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. Sherry Reis is an operational zone supervisor at Walmart store #1887 in Montoursville, Pennsylvania, where she runs the front of the store, staffing the cashiers and the customer service desk.
Q: Why did you choose Walmart, and what was your first job?
A: I started at this store in 1996 as a temporary cashier, and it wasn’t long before I went to the courtesy desk and began training there. I applied because I had a relative who worked here and she knew I’d recently had a child at the time. She told me that the store needed people who could work evenings, and I thought, that’s perfect – that way [my husband and I] wouldn’t have to put our kids in day care.
Q: Tell us about any highlights of your career or favorite positions you’ve had.
A: I’ve enjoyed all my positions because they’re based on the one thing I enjoy most: customer service. I’ve been here 19 years, and this store has a very hometown atmosphere. I’ve seen a lot of our customers’ children grow up. I enjoy that aspect of it – the people.
Q: How have you approached reaching your career goals with Walmart?
A: I had really excellent mentors. One at the time was my lead customer service manager, Mary Cooley. She had children the same age as mine, so I looked up to her. She was very helpful and taught me a lot. I try to do that, too, if I see people who want to move up in the company. I think it’s important to mentor, to share your challenges and how you’ve handled them.
Q: Has your career impacted your personal life and family – if so, how?
A: The ability for me to adapt my scheduling [for my children] and still be promoted is an excellent quality within this company. I didn’t necessarily have to work 9 to 5 to be considered for promotions. As my children grew, I could grow. My kids were very much into sports; when they had little league, softball or music, I could accommodate my family life. There was never an issue of having to choose either or.
Q: Do you have any words for other associates?
A: Walmart has changed a lot in 20 years, and it needed to because the retail environment has changed. Make sure you ask questions and learn as much as you can. The more you learn, people will regard you for that. Keep yourself open to new ideas.