Oriana’s Playbook: 9 Strategies for Success at Walmart

Women of WMW

How to embrace obstacles and make the impossible possible.

Oriana Fantasia posing in front of a Walmart Supercenter store front

Oriana Fantasia-Rodriguez thrives on challenge. She and her family moved from Venezuela to Michigan when she was 16, and Oriana didn’t speak any English.

That didn’t slow her down though. Oriana challenged herself to learn the new language, so she could go to college. But after earning her degree in Business Administration and HR, she found herself working in recruiting and discovering it was not her passion.

Then, at a job fair of all places, she found Walmart. With no retail experience, she took a chance and applied to be an assistant manager trainee.

Now, 10 years into her career, Oriana is store manager of Store 5612 in downtown Houston — her second store. When she arrived, it was considered a challenging store, with high turnover and low morale.

Why did Oriana take on the challenge? “I want to continue growing with the company, and I knew I could make the impossible possible,” she explains. “I embrace difficult times in a positive way.”

With hard work and hands-on leadership, she has led a dramatic turnaround in under two years. Oriana says store turnover is down about 30%. “When I got here, associates were leaving and there was no succession plan,” she recalls. “Now people want to be part of the team.”

We asked Oriana to share how she thrives in challenging circumstances and her tips for succeeding at Walmart.

Here’s what she shared:

  1. Value Your Team. “Without your team, you cannot do anything,” Oriana says. Team morale in her store was low when she arrived. By improving communications and listening to concerns, the store worked together to fix problems. “My associates are there for me. We can make the impossible possible. Nothing can stop us!”
  2. Push Yourself. “I always push myself and my team to do more and more,” she says. “We motivate each other to be the best version of ourselves.”
  3. Stay Positive. “I love coming in to my team. No matter if it’s a good or bad day, we keep a positive mindset,” Oriana shares. “I love what I do. Being a store manager, you can make a difference in a lot of people's lives. I love making an impact every single day.”
  4. Ask Questions. “Don't be afraid to ask ‘Why?’ And if you're still not sure, keep asking. Sometimes we get shy or embarrassed — but don't do that. Ask questions!”
  5. Dream Big. “Be confident and set your goals. What are your plans? Where do you want to be? Dream big! There is never the ‘right time,’” Oriana explains. “I wasn't sure that I was ready to be a store manager. You will never know everything or feel 100% ready. So, just put your heart and mind into the challenge and learn along the way.”
  6. Mentor. “I mentor a group of female Walmart coaches via Zoom,” Oriana shares. Guiding others can help you remember how far you’ve come and give you the satisfaction of watching others succeeding.  “I am there to guide them and answer questions or concerns. I want to be an example because if I can do it, anybody else can.”  
  7. Compete Toward a Good Cause. “My fiancé, Jeremy Butler, is also a store manager. We get competitive about who has the best sales,” she explains. “It's always fun in our home, competing with each other to make Walmart better.”
  8. Be Present. “Make sure when you're at work, you’re at work. And when you're home, you're home. Identify your priorities” Oriana advises. She and Jeremy are loving parents to Jeremy’s niece, who they adopted after his sister passed away. “My adopted daughter, who is 16 years old, has taught me a lot.”  
  9.  Walmart Supports Women. “Women have so many opportunities at Walmart. We have amazing support and so many leaders to look up to. The sky's the limit!” Oriana says. “You don't need to have every skill — Walmart will teach you and help you grow. All you need is a vision and hard work to get where you want to be.”

“I'm so happy that I chose Walmart as my career,” Oriana says. “It's been really good for me and my family.”

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