Destination: Sam’s Club – Through Live Better U, Charlene Carter becomes a first-generation graduate while growing her career at Sam’s Club

Jan. 18, 2023

2 Min. Read
Charlene and Kathryn McLay

New year, new degree. That’s the case for Charlene Carter, a 17-year Sam’s Club associate who has just achieved her dream of earning a college degree, specifically a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. The feat has always been a goal for Charlene, but at times it seemed unattainable – enter the Live Better U program, a program available to Sam’s Club associates at no cost to gain skills and degrees across more than 60 programs including technology, project management, business, and logistics.

Charlene Carter Graduation Picture

"If it wasn’t for this program and Sam’s Club, I would not have been able to go to school," says Charlene.

Charlene currently works as a Fresh Manager in Club 6651 in Catonsville, Maryland. Although her focus is in the fresh department, Charlene takes pride in assisting members and teammates throughout the Club lending a hand and her expertise.

"I love what I do. I knew if I wanted to achieve even bigger dreams; gaining a college education would be important," says Charlene.

While in school at Southern New Hampshire University over the last three years, Charlene has learned more about business, culture, leadership, and people. Which are key skills she says to help her thrive in her role at Sam’s Club. During this same three-year period, Charlene has been promoted three times from a team lead to manager in training to her current role as manager on the fresh team.

"I believe school has helped me a lot with my growth, the skills I have learned I am able to apply to my new leadership role and be able to teach, train, and mentor team members," says Charlene.

Charlene walked across the graduation stage in November and in the crowd for the momentous occasion were her children, father, and best friend. A proud and powerful memory she won’t forget.

Charlene Carter with her family

"When I got my diploma, I was just overjoyed," says Charlene. "All the long nights and early mornings had paid off."

Growing up, Charlene was raised by her mother in an underserved community. After earning her high school diploma, she went immediately into the workforce. Charlene’s motivation has always been her children. She wants to be an example of what hard work can accomplish.

"I wanted more for them, and I wanted to show them there is no limit," Charlene says. "Ultimately, I wanted them to say, 'I'm so proud of my mother, and now we know we have the same opportunity as her.'"

And she isn’t giving up on her new goals either – striving to one day become a Club Manager, Charlene remains dedicated to her education continuing to research, read, and learn more.

In 2022, participation of the Live Better U program at Sam’s Club has increased by over 100% from the previous year. Sam’s Club celebrated over 300 graduations in the last year – Charlene’s being one of them.

Charlene continues to set an example for her biggest motivation, her children, but also for her team members and fellow associates showcasing the value of a free education through Live Better U and Sam’s Club.

Start your journey today.