The Academy That Helped This Manager Stay One Step Ahead

By Jane Incao
April 7, 2017
A male associate sitting in Walmart Academy classroom

Lee Griffin isn’t tough to spot, even in uniform. At 6 feet, 6 inches, he towers over his fellow associates and customers, and his signature bowties pop at his shirt collar every day.

A group of Walmart associates walking through a store

He says he’s all leg and is a little hard to keep up with – but these days, that’s because he’s walking with a purpose.

Although he’s always had passions to pursue (he plays piano, guitar and writes his own music) he didn’t feel like he had a real career path after leaving the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, where he had been recruited for the basketball team. When he graduated, he was working at a chicken plant in Georgia and didn’t see any room to grow into his potential. That’s when his girlfriend at the time suggested he apply to Walmart.

Walmart Academies – Tools for Success | Lee’s Story

His application was accepted and he soon began working full time as an overnight stocker, before moving through the ranks to support manager. “That’s when I started seeing clearly that there is a career here,” Lee said. “I could always see myself going further with Walmart.”

Once Lee became a support manager, he enrolled in his store’s Academy program. That’s where he learned to grown as an associate, a leader and a person. “A lot of things resonated with me in the Academy, but I think the most important thing is that now I’ve got goals to set to where I want to be,” he said.

Lee says that his 5-year-old daughter is his biggest motivator.

A man and his young daughter play piano together

“I want her to look at me and be proud of what I do,” Lee said, “and at the same time I want her to do better than what I’ve done. I’m trying to do the best that I can in her eyes so that I’ll raise her expectations of herself. That’s what motivates me.”