Sam’s Club Meeting Recap

Associates Week 2023; Career Path

Sam’s Club associates gather to celebrate 40 years of a member-obsessed mindset.

The atmosphere at the Sam’s Club Meeting was brimming with joy. As the crowd filed into the Barnhill Arena in Fayetteville, Arkansas, associates moved and grooved to DJ Kirby Gwen’s celebratory tunes. 

Before getting things rolling officially, Kimberly Williams, merchandising people partner at Sam’s Club, and Tim Simmons, SVP and chief product officer of Sam’s Club, serenaded the crowd with a soulful rendition of the American national anthem. 

Then, Lance De La Rosa, Sam’s Club’s chief operating officer, kicked off the festivities, introducing Sam’s Club Integrity in Action Award winner Renee Henderson, who got to lead the crowd in the Sam’s Club cheer.

Next, Kath McLay, president and CEO of Sam’s Club, shared inspiring stories, including two sisters from different states who were selected to attend Associates Week, and had not seen each other in years. “Who knew we were reuniting families, too?” Kath exclaimed.

Kath reminded us that our work is just as meaningful today as it was mid-pandemic. “Not so long ago, our associates were referred to as ‘essential workers.’ But today, what we do has no less meaning. It has no less sense of mission and purpose.”

“There is dignity and kindness in our work. There is purpose. So, yes, what you do is essential, and to watch you do it is a privilege,” Kath said.

Next, Kath invited Ciara Anfield (pictured above, left), chief member and marketing officer, to reflect on Sam’s Club’s mission: “To make it easy for members to share more, serve more and live more.”

“It's helpful for us to know that even as things constantly change around us, we can be grounded in the fact that we are unified as one team with a common mission,” Ciara said.

Member love letters

There are countless Sam’s Club associates who already take this mission to heart. It’s obvious to see in the letters and feedback from our members. 

Kath highlighted some of these exemplary associates, including Latonya Taylor of Club 8120 in Tallahassee, Florida. She was the subject of two letters from members! “Both talked about how Latonya’s kind, outgoing personality made their day,” Kath shared.

Seth Willbanks in electronics at Club 4985 in Springfield, Missouri, “Went above and beyond to help a member set up a smart TV. That's not easy!”

Misty Watts, a backroom associate at Club 6413 in Lincoln, Nebraska, was described by her club manager as “unmatched” in her attention to detail. “Focusing on those thousand little things that make us better,” Kath said.

Carol Mays of Club 6260 in Memphis, Tennessee, who — besides making sure that everyone around her is having an amazing day — helps feed less fortunate folks in her community. 

And, finally Changchun Ji (pictured above), associate of the year at Club 4950 in Hendersonville, North Carolina. When walking through the Café, he noticed a member was struggling to breathe. He acted quickly, saving the member’s life.

Congratulations to these outstanding associates! “Remember that what you do matters. Your jobs are important. Thank you for making us proud,” Kath said.

Bringing the heat with amazing products

Next, Megan Crozier, executive vice president and chief merchant, shared the stories behind some of this year’s hottest items. 

She welcomed to the stage Merchant Emily Bowman, Senior Director Nick Scheidler and Senior Merchant Casey McLeod, who talked about three member favorites that are exclusive to Sam’s: a weekender bag that sold out in less than a month, spicy hatch chile sausages courtesy of Project Zesty and the luxurious Olay Hydrating Moisturizer.

“These stories show the power of our model and how we can delight members,” Megan said.

And speaking of delight, illusionist Justin Flom took the stage to wow the crowd and even spill some tricks of the magic trade.

But we know that Sam’s Club associates work their own kind of magic every day! And that magic translates into success we can quantify. Diana Marshall, chief growth officer, does just that.

Diana applauded associates for their work on Q1 earnings. “Our eCommerce sales were up by 19%,” Diana said. “Many of you impacted this through club fulfillment.”

Next, Diana highlighted exclusive Yellowstone silk touch sherpa reverse throws that launched last year. (Did you know that 90,000 of them have already been sold?) What better way to celebrate than with Yellowstone star, Cole Hauser (pictured above), who plays Rip Wheeler?

A sense of belonging

Lance returned with a two-part call to action:

One: “Take care of your members in the moment.” And two: “Help drive a sense of belonging with your peers. When we all have a sense of belonging, we feel we can better take care of our members,” Lance shared. 

“We want every associate to feel like they belong here,” Lance continued. “That feeling just resonates from associate to member. It all works together to create that special Sam’s Club experience. So, can you help me with that?”

A resounding roar in signature Sam’s Club spirit was answer enough.

40 years of Sam’s Club style

Next, DJ Kirby took us for a stroll down memory lane with a fashion show of associate vests from the past 40 years. A parade of associate models wore Sam’s Club looks from the shiny, black 80s bomber jacket, to the present and even the future: a brand-new reversible vest!

Lance closed out the celebration by inviting the multi-platinum band, Fitz and the Tantrums to the stage. Wishing Sam’s Club a happy 40th birthday, the band put on a high-spirited show matching the energy the celebration began with — a perfect sign for what’s ahead for Sam’s Club.

Follow along all week on Workplace, Walmart World social accounts and don’t forget to follow our event hashtag at #WMT2023. You can also read more about all things Associates Week right here