Yanira: A Rising Star at Walmart

By Shane McLaughlin
March 13, 2014
Meet Yanira Avezuela, a working mother of two from St. Petersburg, Florida.  Until today, Yanira worked as a cashier at a new Neighborhood Market in Midtown St. Pete.  But this morning, something changed — she received a surprise promotion.

Yanira's story with Walmart began in February 2013.  As reported in the Tampa Bay Times, "Sweetbay Supermarket closed, devastating an already poor community that had for decades suffered from neglect. Dozens of people, including Yanira, were laid off as the area lost access to its essential source of fresh, reasonably priced groceries."

Fortunately, Neighborhood Market, a chain of grocery stores launched by Walmart in 1998, was on the way.  Today there are nearly 300, including the store in Yanira's community.  Yanira joined as a part-time cashier.  Her passion for the business was immediately clear and she showed herself to be a leader and a mentor to her peers, always encouraging them to say “thank you” to customers.  She even planned community events at the store.

This morning, Bill Simon, President and CEO of Walmart U.S addressed thousands of store personnel at our annual “Year Beginning Meeting” in Orlando, Florida. He called Yanira and her store manager, Carl, on-stage to join him.

Bill highlighted the fact that more than 75% of store management teams – a majority of everyone in the room – started out as hourly associates. He thanked Yanira for her dedication to the business and highlighted her contributions.

Then he let her know that she was being promoted. The job she had applied for – as a full-time Customer Service Supervisor – was hers.

We caught up with Yanira shortly after her recognition. She was both thrilled and surprised, having no idea that she would be promoted on-stage.  “I feel amazing,” she said. “Very beloved and ecstatic.”  

Yanira’s story is just one example of how Walmart associates change lives every day – making a difference for customers, associates, and our communities. 

This morning, Yanira was a cashier.  This afternoon, she's part of the 160,000 people who are promoted at Walmart every year.  Today, Yanira's badge reads "Customer Service Supervisor."