Meet the inspiring associate who came from Cameroon and eventually landed in Arkansas thanks to a lot of hard work and a little help from Walmart.
Imagine moving to a country where you do not speak the language. How would you build a life for yourself? How would you pursue the education you’ve dreamed of? Where do you begin?
These are the questions that faced Sidi Patrick Nzemen Temo in 2007, when he moved to the U.S. from his home in Cameroon. He didn’t speak any English. The U.S. economy was in a recession, and it was tough to find work.
Walmart offered Sidi a job—and a chance to grow more than he could imagine.
Sidi’s Walmart Journey Begins
In 2008, he started as a courtesy associate at Walmart Supercenter 4475 in Olathe, Kansas.
“It was winter, and it was cold! I was not used to such cold in West Africa,” he recalls.
Eventually, he started work inside the store, in the produce area. Sidi also started English as a Second Language classes, practicing his skills by talking with customers.
After five years in fresh produce and meat, he moved to the pharmacy. At the time, he wanted to be a pharmacist, so he took advantage of Live Better U to get an associate degree in general science.
“I’m very grateful to go to college without paying a penny through Live Better U.” —Sidi Patrick Nzemen Temo
While he wasn’t accepted into pharmacy school, Sidi never gave up. He kept taking classes and earned a bachelor’s degree in business management and leadership in 2020.
“I’m very grateful to go to college without paying a penny through Live Better U,” Sidi says.
Labor of Love
Sidi was looking for the next step in his career. He applied for many different jobs. In early 2022, he learned about Walmart’s Home Office Pathways Experience (HOPE) program just as he went on paternity leave.
HOPE connects frontline associates who have earned a college degree with in-demand roles in Walmart’s Home Office. Sidi applied to four open roles.
“During the first HOPE interview, my wife was in labor,” Sidi recalls with a smile. “For the second one, our new baby was sleeping by my side.”
After his 10-week HOPE internship, Sidi entered the year-long Associate Merchant Development Program (AMDP). Under the guidance of Kristin Ciabattari, senior manager, the AMDP trains Walmart’s next generation of merchants.
During four rotations, Sidi will learn different aspects of becoming a buyer for Walmart.
“So much more goes into it than I ever thought,” he explains. “A huge, cross-functional network of people work together to put products on Walmart’s shelves.”
The Learning Continues
Sidi is excited to learn the merchant side of the business. Many of Walmart’s top leaders, including Doug McMillon and John Furner, once worked in the merchant area. Plus, he’s hoping his native language—French—will come in handy if he has the chance to connect with suppliers in Canada or France.
“I'm learning so much, and I still have so much to learn!” Sidi exclaims. “Actually, I never stopped taking classes—I just finished my master's degree in cybersecurity.”
That’s right: The young man who didn’t speak English 15 years ago has now earned three degrees through Live Better U. He also found what he was searching for. “Working for Walmart has exceeded my dream for sure,” Sidi says. “I finally found a career that uses my skills and challenges me to continue to learn.”