40 Years of Growing Careers — Hers Included!


Connie Freeman helps connect associates to success.

In a move that’s probably familiar to many, Connie Freeman started at Walmart to help her pay for college. Little did she know on her first day in 1983 that she would still be with Walmart 40 years later.

What keeps a person at the same company for 40 years? Passion!

We recently talked with Connie about what she loves about her current job, market people operations lead for the Kansas City metropolitan areas.

Passion for people

Connie has spent about half her time in operations and half on the People side of the business. Her decades in operations were spent in jewelry and shoes — considered a specialty group at the time — where she rose to become a divisional manager. She eventually became a district manager (what we now call a market manager).

Then, in 2006, Walmart started its own human resources group. “That's what my education was in, and that's what my passion was in,” Connie says. “So, I've been in the people group ever since 2006.”

Connie enjoys connecting associates with the right opportunities to help them succeed. “What I really love is when I run into people and they say, ‘Oh, my gosh, you gave me my first store,’” she shares.

The source on resources

She meets many new hires in her role, and she always shares this advice: Find a mentor and chase those career opportunities! “There are so many opportunities. It's a career path. It's kind of like our slogan — and it's so true — come for a good job and stay for a great career.”

Connie also takes every chance to remind associates about programs like Live Better U. “I know two people leads going through it now, and they’re so happy that they’re doing it. They learn so much and get so much out of it. We don't have the participation that I think we should, knowing what the benefit is.”

Mental health resources are another benefit Connie makes sure to promote. “We're really bringing that health and wellbeing out there and letting people know what resources that they have,” she says.

When we connected with Connie, she was most excited about a new mentoring circle starting up in her market. “We have our first meeting next Tuesday,” she says.

“These are people — some are hourly, some are team leads, some are coaches — who want to run stores or be coaches. So we're bringing them all together, and we're going to help them with development, like finding your mentor and bringing them together to network. And so, we're pretty excited about that.”

Reinventing and growing

Connie admits that she started at Walmart to earn money for college, but the job became so much more.

“If you look back at my experience, first it did start as a job and then it truly became a career,” she says. “But I've done so many different things. It's like working for a different company with every move that you make, because you reinvent yourself. You grow in each of the positions that you hold, and Walmart allows you to do that.”