In our 2023 issue, we’re shining the light on some outstanding leading ladies for all their accomplishments and contributions to society.
SILVIA AZRAI KAWAS
Senior Vice President, Health & Wellness Merchandising, Walmart U.S.
Silvia Azrai Kawas grew up in several countries in Europe and the Middle East. She moved to Arkansas from Jordan to pursue her M.B.A. at the University of Arkansas … 21 years later, 20 of which she has spent working at Walmart, she has grown to love Northwest Arkansas as her home. She has a wonderful husband and two beautiful girls who keep her grounded and motivated.
B.A. Marketing, University of Jordan
M.B.A. Consumer Marketing and Global Business, University of Arkansas
When did you know what you wanted to do?
Of all the scenarios that ever played out in my mind when I started my career, never did I imagine this trajectory. But with every role, I built new skills, capabilities, and expertise … and the path became clearer. I always knew I wanted my work to have a huge purpose and wanted a phenomenal opportunity to impact people’s lives. I have always admired Walmart: its impact on communities in the United States and around the world, the mission that is centered around the customers we serve, the leading role in driving change, and the opportunities available to have a meaningful contribution toward that mission and grow within the company.
Best part of your job:
Throughout the years, I have had many people invest in me and believe in me; and in turn, I have been determined to be part of other people’s journeys and growth. I know that building confidence happens over time and persistence and resilience is key … but it is hard to do it alone. I try to be the mentor and sponsor who lifts others along the way … pay it forward.
Quality you admire most in women:
I am inspired by women who show me every day what it is like to perform when you bring your authentic, open-minded, inclusive, curious and winning spirit to work. Thankfully I am surrounded by many.
What nonprofits are you involved with and why?
What is so wonderful about Northwest Arkansas is the community and how strong the sense of giving and serving is. I am involved with St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School and have had a small part in supporting great organizations over the years, like American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association, Boys & Girls Club, Big Brothers Big Sisters Northwest Arkansas and Arkansas Children’s Northwest.
What do you for fun? Any hobbies?
I love to travel and explore cultures and cuisines from around the world. When I am not traveling, I love to play tennis. My husband and daughters train and play as well. It is a family hobby we do together.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
My daughters. Our time together is the most important time. They show me that we can paint so many pictures of possibilities together.
My husband is my companion every step of the way … no matter where the path leads.
Best advice you’ve ever received:
“If you focus your choices, personally and professionally on continuous learning, you will be happier with impact and journey.” I truly believe that, and it has worked for me. I pass that advice along to my mentees as well.
Surprising fact about you:
I am multi-lingual and am learning a new language.
If you won the lottery, what cause would you support?
I have always had a passion for child education, especially educating girls around the world. I believe access to education and building skills is the foundation for creating opportunities to have a better life for them, their families and transforming the prospects of future generations. The stats are staggering of how many millions of girls are deprived of basic education around the world. There is so much work to be done.
You can view Silvia’s page in the Leading Ladies segment of the 2023 3W Magazine here.