From Military to Management

Celebrating You

Bob’s background in the U.S. Navy taught him that service and leadership go hand-in-hand.

male associate in a Walmart aisle smiling at the camera

Like many of us, Bob Jenkins started at Walmart in a part-time gig while attending college. He’d just returned from deployment in Japan, serving in the U.S. Navy. When he returned to Florida, the job at Walmart provided stability and helped him ease back into civilian life.

Bob soon realized that his military training served him well at Walmart.

“In the military, you go through both physical and mental tests to see how you respond to stress,” he explains. “That training translated very well to the retail setting, which can be chaotic at times.”

Military service also shaped Bob’s leadership style. “You learn to prioritize and delegate,” he says. “So, I send tasks to the right people — they get solved better and quicker than if I did them.”

With this foundation of skills in place, Bob focused on learning retail and growing his career at Walmart.

“I never had any retail experience before I came here. Walmart associates taught me how to retail,” Bob recalls. 

A love for mentoring

Today — 27 years after his first job at Walmart — Bob is a store manager at Walmart Neighborhood Market Store 3817 in Orlando, Florida.

As a manager, mentoring associates is one of Bob’s passions. “I’m a trainer, and I want people to grow,” he says. “The teaching and training part is what I love about my job.”

He believes in transparency, honesty and involving associates in big decisions. “In our store, we all know what we need to accomplish,” he says. “I let associates run their own area of the business, and we’re all better for it.”

Bob is proud that many of his associates have moved from hourly positions to store management or assistant management — or beyond.

Growth through education

Bob is also a big fan of the Live Better U (LBU) program. He used the benefit to earn his bachelor’s degree in business management and leadership. 

“I believe it may be the biggest benefit that Walmart offers its hourly associates,” he shares. He encourages his associates to take advantage of LBU as a way to grow their career options.

That focus on associate development shows in Store 3817, where engagement is at an all-time high and turnover is below goal, according to Bob.

All in the Walmart family

Turns out, Bob isn’t the only Walmart manager in his family. Early in his career, he met the woman who would be his wife — and she happened to be his manager. He had to transfer to a different store in order to date her!

In their 22 years of marriage, all three of their kids worked for Walmart at some point. And now they have four grandkids, too. (We’ll be on the lookout for their applications!)

“We’re a big, happy Walmart family,” he says.

With a dedication for spotting and developing talent along with his strong servant leadership, Bob learns from his fellow Walmart associates and keeps on paying that spirit forward. Now, he mentors and inspires other associates who want to keep growing at the company.

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