Achieving My Dreams and Paying it Forward

By Rianne Dixon
May 27, 2016
Associate Rianne Dixon spending time with young girls she mentors

Ever since I was little, I dreamed of working for a big company. I pictured having my own car, my own apartment, and a great job. That’s what success looked like to me. Turns out, there’s a lot more that goes into success.

I started my career at Walmart as an intern in global business intelligence where I helped the team understand more about our customers. I did a double major at the University of Oklahoma, so I was used to hard work and big challenges. But on my first day at the home office, I was pretty overwhelmed and intimidated.  

When you begin as intern, you’re assigned a mentor – an experienced associate who can answer questions, give advice, help solve problems, and offer guidance. I was amazed at how helpful everyone was. As a nervous newbie, it helped tremendously to know there were people who had been in my shoes before, and who were there to help me navigate the ups and downs of my newly developing career. 

With the help of those around me, I was hired as a full-time rotational analyst in information technology, where I began exploring project management. I discovered a passion for managing IT projects that span several different areas of Walmart. Then, I became a project specialist.

As a full-time associate, I’ve found even more mentors. Like any relationship in life, every mentor offers something unique. Some reached out to me, and others are colleagues I found myself. But they’ve all had an impact on my career in one way or another, whether it’s giving me honest feedback or helping me organize my priorities.

In addition to personal mentors, Walmart also has mentoring circles to give us access to more leaders who we may not have interacted with otherwise. This is where associates can meet up, talk about issues, and learn from others’ experiences. There are circles for all types of people; for example, I’m a part of a circle that’s just for women.

Not only did mentors impact my career, but they inspired me to do the same for others. I’m now a mentor to summer interns, and others around the company who want some guidance.

I’ve even taken these mentoring skills into other areas of my life, and use them to give back to my community. I teach a class called SMART Girls at the Boys & Girls Club where I help young girls develop positive relationships.

It feels good to help associates and teach them how to leverage their relationships within the company, but most importantly, I just want to be helpful and give them tools to succeed like my mentors did for me, and still do even now.

Now, I do have my own car, apartment, and a great job. But after three years at Walmart, success has an additional meaning to me now. It also means helping others be the best they can be.