In our 2024 issue, we’re shining the light on some outstanding leading ladies for all their accomplishments and contributions to society.

SVP, Pantry, Walmart US

Melody Richard grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, and she and her husband Jon moved to Bentonville nine years ago for an opportunity to lead Coca-Cola’s business within Sam’s Club. In 2018, she made a career change to Walmart US leading the baby business. Melody and Jon are proud to call Northwest Arkansas home and have enjoyed watching the arts, culinary experiences and natural spots grow. Melody has been very fortunate through her roles to engage in the community. She and Jon strive to make a positive impact in NWA and others’ lives.

B.S. Finance, Florida State University in Tallahassee
Executive M.B.A., Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia

Have you stayed on a straight path to your career goal?
Have any of us? I started working for Coca-Cola in college. My dad worked for them for 20 years as well. I started in operations, worked in national sales, commercial, international and Coca-Cola’s emerging brand units. I kept trying new things in my career. Many would call me when an announcement would be made saying, “What are you doing now? It’s so different.” I love learning new things, gaining new experiences and expanding my horizons with new cultures. As I gained more confidence in exploring new opportunities, it became clear to me that my path would continue to evolve if I allowed myself to take on more challenges and risks.

When did you know what you wanted to do?
As a child, I wanted to be an astronaut or President of the United States. I was very curious about space and exploration and knew early on I wanted to lead teams. Once I started working in retail and the restaurant industry as a teenager, I found that I thrived in roles where I could serve people and solve problems while delivering results.

Best part of your job:
Working with my team to execute our #pantrywithapurpose. Our goal is to truly serve our customer by delivering world class services, excellent quality and assortment at an affordable price.

Quality you admire most in women:
Empathy and respect for the individual. I truly respect and admire leaders that take time to show true empathy and respect for others.

What nonprofits are you involved with and why?
NextUp. I have been a member for 14 years – started at the regional level and now represent Walmart on the National Board. NextUp’s mission is to advance all women, and my experience in the organization has allowed me to develop personally and professionally.
My husband and I love supporting the organizations in the Northwest Arkansas community. We continue to invest and spend time in areas that help children, families and others in need, including Boys and Girls Club, NWA Food Bank, The Jones Center, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Apple Seeds Teaching Farm, Peel Compton Foundation and Best Friends Pet Resource Center.

What do you do for fun? Any hobbies?
Love spending time at the lake with my family and friends, playing tennis, and traveling

Biggest inspiration:
I have been inspired by so many across my career and life. Today I am inspired by our next generation, my 22 nieces and nephews, who are focused on making the world a better place.

Personal Mantra:
Philippians 4:13. For I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.

Best advice you’ve ever received:
I have received such great advice over the years. Recently I was reminded to “enjoy the ride.” I really love that advice.

Surprising fact about you:
I grew up a kid of the 1980s cola wars. My biological father worked for Pepsi, and my step-father worked for Coca-Cola.

Thing you’re most proud of:
Seeing others achieve their goals.

Most used app on your phone:
Messenger – I love keeping up with friends and family. Also Walmart of course! 

If you won the lottery, what cause or organization would you support?
As many as possible. I would want to ensure that we live in a better world where everyone has access to the essentials and have a better quality of life.

You can view Melody’s page in the Leading Ladies segment of the 2024 3W Magazine here.