Listening matters: Advice from a 50-year associate

Jan. 7, 2022

2 Min. Read

By Jon Rumley, Walmart Canada Corporate Affairs

After 50 years of being an associate in Edmonton, Donna Batiuk has some advice.

“I was brought up to listen,” the upbeat grandmother says. “Maybe you can’t help, but you’re helping just by listening.”

And when she isn’t listening, Donna is watching. She says she noticed customers pay close attention to Walmart name tags, which reveal how long an associate has worked for the company.

The longtime associate first joined her local Edmonton Walmart at Capilano Mall when it was Woolco store on Sept. 21, 1971.

Fifty years later, Donna says she never thought she would spend so many years in retail, but she’s glad she did.

“I walked through those same doors for 50 years. It feels really good to think that I have accomplished that,” she says.

Donna helps wherever she’s needed on the sales floor. She takes pride in taking care of customers because she likes being around people.

“She’s always helping and training new personal managers,” Store Manager Bart Caputo says. “Her energy is contagious and she is always someone that the associates go to.” 

For this friendly grandmother, that’s just how she was raised.

“The customers do look at the associates’ badges,” Donna says. “I could wear that with pride.”

That’s why handing Donna her 50-year badge was one of the proudest moments of Bart’s 40-year retail career.

“I could not have been happier for her as I know how much that badge meant to her,” the veteran Store Manager says. “Her hand was shaking when we gave it to her. It was an amazing moment.” 

My biggest thing is helping customers and looking after the associates.
Donna Batiuk, Walmart Canada

It’s easy to see why. For Donna, showing up for work every day means more than badges or paycheques — it’s about being there for people when they need it most.

“My biggest thing is helping customers and looking after the associates,” Donna explains. “They really have issues sometimes and they just need somebody to talk to.”

She says things have changed over the years, especially when it comes to technology. But even after 50 years in retail, Donna is not yet ready to retire.

“I enjoy working here,” she says. “I’m stretching for 55 years — I’m going to try!”

This isn’t just a job for Donna – it’s her second family – and she appreciates being a valued member of her team.

“It is a great company,” Donna says of Walmart. “They look after their associates, but they also look after their customers very well,” she continues.

After 50 years in retail, Donna says many things have changed. However, one thing remains the same: Donna’s passion for helping people.

“I like what I’m doing,” she says. “I’m not ready to quit yet. I don’t want to give up.”