March 6, 2019
By Matt Smith and Kyle Jones, Walmart Corporate Affairs
When I met Amanda Whitehurst this January, she had just been promoted to manager of a Walmart supercenter in Crossett, Arkansas.
Running a Walmart store is a terrific accomplishment. But it wasn’t always Amanda’s goal. She was hired in 2009 as a temporary cashier, and she remembers thinking at the time, “If they hire me, it’ll be until I find a real job.”
When she started, she was at a tough period in her life. “It was very hard to make rent.” Amanda recalled, “I knew that I needed something that was going to help me.”
Help appeared in the form of her first supervisor, who helped her balance work and home life. As a single mother, that was a tremendous relief. “My assistant manager was incredible,” she said. “I had two young kids that were 10 and 8. She worked with my schedule to make sure that I could spend time with them.”
At this point, Amanda started thinking she could stay at Walmart. So, she applied for the only full-time job available at the time – in the Auto Care Center. She had never checked the oil in her own car before, but within a year, she had learned how to change oil, rotate and balance tires and change batteries.
After working for a couple years as a department manager in dry grocery and hardware, Amanda had the opportunity to work as a support manager in a small format store. The position challenged her to learn more about being in charge.
“It showed me what I could do as far as my skills, and so I knew there was more out there for me,” She said.
After working for a couple years as a department manager, she set a new goal: assistant manager.
When I was an hourly associate and looking at the assistant managers, I thought: if I can make it to that one day, I will have made it with the company.
Achieving a management role just five years after being hired as a temporary cashier wasn’t just a big step in Amanda’s career. It was a milestone in her ability to provide for her family.
As assistant manager, her career took off. She was promoted to co-manager in a little under a year and manager of a Walmart Academy just a couple of years after that. When I asked her about being an Academy manager, Amanda’s eyes lit up.
“I loved the Academy job,” she said. “We take associates and show them how to adapt to change and share knowledge when they get back to the store.”
Now, this newly promoted store manager is proud to brag that her son and his fiancé work at Walmart. In fact, when her son, Justin Toscano, applied at a store in Little Rock, Arkansas, the store manager called Amanda and asked why she didn’t tell him her son was applying. She said, “Oh no. If he wants it, he’s going to have to get it on his own, just like I did.”
But that wasn’t the real reason he’d called. He told Amanda that something Justin said in the interview had him in tears. When asked why he wanted to work at Walmart, Justin said: “I watched this company see my mom through a time where she struggled to raise us, and I’ve seen what it has done for her. I would be silly to not want to work for a company like that.”
Justin is now an overnight maintenance supervisor and has been with the company for more than a year.
Last year was full of more big moments for Amanda. Not only was she promoted to store manager and asked to take on the Crossett supercenter, but she also got married. Her wife, Chasity, also works for Walmart – she’s an assistant manager in El Dorado, Arkansas.
“She’s been with Walmart, like, a tiny bit longer than me, so she thinks she has all of this seniority,” Amanda chuckled. When I asked her if there was anything she’d want to tell Chasity, Amanda joked, “Yeah, could you bring home some milk?” They sound like they’ve been married longer than a year.
Now, Amanda’s sights are set on a new goal: regional general manager. She knows she has some work to get there, but she’s already calling her shot.
“The coolest part will come years from now when I am a regional or divisional, and we do a follow up! #IHaveGoalsToCrush.”