Odyssey woman Latriece Watkins is boldly stepping into a new role at Walmart as executive vice president and general merchandising manager for the company’s U.S. consumables division, Walmart reports.
In her new position, which became effective Feb. 1, she will head up merchandising strategies for the company’s personal care, beauty, household chemicals, baby, household paper, over-the-counter, and pets business.
Watkins has worked for Walmart for 20 years, according to the company website, first joining as an intern. She was later tapped for key leadership roles within Sam’s Club, Walmart merchandising, human resources, and U.S. store operations.
Aside from Odyssey Media’s 16-year relationship with the retail giant, we have followed Watkins’ meteoric rise. In fact, she was a featured speaker at our Odyssey Retreat last year — a major part of our 20th anniversary celebration, where he shed light on what drives her ambition. She focused on challenges — emphasizing the importance of stepping up; as a mentor, as a team player, and as a successor to a position that may be out of your normal comfort zone. She also stresses fostering a strong belief in yourself — along her journey, she never allowed doubt to cloud her mission.
We caught up with her recently and asked about the challenges she faced and how she overcame them.
“First off, I’m incredibly blessed…and I committed to excellence. That means I raise my own bar and set high expectations for the people around me. Personally, I shoot for fantastic, and if I miss, I should still hit above average.”
Along the way, she sets an example for others to follow: “I strive to be a person people want to work with, to be a person who listens to my team’s ideas, empowers them to take risks, and ultimately, deliver the results.”
She has this advice on getting noticed. “Be confident!” she tells Odyssey. “I remember one of my first managers telling me to show up confident or don’t show up at all. Believe in yourself, say yes to opportunity — seek support and feedback along the way.”
Finally, she says the best way to rise is to punch above your division. “Act up! Work as if you are in a role two levels above the one you are,” she adds. “People won’t put you in a role that can’t see you in. Make it look easy, and act like you are already there.”
And make a difference — “not for you, but for the people who are watching, because we all need inspiration!”
Watkins earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Spelman College in Atlanta, and a law degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law.
Congratulations from all of us at Odyssey Media!