Energy and Integrity Wins the Day

Associates Week 2022

Walmart associates and leadership brought the energy and demonstrated our values at their annual meeting

To kick off the 2022 Walmart Associates Meeting, Dacona Smith (pictured below), EVP and COO of Walmart U.S., gave an important reminder: “You represent the largest part of the organization in the world! So, bring the energy!”

Well, associates and leadership (oh, yeah, and Flo Rida) definitely brought the energy in the Bud Walton Arena!


Our World Changes, Our Values Endure

John Furner, President and CEO of Walmart U.S., reminded us that it’s our commitment to Walmart’s four values that got us through the last two and a half years. “Our values—those will never change. What we do and how we work will change, that’s inevitable. But we will never compromise on integrity.”


And that integrity leads to amazing advancements in the way we work. To illustrate a few, John invited Site Operations Senior Director Sean Long and Team Lead Natalysse Stein on stage.


Sean has excitement for optimizing with a site acceleration strategy called Project Felix. Natalysse and her team are focused on improving the online experience for both customers and associates. She added that “the Me@Walmart app has been a fantastic development.”


Listening to Improve

Chris Nicholas, EVP and COO of Walmart U.S., took a moment to lift associates up: “I’m so excited to be here on one of the most important days of the year, because it celebrates what’s always been special about Walmart—you.”


“You are the best. You are the reason to believe. You are the reason Walmart wins year after year,” he went on to say.


“You’re in the business of serving our customers and communities. Our job is in service of you. It’s what we do now that will impact the next 60 years and it starts with listening. And we will start with listening to you.”


Chris revealed that Walmart will again be closed on Thanksgiving 2022!


Growing and Making a Difference

Chris also got to announce the first promotion during the meeting. Congratulations to Store 2818’s Erika Ramirez (pictured below) who stands out for her willingness to solve problems and her strength as a servant leader. She was promoted to Stocking 2 Coach at her Hammond, Indiana, location.

Dacona returned to invite Hope Gray-Lockhart to the stage. At Store 4176 in Sherwood, Oregon, Hope is a true trailblazer. After promoting her to Stocking 2 Team Lead, Dacona told Hope (pictured below), “Hope, you just keep doing what you’re doing. You know what’s right! Our future is bright because of people like you!”

Yet another instance of phenomenal associates acting with integrity came when Dacona introduced Tim Kilburn, Front End Services Host at Store 3200 in Weymouth, Massachusetts. 


When Tim accidentally tapped a customer’s car in his store’s parking lot, he didn’t just keep moving along. After searching for the car’s owner in the store, Tim left a note with his phone number on the windshield. When the owner contacted him, to Tim’s surprise, she wasn’t upset. In fact, she was grateful for his honesty—so appreciative that she reached out to Tim’s manager to commend him for his integrity.


And who could forget Marshall Johnson (pictured below), a maintenance associate who has worked at Store 665 in Campbellsville, Kentucky, for 51 years. A favorite among his team and community, Marshall’s motto: “Be good to Walmart and Walmart will be good to you.”

“Just imagine,” Dacona remarked, “Imagine all the individual interactions that Marshall has had. Imagine all the interactions we have that make a difference.”


Making a difference is exactly what Walmart and Sam’s Club associates do best—for each other, their customers, and their community. And they’ve also done so for countless children thanks to the $1 billion that’s been donated to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals over the last 35 years.


Driving Success

Career advancement is one kind of growth at Walmart, but Fernando Cortes, SVP of Transportation, and truck driver Allyson Hay of Transportation Office 6818 in Searcy, Arkansas, talked about another kind.


Our new Fleet Development program aims to grow our private fleet (currently made up of 12,000 drivers). The program will allow current associates to earn their commercial driving license in a 12-week course, paid for by Walmart. What better opportunity for associates who want to jumpstart their driving career?


As Allyson said, “If you’re thinking of joining the fleet, there’s no better place to work.”


No better place to work—or have fun. To illustrate this, Charles Redfield, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer of Walmart U.S., shared some of his favorite social posts that feature associates showing off Walmart merchandise.


Charles then asked a few associates up to the stage to share some of their favorite new products—but the catch was, each had only 30 seconds to do it. It was a tall order, but the associates were up to the task—from hyping the trending Cirkul water bottle to the new Homestyle Cinnamon Sugar Rice Krispies Treats. Oh, and don’t forget the new LOL Surprise Earth Love Paper Balls, an earth-friendly advancement in the toy industry.


Moving On Up

To close, John sat down to chat with Shernae Bessick of Store 2248 in Catonsville, Maryland, and Tim Cooper, SVP of Supply Chain (pictured below).

Tim joined Walmart 23 years ago after being in the military as a rescue helicopter pilot. Looking back at the last few years, he admits supply chain issues have been challenging. But, he says, “with a clear mission and phenomenal people,” we’ve thrived.


Like John, Shernae’s father worked at Walmart and would regularly recount the Walmart values. She thought back to 26 years ago, when she applied to the same Walmart where her dad worked. A few days later, she got a call from him. “If you can be here in 10 minutes, you’ve got the job.”


Since that day she raced to the store, she’s continued her rapid pace forward in her career. Today she is the digital team lead at her hometown store, Store 2248.


This week’s celebration honors associates like Shernae and so many others who persist, grow and yes, change at Walmart.

Catch up on all the news from Associates Week 2023.