She Dreams of Coaching a Future CEO

Women of WMW

Ten years ago, a unique encounter touched a Maryland associate’s heart — and altered the course of her career.

Female associate in the chip aisle of a Sam's Club

When Staci Bennett started her journey at Sam's Club in 2009, she was an hourly cashier with aspirations of becoming a nurse practitioner. In 2014, she was selected to attend Walmart and Sam’s Club’s annual Shareholders Meeting (also known as Associates Week). And amid the corporate meetings and star-studded events, a single moment changed her entire career path.

“We were walking out of a meeting when my group passed by a girl. She was on the phone and crying her eyes out,” Staci shares. “We could have continued walking. Instead, the entire group stopped and gathered around her.”

And they weren’t the only ones. About 40 or 50 associates from diverse backgrounds and countries were standing by the girl, transcending language barriers to offer support.

In that moment, Staci had a revelation: She realized that she didn't need to enter the medical field to make a difference. She was already helping people right where she was, at Sam’s Club.

“My dream was to help people,” Staci explains. “Becoming a nurse seemed like a natural fit, and a career in retail wasn’t even something I was thinking about. But that moment at Shareholders changed everything for me.”

female associate smiling at the camera in front of a Sam's Club store front

A new career direction

Upon returning from Associates Week, Staci was energized. She told her club manager that she wanted to contribute more to the company. She set her sights on becoming a club manager herself. Staci actively sought opportunities in various roles — from membership champion to bakery support to asset protection manager.

If there was a need, I was ready to be there, helping,” she shares. “I’ve even piped three-tier cakes in the bakery while wearing bread bags over my good shoes.” 

As she advanced in her career, Staci recognized the need for formal business training. So, in 2020, she seized the opportunity to enroll in Sam's Club's tuition-paid degree program Live Better U.

Balancing work, school and single parenting during a pandemic was daunting. Staci, however, discovered strength in overcoming these obstacles, realizing that if she could manage all that, she could conquer anything.

Live Better U not only advanced her education but helped her grow her career within the company. Staci found that classes focusing on management skills and operations provided a different perspective, making her a stronger leader, better mother and, she says, “just a better human being in general.”

Investing in others

Today, as the manager of Club 6383 in Salisbury, Maryland, Staci is passionate about using her skills to foster the careers of others. Beyond creating a workplace where associates talk, laugh and enjoy their work, she is committed to understanding their ultimate career goals and helping them develop a game plan to achieve them. 

A diverse group of Sam's Club associates smiling at the camera

Getting comfortable with the interview process, Staci says, is a big part of getting associates where they want to go in their careers. She regularly holds interview classes where she walks associates through the STAR method, an interviewing technique that helps job candidates more effectively answer behavioral interview questions. Then, she encourages them to apply for open roles within the company, even when it takes them out of their comfort zone. 

“I'm doing what I love — helping people every day, not just members but associates," Staci shares. "I'm passionate about owning my set of skills and passing on what I can to others. Giving is who I am.”

Looking to the future, Staci’s goal is to put associates at all levels on a path to success. She dreams of hearing that the future CEO of Sam’s Club once worked in her building and that she played a pivotal role in shaping their career in a positive way.

"Now that," she concludes, "would be a legacy."

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