Jerry Brings Out the Best in New Leaders


Jerry brings out the best in new Walmart leaders.

Male associate smiling at the camera with a Walmart store sign as the background

Is a hot dog a sandwich?

That’s one of the first questions you might be asked if you’re in a class led by Jerry Fidler, an academy coach for Area 47 in Topeka, Kansas.

“I start every session with something that gets my students’ minds started — sort of an icebreaker,” he explains. “It creates an open atmosphere so they can learn.” Another favorite question: “If you were a vegetable, what kind would you be — and why?”

The answers tell Jerry a lot about an associate’s personality and learning style.

“I've always loved interacting with people,” Jerry shares. “I learn so much from them and their experiences.”

Though Jerry is relatively new to Walmart — he started in July 2021 — he brings 20 years of leadership experience from his career in the Army. Jerry was a drill sergeant, taught the Army’s Warrior Leader Course (now known as the Basic Leader Course) and led 135 soldiers on deployment.

“Leading people is leading people,” he shares.

Joining Walmart as a veteran was a smooth transition for Jerry. He appreciates the company’s structured environment and commitment to training talent from within. “The resources Walmart puts into the growth and development of associates is impressive,” he notes.

Living for the lightbulb moments

Jerry has a knack for bringing out the best in associates, which helps him develop leadership skills in associates who are new to management roles across 13 stores.

He tailors his coaching style to every associate. “It's not about me. It's about the associates and what they get out of the class,” he explains. “It’s critical to understand that individuals have different learning styles.”

Great coaches can help people achieve things they didn’t think were possible. That’s what Jerry loves about his job.

“I love the lightbulb moments,” he says. “When I’m teaching and all of a sudden somebody says, ‘Aha!’ And they get it. That’s the best!”

Finding service in leadership

During a visit to the Walmart Home Office, Jerry was pleasantly surprised to hear very busy leaders ask, “What do you need from me? How can I support you?”

This example of servant leadership inspired Jerry. “Walmart allowed me to see this different part of leadership, and I really love that part,” he says.

“Whenever I see the hashtag #thisisthatplace, I think about how at Walmart, you can be whatever you want to be, and you can go down whatever road you choose,” Jerry says.

This is that place!

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