Walmart U.S. Meeting Recap: In It To Win It

Associates Week 2024

At Associates Week 2024, we celebrated what we can achieve when we help each other.

group of associates cheering

The Walmart U.S. meeting began with a call to action: Be in it to win it! As Bud Walton Arena roared awake, it was hard not to feel like the thousands of assembled associates were taking the challenge seriously.  

Host Cedric Clark, the executive vice president of store operations for Walmart U.S., started the meeting by introducing John Furner, the CEO of Walmart U.S.  

Cedric Clark on stage holding a microphone

John jumped straight in, underlining the theme of opportunity that would carry through his remarks. “Wherever you are today, whatever you have achieved: You can learn, you can grow and you can do it all right here at Walmart,” John said.  

John introduced his first guest: Adam Lukoskie, the executive director of the National Retail Federation Foundation. Adam talked about his work with policymakers and lawmakers to push retail forward and create the next generation of retail talent. His qualifications? A career at Walmart! Adam shared the touching story of getting his Walmart start at only 16 — and how learning the business of retail set him on a life-changing career path.  

John Furner on stage

Investing in you

Anjie Robertson from Store 4679 in Denham Springs, Louisiana, joined John on stage next. A store manager who began as an hourly associate, Anjie shared her 30-year Walmart journey before John asked: What would you like to see us do going forward?  

“I don’t even know if I should say this,” Anjie admitted before continuing, “but one of the things I think would be really awesome is to bring [back] bonuses for store associates.” The crowd erupted at the suggestion.  

John Furner on stage with Anjie

John smiled as a new slide flashed on  the screen behind him. It read “Investing In Our People” and detailed all the ways Walmart has been doing just that. From increased base pay and our matching 401(k) plan to opportunities for advanced learning, the list was long. There was also a new addition on that list: associate bonuses!  

“It’s important for us to have a bonus program in addition to your base pay,” John said to high-spirited applause. “The payout will be based on the combination of performance at your store and how long you’ve been with us. We value performance and we value experience, and it’s the combination of those two that make this a special place.”  

A personal win

Next, Kieran Shanahan, chief operating officer for Walmart U.S., led one of the most moving moments of the morning. He called to the stage Austin Calloway, from Store 294 in Central City, Kentucky.

Austin began his career as a cart pusher in 2019 before working his way across the store — eventually helping his team implement online pickup and delivery (OPD) as a digital team lead. And today, in front of more than 4,000 of his fellow associates, Austin earned a promotion to coach! Austin was moved to tears, and the crowd stood to cheer him on.  

Kieran and associate on stage smiling

“When we truly embrace and deliver on our purpose, the opportunities at Walmart are boundless,” Kieran said.  

Putting the ‘miles’ in milestone

Everyone knows no Walmart meeting is complete without a celebration of our Private Fleet drivers. That’s why Dave Guggina, executive vice president of Supply Chain Operations, and Fernando Cortes, senior vice president of Transportation, invited a new Walmart legend to the stage: Warren Crane.

Warren has driven five million safe miles. He’s one of only two drivers in the history of the company to reach the milestone. Warren’s advice for success is something that could help everyone. “Stay focused, take it one mile at a time, one day at a time, and when in doubt, get out,” Warren shared.  

Dave Guggina, Fernando Cortes, and associate Warren Crane on stage in front of an image of a red truck.

Warren’s next goal? Six million miles. Dave and Fernando then revealed that Warren would be logging the next million in a brand-new truck! “That’s a Kenwood,” Warren exclaimed to the audience. “That’s one of the nicest trucks on the road!”  

Delivering for our customers

Latriece Watkins, Walmart’s chief merchant, took to the stage next. “One thing I know about being at Walmart for more than 25 years is we’re all merchants at heart,” Latriece said. She shared how Walmart associates, through the items they sell, are part of customers’ lives no matter what they need.  

Latriece Watkins on stage

The next presenter, chief eCommerce officer Tom Ward, offered the associates in the arena a heartfelt thank you. “If you take nothing else from what we share with you I hope it’s the deep sense of gratitude and respect we have for what you do in your communities,” Tom said. He discussed the company’s progress in delivering for our customers with everything from drones to electric vehicles. 

Achieving together

Cedric closed by introducing the crowd to the year’s Integrity in Action Award winners. Teresa Saucedo Diaz prevented an elderly customer in cancer treatment from falling victim to a costly credit card scam. Detrick Nelson saved another associate’s life by performing CPR. The two were honored by the crowd for living our values of service and integrity.  

“Take the stories, connections and ideas from today and share them with your associates back home,” Cedric said. “When we show each other how to be great, there’s nothing we cannot achieve together.” 

There’s more Associates Week excitement on the way, so follow along all week on Workplace, Walmart World social accounts and don’t forget to follow our event hashtag, #WMT2024.

Read more about all things Associates Week right here and check out the full meeting below. Due to licensing agreements, all celebrity appearances have been removed.

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