Being a mentor and paying it forward is one of the more critical roles of a leader, noted Jill Turner-Mitchael, Sam’s Club SVP health-and-wellness, who hails from Texas and has piloted Sam’s Club’s journey toward becoming a healthcare destination center. “We have to spend time helping mentor the next [generation], not just females, [but] any young people who want to take on big roles and big jobs,” she said. “But I especially think females because [women] can get bogged down in things that our male counterparts don’t tend to get bogged down in, and it helps to have another female walk you through how they got past those issues.”
It comes down to striking the appropriate work-life balance. “In many cases, [it’s] harder for women than it is for most, because we’re moms, we’re wearing multiple hats and I think we put presssure on ourselves to be the very best at work,” she said. “Then you want to come home and you also want to be super mom. ... You have to do a lot of planning, and you have to set rules.”
"We have to spend time helping mentor the next [generation], not just females, [but] any young people who want to take on big roles and big jobs.” Turner-Mitchael grew up on a ranch in Muleshoe, Texas, which she credits for her own strong work ethic. She started as a pharmacy assistant manager at a Kmart in Clovis, N.M., and worked for an independent group called Pro-Med Pharmacies in Amarillo, Texas, before joining Walmart/Sam’s Club.
“I’ve had a ton of great mentors in my career at Walmart,” she said. “We’ve had some outstanding leaders within our company and one of the very nice things about our company is that people are generous with their time, especially as it relates to helping new and young folks who are coming on board.”
Today, as SVP health-and-wellness for Sam’s Club, Turner-Mitchael is responsible for merchandise and operations for pharmacy, optical and hearing centers. She also is responsible for merchandising for the non-food consumables, including pet, paper, laundry, HBA, OTC, baby, table top and trash bags, janitorial and restaurant supplies.
To view the full DSN Women Leaders 2014 report, click here.