In our 2020 issue, we’re shining the light on some outstanding leading ladies for all their accomplishments and contributions to society.
Executive Vice President and Chief Merchant, Sam’s Club
Megan grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma. After attending Oklahoma State University, she moved to Temple, Texas, and worked in a Walmart Distribution Center. A couple years later, she moved to Northwest Arkansas for a role in the Home Office, and it’s been her home and career ever since. She met her husband on a blind date (a colleague at Walmart set them up), and they’ve been married for seven years now and have two daughters.
B.S. Industrial Engineering and Management, Oklahoma State University
Did you always know what you wanted to do?
Absolutely not! I thought I wanted to be a consultant and travel the world helping companies solve their problems. But as I look back on my education, my career choice makes total sense. Industrial Engineering is all about optimizing complex systems. Walmart’s EDLC culture demands we solve for simple, even – and especially – at scale. This is at the heart of what we do as merchants, and it also helps that I love to negotiate.
When did you know what you wanted to do?
I remember the moment I knew I wanted to be a buyer at Walmart. I was working as a supply chain associate, helping buyers make supply chain decisions to save on costs. I went to ask the computer buyer a question and found him planning out the circulars and selecting which computers he wanted to show for Back to School. I remember asking him, “They let you do that??” I then went back to my desk and told myself I would be a buyer one day. I was amazed that a company so big would allow an individual to make that choice. What a responsibility! Little did I know …
Best part of your job:
The people, for sure! We have the most creative, passionate merchants who love surprising and delighting Members with great prices, cool items and new experiences. We’re having a lot of fun.
First big break:
I am forever grateful to the Walmart Electronics Merchandising leadership team for giving me a chance to be a merchant. They made a big bet on me — taking an engineer and putting her into a creative, Customer-focused role. I’d like to think the bet paid off, but I wouldn’t be where I am without them. It’s something I remember and have tried to pay forward.
One thing you’d like to master in business:
Right now, I’m focused on mastering merchandising in the warehouse model. There are similarities between merchandising for Sam’s Club and Walmart, but the business models are fundamentally different. What works for one business doesn’t necessarily work for the other, and I’m grateful to be surrounded by a team of such incredible merchants who are teaching me the way.
One thing you’d like to master in your personal life:
Cooking! I plan on being a celebrity chef after I retire.
Quality you admire most in women:
Definitely authenticity. I love seeing women leaders who embrace their femininity and lead from a place of authentic power. And sometimes that power suit has spit-up on the shoulder you didn’t notice as you were flying out of the house to get the kids to daycare. I say, who cares! As women, we should stop compartmentalizing our lives and apologizing when it gets messy. Life is messy and when we embrace it all, we give ourselves permission to show up as we are.
What nonprofits are you involved with, and why?
I’m passionate about helping the NWA Food Bank after getting involved with them through Walmart’s Fight Hunger. Spark Change. initiative. Food insecurity is a problem all communities deal with, especially Northwest Arkansas. We have the responsibility to help our neighbors, and I consider it a privilege to serve this organization and our community.
What do you do for fun?
My fun revolves around my girls and family. Like most families, we have a lot going on and we prioritize our time together. It’s so fun watching the girls learn and experience new things. These are pretty magical moments that we’re really enjoying.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
My girls. I want them to be proud of their mom and know they can do anything they want when they grow up!
Best advice you’ve ever received:
Be the best version of your real self.
Advice you’d give to other working women/moms:
Find that thing that’s just for you and gives you peace and a sense of fulfillment. It could be down time, exercise, time with friends … really, it’s anything that fills you up. Once you know what that thing is, make time for it and hold yourself accountable for making it happen. If it helps, let your friends and family know, too, so they can encourage you to take that time for yourself.
Best part of your day:
I love everything about picking up my girls from school. From seeing their smiling faces running to me when I open the door to the classroom, to the car ride home where I’m listening to their stories from the day – it’s the best and they always make me laugh.
How are you practicing self-care?
What works best for me is to have a plan and stick to it. I’m pretty disciplined when it comes to my time, what’s on my schedule, my diet and even my workouts. Living this way actually gives me the flexibility to work hard when I need to and enjoy my time out of the office. Also, massage every now and then helps too. And red wine.
I love to exercise, cook and shop for fancy shoes.
Surprising fact about you:
I love everything about the beach, except the ocean.
Do you still seek out mentors or mentees?
I’m always open to the experience of mentoring or being mentored, though I don’t think I actively seek out either. There have been many instances where I’ve needed advice, and I called the person in my network who I thought could help the most. And I’ve been there for many friends and colleagues when they needed a sounding board. Mentoring is all about relationships and the willingness to be vulnerable enough to ask for, and offer, help.
How do you stay motivated?
I’m blessed to have a career that inspires me and a family that I just adore. Like everyone, I have those times where it all feels like too much. I’ve found that regularly practicing gratitude helps me in so many ways. Not only does it make me truly appreciate the gifts in my life, it keeps me centered and focused on what’s important. And when I do that, I’m working on things I love.
Thing you’re most proud of:
Going back to the best advice I’ve ever received, I’m proud I’ve had the courage to become the best version of myself. I’m definitely not finished learning and growing – and in so many ways I feel like I’m at the beginning of this journey – but I’m happy. I’m grateful to everyone who has helped me get where I am, and I’m enjoying paying it forward.