by Shay Carr and Elizabeth Stone
In March, the University of West Georgia Richards College of Business held an Employer Showcase featuring Wal-Mart and Walmart.com. During the event, top-level Wal-Mart employees provided a great deal of insight to students regarding the company’s corporate culture, advice for career searching and more. The students also had the opportunity to engage in a networking session with the Wal-Mart representatives.
Rachel Skolrood, a UWG senior in accounting, networks with Walmart representatives.
Keri Burns, UWG’s director of Career Services, began the event by introducing Jermaine Jackson, area manager for Walmart.com. Jermaine introduced multiple speakers representing a wide variety of Wal-Mart departments.
Karen Brewer-Edwards, regional vice president of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., spoke on her background and her role at Wal-Mart. As regional vice president, she is responsible for managing more than $7 billion in revenues and approximately 32,000 associates and 120 stores in North Georgia including Metro Atlanta. Her focus is to save customers money and her responsibilities including executing strategies for Wal-Mart’s Southeast Division, serving communities in North Georgia and East Alabama and talent development for the Southeast Division.
Market Operations Manager Kirstin Moss shared the history of Wal-Mart, the company’s unwavering mission of having low prices and her personal career experience. “There are two traits that will keep you at a company: a culture that you agree with and financial stability,” she says. “I really did my research and found that Wal-Mart exceeded my expectations.”
Jason May, assistant general manager at Wal-Mart E-commerce, advised students to look at every company before applying. His first job after college was with Wal-Mart. “Many people go through eight or 10 jobs,” he says. “I didn’t expect to find a job that I stayed at.”
Kelvin Hall, general manager of Wal-Mart Stores Logistics, provided a personal account of his experience with the company, proving that hard work turns into opportunity. After joining Wal-Mart in 1999 as an area manager trainee, Kelvin quickly progressed through multiple positions. He is now responsible for 60 salaried direct report managers, more than 400 hourly associates and 1,200 temporary seasonal associates. Not only does he manage $10 million in inventory and nearly $1 billion in sales, he is responsible for the operation of a 1 million-square-foot direct to consumer facility, driving total network execution strategies and developing talent for future growth.
E-commerce Manager Brian Lee also shared innovative technology that Wal-Mart is currently using in some of their warehouses. He also offered suggestions for gaining an advantage in the job application process. “Get as much practical experience as possible, whether it’s research, working part time or clubs,” he says.
Sam Walton founded Wal-Mart in Rogers, Arkansas, on July 2, 1962. They reached sales of $1 billion by 1980 and now in 2014 have annual sales over $400 billion. Wal-Mart employs 2.2 million associates in 27 countries and serves more than 200 million customers each week.