Growing a Career at Walmart, One Opportunity at a Time

Neighborhood Markets

When Juan moved to the U.S. from Mexico, he never imagined the professional path ahead of him.

Juan Trias was working as an operations manager in 2022 when he was asked to pitch in at Store 4490 in Tucson, Arizona. The Neighborhood Market had recently lost its store manager and was struggling with standards, process and morale. Little did Juan know that this stretch goal assigned to him would lead to his next big career step.

You might say that’s just how his Walmart career has unfolded: unexpected opportunity after unexpected opportunity.

A rising start

In 2010 — while at the hospital welcoming his first child — Juan got a call about his job application to Walmart. He soon started work as a temporary bicycle assembly associate at Store 1612 in Tucson, Arizona.

He had graduated with a degree in industrial engineering in Mexico and had been in the U.S. for only two years. In that time, he’d improved his English (thanks in part to episodes of “Barney & Friends”) and met his future wife.

While putting together bikes at Walmart, Juan was noticed. In just seven months, his work ethic and motivation led to a promotion to Cap 1 associate, where he stayed for a few years before being promoted to department manager.

“I think Walmart is the best place to achieve your goals,” Juan shares. “If you work hard, and you let your managers know what you want, they will help you grow in your career.”

Both managers and leaders were approaching Juan with opportunities for another promotion, but the timing wasn’t yet right for his family.

Perfect timing leads to success

When Juan’s wife’s job changed to allow her more flexibility, he jumped at the chance to move up in his career.

In 2019, Juan became an assistant manager trainee, which transitioned into an operations manager position by the time he got a post in 2020. In 2021, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree (and a near-perfect 4.0 grade point average!) in business management through our Live Better U program.

And that’s when Juan started lending a hand at Neighborhood Market 4490. He would spend a few weeks at the store, troubleshooting a problem, before returning to his home store.

Moving up the ladder once more

Once again, people started noticing. Juan was having a positive influence on Store 4490. It wasn’t long before he found himself accepting the role of store manager.

Today, he’s focused on making the store the very best it can be. Under his leadership, sales have gone up, profit has increased, turnover is down and wait time has dropped.

Juan is on a mission to help Store 4490 become Neighborhood Market of the year. “That's my goal,” he admits. “But it's not about me. It’s about my people. I want my associates to be recognized for the hard work we do every single day.”

A star that continues to shine bright

It’s no surprise that once more, Juan is being noticed! People say his energy is contagious. Under Juan’s leadership, the team is stronger — and happier. “He has an amazing ability to grow and develop talent, not only for his facility but for the entire market,” says Juan’s market manager, Nathan Wooley. 

Juan spends a lot of time on the floor, talking to and training his team. He says the smaller size of a Neighborhood Market means it’s easier to get to know all the associates. “It’s like a family.”

He credits his many mentors — a market manager, a store manager and others — with encouraging him to take those next steps. They showed him that hard work and taking care of both your associates and your customer leads to great opportunities!  

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