Southern University partnered with Walmart and Sam’s Club to engage in a presentation promoting philanthropy in the communities at Southern University. The event brought many leaders who currently hold positions within the corporate and business area of Walmart and Sam’s Club. The speakers focused on how Walmart and Sam’s Club utilize their problem solving and leadership skills in providing quality and beneficial service to not only the customers, but also their staff. “Find something you’re good at and find a way to get paid.”, said Sam’s Club Senior Vice President and Chief Member Officer, Tony Rogers.
With Walmart being active in 5,000 locations in the United States, the company has focused heavily on investing $4 billion on worker wages alone and, thus, has made a concerted effort to begin engaging with students at historically black colleges and universities more aggressively.
Over a four hour presentation, the Walmart and Sam’s Club leaders also touched upon the internships they provide in order to find the critical thinkers and leaders that the company looks for. Along with traveling assistance, housing and workshops, the internship focuses on finding those marketing strategists and problem-solvers to further enhance the business and philanthropy of the corporation. If the students show great potential in benefitting the company, they would even be asked for an interview.
The presentation shared how Walmart was one of the very first relief allies during Hurricane Katrina. The company sent more than 2,000 truck loads of supplies, water, food, and clothing out to the gulf bounded states and Texas in response to the devastating hurricane. They were also the leading corporate drive to assist in relief efforts by donating $17 million in emergency aid. Vice President of Philanthropy, Julie Gehkri, who have worked with Walmart for 11 years said, “The work we do could make an impact on communities.”
The presentation also featured a alumni of Southern University’s College of Engineering, Myron Frazier, who shared how he used his upbringing as an underprivileged black kid to increase the declining rate of meat sales in the African American community. As a Sam’s Club DMM bakery and prepared foods analyst, Myron Frazier stated that the meat packaging of the store didn’t meet the requirements for the typical African American family so he suggested that they packed more proportionally in order to increase the revenue in that demographic. As a result in applying his analytical and problem solving skills, sales increased for the corporation.
Not only did the event include business leaders, but there were also many local store managers who would later scout classrooms in search for potential job offerings. These store managers also shared what it takes to be successful in many of the stores. “We want leaders, but you also have to know when to humble yourself and follow.” Stated one of the store managers at Walmart on Siegan Lane.