After over 30 years with the company, Lesia Cobbs-Butler has some Walmart wisdom to share!
“I started with Walmart in 1990 as a 16-year-old at Store 236 in Crockett, Texas,” says Lesia Cobbs-Butler, market manager for Market 76 in Texas. “I never would have guessed that 32 years later, I would still be here, absolutely loving what I do!”
Can you relate? If Lesia’s experience feels familiar, it’s because she’s in good company. Many associates join Walmart part-time, discover it’s a great place to grow and stay for years—or decades in Lesia’s case!
“Walmart was my job in high school and college,” Lesia explains. “I made the decision to pursue a career with Walmart in 1997, even after I got my bachelor’s degree in chemistry.”
She worked hard, moving up from assistant manager trainee to assistant manager, then co-manager. In 2007, she was promoted to store manager of Store 1254 in Bellmead, Texas. Her career was thriving!
Then, in 2013, Lesia suffered a life-changing event: Her husband of 13 years passed away suddenly. Her Walmart family embraced her with sympathy, compassion and support.
In time, she realized she needed a new challenge. So she took what she considered a stretch assignment in San Angelo, Texas, running part of that market. It went well! In 2016, she applied for a market manager position for Market 83. Eventually she landed in her current role as market manager in the same market where she started her management training.
Lesia was one of the associates featured in a 2023 Walmart video campaign, “The Floor is Not the Ceiling.” With her impressive career journey, she fit right in with the other associates featured in the video who forged their own inspiring paths at Walmart. Walmart World asked Lesia for her tips on career growth. Here’s what she shared:
1. Make an impact. “I think about what kind of impact I can make on associates. Can I persuade you to train for a higher-paying position? Or get your degree through Live Better U? I'll share my professional story, or even my personal story with its heartache, because the impact I make on each associate is very important to me.”
2. Gather nuggets of wisdom. “My leadership style has grown from the people I've encountered. I notice what works for them—and what doesn't. For example, I might like how one individual handles the people part of the business or the finance side. So, I adopt those practices. And I try to leave something positive with associates I come across.”
3. Explain the why. “Once, on vacation, I walked into a Walmart store. New associates were stocking shelves but had left empty pallets on the floor. I shared who I was and asked them nicely to get the pallets off the floor.” They explained that they hadn’t finished stocking yet, so Lesia tried another tack, which turned into a teachable moment. “I explained the why: to prevent injury accidents and lawsuits. That convinced them. I didn’t always do so, but I’ve learned the value of explaining the why.”
4. Toot your own horn. “Sometimes you need to let people know who you are, what you do and how you can help! But remember: When you toot your own horn, don't have a big head about it. Instead, have a big heart about it so you can make an impact.”