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Influential Women: Annie Walker, Walmart

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Influential WomenBENTONVILLE, Ark. — Annie Walker is a 21-year veteran of Walmart, having joined the retailer in 2002 soon after graduating from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) with a B.S. degree in industrial engineering. As senior vice president of merchandise operations for food, Walker and her team work directly with suppliers. She has responsibility for replenishment, assortment analytics, modular execution, and financial planning for food in Walmart US.

In a recent interview while participating in the annual Emerson Group Industry Day, Walker described the conversation as Walmart works with its suppliers to create innovation and value for the customer. “Save Money, Live Better” is one of the coolest things we can rally around as a company on what our true mission is for customers,” she said. “I think it’s really important for our suppliers to be thinking always with a customer-first mentality. We need our supplier community to be thinking creatively on how we create value for customers.”

That, she says, means looking for opportunities to create efficiencies, and thinking through solutions.

“It’s about going deeper, about thinking creatively, and looking at where the customer is headed,” she elaborated. “It’s about how do we create innovation and make it a truly customer-centered conversation as we move forward together.”

That approach, not surprisingly, clearly reflects Walker’s engineering background, which secured her initial position with Walmart as an industrial engineer. “In industrial engineering, you study efficiency and productivity, and you’re always trying to improve and enhance things,” she explained. “So, it was a perfect match with Walmart.”

Annie Walker

Annie Walker

While friends were puzzled that she interviewed with a retailer, given her academic specialty, Walker immediately fell in love with the Walmart culture and the people whom she met. As she began to see the complexity of retailing and the importance of supply chain, Walker saw a great opportunity for a career in the industry.

Walmart is people led, tech powered. In advancing and supporting this culture, Walker has recently stepped onto the President’s Inclusion Council to continue to further, lead and influence the company’s belonging culture, ensuring that everyone is included. Walker also leads the Women’s Officer Caucus, supporting the development of current and future leaders at the company.

One of the things about Walmart she values most is the enormous range of career opportunities available, and she has this advice for those considering a career there: “One, align what you’re passionate about and what you’re really good at,” she said. “When you align those two things, you’ll be incredibly powerful in what you do.”

Walker has held a variety of roles from merchandising to engineering, merchandise operations and visual merchandising. Walmart is a place where diversity of careers and growth can be achieved.


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