Mentorship in the Making

Celebrating You

A mentor and mentee share their tips for a career-growing relationship that keeps on giving. 

At Walmart and Sam’s Club, mentorship takes all different forms. It’s an uplifting conversation with your manager. It’s the supportive chatter of a Workplace group. It’s staying in touch with someone you met at Associates Week to see how their career develops.

No matter what mentorship looks like, it leads to growth for both mentor and mentee. That’s certainly true for Carvon Smith and Anthony Agnew.

Mentorship at first meet

Carvon and Anthony first met in 2018 at Store 940 in Westworth Village, Texas. Carvon had just graduated from assistant manager training at the Academy, and he was excited to start in that role at the store where Anthony was co-manager.

“I was just starting my salaried career and to see Anthony have that much passion in what he does — it took me to the next step. I was like, that’s who I need to be like, that’s who inspires me,” Carvon recalls.

The admiration was mutual. “I met Carvon and could hear his enthusiasm,” Anthony says. “His energy is infectious!”

What Carvon and Anthony share goes beyond admiration — they truly support one another and help each other grow. Here are their tips for a successful mentorship.

1. Make it your own.

Anthony explains that they didn’t have a formal mentorship plan or program. “I don’t consider myself a mentor. I consider myself a confident advisor who is open to connecting individuals within my network.”

“For me, mentoring was thinking about how I lead every day. Mentoring was literally, ‘I’m going to spend some time with Carvon on the floor today.’ It’s about building a relationship,” Anthony says.

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2. See challenges as a chance to learn.

Anthony (pictured above) also helped Carvon learn by letting him gain experience in new areas. “Stretch assignments increase our ability to face challenges with resolve and to figure things out,” Anthony says.

3. Be honest.

“First and foremost,” Anthony says, “know who you are and what you bring to the table. Identify any gaps in your development and find someone who is willing to help you fill those gaps.”

He explains, “You don’t want to reach out to a mentor and say ‘tomorrow I want to be CEO.’  There are so many facets to what leaders truly do — especially at Walmart. It goes beyond the job description and the four walls that are Walmart.”

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4. Make learning a priority.

Carvon (pictured above, left) was an eager learner. “I was like a sponge, soaking up everything Anthony shared. He exemplified ‘tour to teach,’” Carvon says. “Every single day, he taught me something that benefited me tremendously — and still benefits my career now.”

Take merchandising, for example. “One of the things Anthony taught me is the importance of how you present merchandise.”

Anthony shares, “If you have merchandising that’s exciting, customers will return. I ask associates to walk outside the store with me. Then close their eyes, walk back in and open their eyes. Share what they feel in the moment. That’s how the customers feel.” 

5. Pay it forward.

Anthony’s mentorship helped Carvon prepare for his next role: manager. In 2022, Carvon became store manager at Store 530 in El Dorado, Arkansas, where he’s taken on the role of mentor.

“I preach to the new associates: Be curious. Being curious shows you’re ready for something, you’re ready to know something more. Your most shining moments can happen when you don't know something and are forced to learn,” Carvon says. “I call it courageous curiosity.”

Being a mentor means being and doing your best for the next generation of leaders, also known as succession planning. “Succession planning is a phenomenal way to approach the business,” Anthony shares. “You always have to think about who is going to replace you.”

Carvon agrees: “We have to invest our time, patience, resources and experiences in associates to create the next generation of coaches, store leads and store managers.”

Mentorship is the gift that keeps on giving. Anthony sums it up perfectly: “Mentorship is not about me, it’s about the folks I’ll never see. It’s about the people Carvon is mentoring by way of being mentored.”