'You will make a difference': Community Giving leader on her ‘why’

By Erin Mackey, Manager, Community Giving

I started my career with Walmart as a care-free teenager looking to earn more cash than babysitting was paying in those days.

It was the ‘90s, and my “why” was simple - to buy some brand-name clothes!

After my family moved to Ontario, I ended up landing a job in Corporate Affairs. We were a small team and my job was to do whatever was needed, including supporting Community Giving.

Around the same time, my mom was diagnosed with cancer for the first time.

I remember thinking it was so unfair that my mom and family had to endure such a thing.

That year, Walmart took me to Florida for the Children’s Miracle Network telethon. It was the first time I had ever had the chance to meet the Champion children and their families.

I attended an event where the Champions autographed my book of their stories. Each family would say which state or province to flip to in my book and the child would sign their name on that page.

One family with two sons told me the name of their state and when I flipped to that page, there was a photo of a little girl.

I thought I heard the state incorrectly before one of the boys spoke up and said, “She was my sister. She didn’t make it, but she loved ladybugs so we’re giving out these ladybug stickers in her honour.” The parents told the Walmart group how thankful they were for all we did to support Children’s Miracle Network.

That’s when my “why” changed.

I learned:

  • Perspective – My mom’s cancer prognosis was very good. What my family was going through was nothing compared to what this family was enduring.
  • Purpose – Until then, Walmart was just another job until I figured out what I wanted to do with my life. I learned that Walmart’s efforts truly made an impact on the lives of so many and that there was an opportunity to do more.
  • Pride – I realized that I worked for a company that makes a difference for people in their time of need. That really spoke to my personal values.

I tell everyone I know I have the best job in the company. Every day I see a “win” that will positively impact Canadians.
When I first joined Corporate Affairs, Walmart raised and donated just over $1 million a year for Canadian organizations. Last year, we raised and donated more than $60 million.

Earlier this year, Walmart Canada was named Children’s Miracle Network’s 2020 Canadian Corporate Partner of the Year – another huge milestone for our company.

Now that I’m married and have kids of my own, my “why” has changed again.

I can do good as the Manager of Community Giving, but I also need to do good as a person. I strive to set a good example for my family by seizing those teachable moments with my kids to instill purpose, perspective and pride.

We spend time reading and watching the Children’s Miracle Network Champion stories together, which always makes my husband cry. My kids donate their old toys and clothes to The Salvation Army, a percentage of their allowance goes to charity and they volunteer their time.

I want to create a family culture of intentionality so my kids learn empathy and kindness to one day help spark change in the world.

And my mom? She’s a two-time cancer survivor and the strongest person I know.

If you can, please donate to your local children’s hospital to ensure kids have access to the best health care possible.

You will make a difference – I’m fortunate to see it every day.

(Pictured above: Erin with her two daughters, volunteering in their community)