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'You are never just anything': Why the sky's the limit at Walmart Canada

By Nichole Haley, Professional Services District Manager, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and half of Nova Scotia

I was in my late teens. I graduated from community college with my pharmacy assistant certificate.

I had been working at my local pharmacy for about a year. I enjoyed what I was doing. I was learning a lot. I thought I would always be a Pharmacy Assistant.

One day, a senior executive approached the pharmacy counter and asked me if I could recommend something for her allergies. I said, “Oh no, I can’t. I’m just a Pharmacy Assistant.”

I’ll never forget the words she said to me.

“You’re never just anything. You’re never just a pharmacy assistant. To somebody, you are everything. You can be everything.”

From that point on, I made it my mission to become an expert within the pharmacy.

I worked in the dispensary. I took care of customers. I showed them how to properly use devices and helped them fix issues with drug plans. Unless it was something that needed to be prescribed or recommended by a pharmacist, I did it. I wanted to do it all.

I became hungry to do more. Shortly after, I became a Pharmacy Specialist so I could learn more about central pharmacy operations and continued to grow my career in pharmacy operations.

Five years ago, I joined Walmart Canada and I’m so happy with my decision. Today, I am proud to be Walmart Canada’s Professional Services District Manager for New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and half of Nova Scotia. I oversee 23 pharmacies and 12 vision centres, but I am not a pharmacist or an optician.

Early in my career, I always knew if I got a pharmacy district manager job, I could do it. I would deal with all the challenges as a non-pharmacist as they came.

In the beginning, pharmacy associations and colleges were quick to point out that I wasn’t a pharmacist. It was tough at times, but I never gave up. I still attended industry meetings. I inserted myself on calls. I put myself out there.

A leader is a leader no matter where you put them. If you can learn the business, you can be a great leader.

It also helps to have coaches and direct reports supporting you to help grow your confidence.

What I love about Walmart Canada is the diversity within our teams, in professional services, in stores and throughout the business. We have merchants who are market leaders, pharmacists who are directors of merchandising. They are associates like me who worked their way up into leadership roles.

At Walmart Canada, we recognize talent. We see value in associates looking to do more in the organization. A lot of our great leaders today started their careers in stores as hourly associates.

I always tell my associates if they want to do more, they can do more. There are lots of opportunities.

Be brave. Be bold. Put your hat in the ring. Dare yourself to do more.

You’re never just. If you can look at you career this way, the sky’s the limit!