Editor’s note: More than 2.2 million associates bring our stores and clubs to life every day. Sparking Conversation is a series where we get to know these individuals. Marlene Simmons is a store manager at Walmart store #32 in Branson, Missouri.
Q: Tell us about your career and the positions you’ve held.
A: I just had my five-year anniversary. I originally started as a part-time customer service manager because I had past experience in management. My son had worked with Walmart and progressed up the ranks and he had always talked so favorably about Walmart.
I started with only 17 hours a week. I knew that if I could just get my foot in the door, I could prove myself. Within seven months, I was ready to make a move. I’ve learned so much about the whole retail side and grocery side – that’s where I grew up really fast with Walmart.
Q: Why Branson?
A: After I attended Leadership Academy, [I saw that] a lot of the candidates want to go to the biggest and brightest new supercenters. When this store opened, I started researching and getting the history. I know this is the type of store that Sam envisioned. It’s store 32 – one of the first stores that he was very proud of. The associates in this store will tell you stories about it. We have a lot of older clientele that have been going to the store for years. I interview every hourly associate to ensure they’re a good fit for this special store.
Q: Why did you stick with Walmart?
A: Our leadership is so strong and I love the culture. That brings me in the door every day. I can change customers’ and associates’ lives.
Q: Has your career impacted your personal life and family – if so, how?
A: Right now, as a brand new store manager, I’m here quite a bit. Walmart does not expect that of me. My market manager is constantly checking on my work-life balance. I’ve heard executives speaking about that as well – it’s important at Walmart.
Q: Do you have any words for other associates?
A: Five years ago, I was sitting in your position. Walmart is about opportunity. Change is positive. Without it, I wouldn’t be where I am today.