50 Years of Stories To Share


Teresa Stewart’s 50-year Walmart career was sparked by her teenage goal. 

Teresa Stewart standing in front of a Walmart Supply Chain sign

As senior manager in supply chain, Teresa Stewart has racked up 50 years’ worth of Walmart stories. The first story — the one that launched her journey with Walmart — begins with a teenager’s dream.

In 1974, Teresa had just turned 15 when her father asked if she wanted a car for her 16th birthday. She of course gave an enthusiastic “Yes!” 

His reply? “Great. Here's a job application. You start on Saturday.’”

The job was at Hutcheson Shoe Company in Fort Smith, Arkansas, where both of Teresa’s parents worked. At the time, the company also leased space to sell shoes in Walmart stores but was acquired by Walmart soon after, in 1978. 

Her driving force

Teresa’s wish for a car was the spark that kindled a decades-long career with Walmart. By her junior year of high school, she was splitting her time between school and the office.

“One of my first jobs was opening the mail,” she remembers. “The mail was huge because every store we had — which was probably 150 — was writing down what they wanted to order and mailing it on a piece of paper. I would open it and send it back to the order fillers in the warehouse.” 

Teresa’s willingness to take on challenges drove her career forward. For example, in the early days when many people saw computers as an intimidating obstacle, Teresa saw opportunity.

“In the office, nobody wanted to touch the computers,” she explains. “They were scared. So I said, ‘I’ll do it. I can do anything.’ So I was able to do a lot of things and move up.”

Teresa Stewart sitting at a desk of an office

Making big moves

At first, Walmart’s shoe division didn’t have a replenishment team, so Teresa put one together. In 1995, when point-of-sale replenishment was being automated, Teresa was able to move up to Walmart’s home office, eventually becoming a senior director of replenishment.

In 2017, she made another big move, this time to supply chain.

“I just absolutely love it,” Teresa says, noting she often works with people she previously met in replenishment. “It was a perfect fit for me.”

In her current role, Teresa assists the replenishment team with inventory issues and helps distribution centers problem-solve. 

“They'll reach out because they have something that's either not moving or it's moving a different way,” she explains. She’s also been instrumental in the deployment to Symbotic, an automated inventory storage and retrieval system.

In it together

Change has been a constant through Teresa’s career. Today, 50 years after taking her first job, she says she’s seen many positive changes, from the number of women in leadership positions to the benefits Walmart offers its associates. 

Jordon Morris, director of E2E Capacity Planning and Teresa’s manager, says Teresa’s experience and the relationships she’s built in her time at Walmart are irreplaceable.

“There are a lot of Mr. Sam quotes that Teresa embodies and one of them is, ‘We’re all in this together,’” Jordon says. “She's always training new associates to the company, new associates to their roles or even just outreach in the community. It's a big part of who Teresa is.”

Stories with the best kind of lessons

Teresa’s stories have not gone unnoticed, either.

“She's very good about telling stories from the past,” Jordon shares. “But there's always a message in the stories — how to manage difficult conversations with associates, coworkers, things like that — and she’ll weave it into these watercooler conversations that ultimately helps make you better.” 

Making the folks around her better is just how she rolls. “I love developing people and people on my team.” When it comes to counseling newer associates on working with buyers, she advises, “I always said it's the relationship you build that gives you the right to have the tough conversation.” 

Teresa’s not one for the limelight, but she’ll be celebrated with a gathering in April 2024. There will be balloons, tasty treats and — of course — plenty of stories.

Are you wondering if Teresa got that car? She did! Though they had said she’d have to earn it, Teresa’s parents bought her a 1970 gold Maverick for her 16th birthday. They knew she’d use it to get to her job. But who could have predicted that it would launch a 50-year career?!

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