoring underprivileged students and helping families with interpretation.
After moving to San Francisco to work with our e-commerce group in 2012, Fernando helped start a new associate resource group there, the Latinx Resource Group. The group focused on retention and promotion, helping build community inside and outside of Walmart and growing people into leadership positions.
Though he no longer leads the group, Fernando focuses on diversity in recruitment, going to Hispanic-serving institutes and historically Black colleges to talk about career possibilities at Walmart.
Today Fernando is a director of Information Security with Walmart Global Tech. As a hiring manager for Walmart, Fernando says he focuses on making sure Walmart hires the right talent for the job, but he also wants to make sure the company is drawing from a diverse pool of applicants. That diversity leads to better decisions and a better company.
“It's a critical piece for any company,” he says, explaining that having people from different backgrounds and with different perspectives helps companies develop innovative solutions to problems.
Fernando says he sees the benefits of diversity with his own small working groups. “I know if I get a diverse group of people that think differently, the value that I will get out of that is going to be a lot larger than if I get three people that think the same.”
“When you have different mindsets, different backgrounds, diversity of thought, you're going to get a lot larger return and a wider understanding of your back.”
When Fernando talks to high school students and other young people who are starting their careers, he offers this advice:
- Be curious.
- Don’t focus too much on salary when considering job offers. Sometimes the experience you gain is more important than the immediate paycheck.
- Focus on companies that invest in you and give you opportunities to grow your career, just as Walmart did for him.
Always moving forward and reaching for his next role, Fernando says he's ready for another pivot in his career. “I definitely want to grow my leadership into, eventually, a VP level. It would be great if I could do it at Walmart.”
Congratulations on your career path at Walmart, Fernando!