As a mother of three, my No. 1 objective is to provide for my children. It means everything to see them growing up happy and healthy – and my career as a pharmacy manager at the Walmart in Skokie, Ill., plays a big part in that.
I’m also thankful for the opportunity to contribute to making a difference in the field of health and wellness. The last time I transferred from one store to another, I had some loyal customers follow me. Granted, I was only going about 15 minutes across town to manage another Walmart pharmacy. But the relationship I’d built with them meant so much that they were willing to go out of their way to stay with me. That’s why I love what I do.
The teams within each Walmart pharmacy are smaller and we’re with each other every day. We get to know one another on a different level, and it's the same way with the customers we serve. A lot of times, we get to know the needs, preferences and stories of our customers so well that they’re almost like an extension of our family.
Believe it or not, I started in the electronics department at Walmart. I eventually met the pharmacy manager, and the more he talked about what he did, the more it seemed like something I’d be interested in. I spent several months learning the ropes as a technician, and the staff was behind me when I made the decision to go to pharmacy school at the University of Illinois at Chicago. That’s how it all started for me – and things have come full circle, as I now have three pharmacy students under my watch.
I want to be that same positive influence for them as my first manager was for me. I expose them to every aspect of pharmacy. Recently, I even had a student go on to become pharmacy manager at his own store. I’m playing a role in nourishing their dreams and the profession at the same time.
There’s been a lot of talk lately about how Walmart is investing in opportunity for associates, from higher wages to training. Beyond that, I’ve seen firsthand that the company is flexible and understanding in terms of scheduling for students. In the pharmacy department, students are able to work eight, 10, 12 hours per week – whatever works for their situation. My story is in pharmacy. But the opportunity to do something that matters is here, no matter what area of expertise you're interested in.
Laura Rycraft is one of several real associates who can be seen in this Walmart ad about our investment in higher wages, education and training.