In life, Shelby Lewis lived by a motto based on a quote from the movie “We Bought a Zoo.”
“All it takes is 20 seconds of courage and I promise you something phenomenal will come out of it” are the words that made her stronger.
Whether she opted for a supervisory position or a leadership role for Walmart, she kept that in mind, and the positivity paid off as she got a chance to move up the ladder.
In 2021, she was given the opportunity to take the next step and become a store manager at Walmart Supercenter in Seymour.
Again, it took 20 seconds of courage to make the decision to apply, and she did and was offered the job and accepted.
She didn’t know she had made history.
Walmart has been in Seymour since 1987 and one man has always been the store manager. Marty Land was the first manager, followed by Chuck Cornelius, Steve Horsch, Steve Reynolds, Randy Ward, John Taylor and Sean Murphy.
In May 2021, Lewis became the store’s first female manager.
“I don’t have any daughters. I actually have two sons, but I have a niece,” the 36-year-old said.
“My dad always pushed (her and her two sisters) and he said you can be anything you want to be. You just have to go out and work for it,” she said. really took that to heart and I really want to be an example not only to my niece but also to people’s daughters, people’s granddaughters that yes you can be successful and not necessarily have a college education. just working for it.
It only takes 20 seconds of courage, self-belief and having a support system, Lewis said.
“My husband still works for Walmart. He’s an overnight coach and he’s been a really big driving force,” she said. “He’ll always be like, ‘Shelby, you’re already doing the work. Stop holding yourself back. You mean more to people than you think. You mean more to associates than you think.
According to Walmart, 55% of its associates in the United States are women, 46% of company management are women, 58% of hour-to-hour promotions went to women, and 46% of leadership promotions went to women.
Lewis, who is in her 19th year at Walmart, said she considers herself lucky to work for a company that offers opportunities for advancement.
Her family moved around a lot when she was younger because her father was serving in the US Navy, but once he retired and they settled in the same place, she landed her first job – White Castle. – at 15.
After two years there, she moved to the new Walmart Supercenter in New Albany. Her mother was working there at the time and encouraged her to give it a shot. Remember, all it takes is 20 seconds of courage.
“When I was at White Castle, I felt like I was there, I did that, I got the t-shirt,” Lewis said. “I actually remember standing over the fryer, I think I was 17 or maybe 17 and a half, and I was like, ‘I don’t want to do this anymore. My mom had been working at Walmart for almost a year at that time. She said how awesome everyone was, how good the store manager was and how much she loved it.
Lewis worked in the pet department for about a year, then became a cashier and worked in the service desk before moving into a supervisory position. She went from customer service manager to home department manager to electronics department manager.
An area manager position was introduced, and she held it in the front of the store, then in electronics. Then she got a promotion to payroll manager.
Not only was the New Albany store special to Lewis for giving him a start at Walmart, but it became a family affair.
“During that time my mother was working there, my sister was working there, then my last day was my youngest sister’s first day, so for one day my father’s three daughters all worked in the same building,” Lewis said. .
Going further, she met the man who later became her husband at the store, as they were both area managers.
After leaving the New Albany store, Lewis served as assistant store manager in Clarksville for two years and co-manager in Corydon for two years before returning to New Albany as store manager for about three years.
Once the position of store manager opened up at Seymour, Lewis jumped at the chance as his goal was to advance as high as possible.
“When I applied and was selected to be one of Corydon’s co-managers, I really, really enjoyed working with people and teaching, training, supervising and mentoring them,” Lewis said. “I loved that aspect, and I think in the first year as co-manager I really thought, ‘OK, this is something I could do for a long time. “”
As a store manager, she was essentially a store manager in training.
“When I went back to New Albany there for about three years, I always looked up to other managers throughout my career and really appreciated them, and I wanted to be that for somebody,” said Lewis.
She also attributes her success to a women’s leadership program within the company that was spearheaded by her current market manager who oversees southern Indiana and Kentucky, Toni Rodriguez. In 2014, she and other female Walmart associates were invited to participate in the BOLD program.
“We talked about different things – what it means to be a female leader, women tend to only promote if they think they know the whole role, just the differences between being a male leader and being a female leader,” Lewis mentioned.
At the time, Lewis said she knew she could be an assistant manager because she could lead a small group of people, but taking the next step was really scary.
After hearing from guest speakers, Lewis was empowered and realized she needed those 20 seconds of courage.
“When I applied for the co-manager job, I went back and forth with myself, like, ‘What about that? What about that? What about your kids? what about time at home?” she said. “I was like ‘Twenty seconds of courage’ and I applied for this, I didn’t think I’d get it and I was very surprised when I got it.”
She was also influenced by her store managers in Corydon and New Albany, who were both women.
“Just working with them and having them as a mentor and learning and teaching, that also helped along the way,” Lewis said.
Since then, she has been passionate about paving the way for future business and community leaders.
“I love seeing people win, and I love being able to help people, and not only help associates advance their knowledge, advance their careers, but also be able to help the community and get involved. in the community,” she said. . “I love seeing associates grow, and I love when everything falls into place and being able to motivate them to take the next step, to be better.”
Seymour associates gave back to the community by participating in the recent Night to Shine drive-in parade at Seymour Christian Church, and the store sponsored the County Chamber of Commerce’s Teacher of the Year awards. Jackson. Lewis attended the awards dinner to help introduce them.
“I wanted Walmart to mean something more than just a place where you can go and buy groceries,” Lewis said. “I really wanted us to leave our mark in the community and wanted to be more than just a Seymour Walmart store manager. I want it to mean something more, to let the community know that we are here, we see and we are here to help.
The store has also held associate-led fundraisers for the Humane Society of Jackson County and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library of Jackson County.
“We have a few other things up our sleeves. We have things that we are planning,” Lewis said.
Also coming up, the store will have a grand reopening in June following a major renovation project.
“The store is going to look brand new. It’s a completely different layout,” Lewis said. “It will be a $5 million investment in the store, in the community.”
Even though her mother and sisters went on to different careers, Lewis said she sees herself as “a lifer” at Walmart.
She’s also proud because her eldest son has just started working at the Clarksville store as a night clerk, and her youngest son works at a grocery store near their home in Sellersburg.
“As soon as he’s old enough and has a car and stuff like that, he might,” she said of the possibility of him also working at Walmart. “He says he won’t, but I’m sure at some point, give him a few more years, he might.”
When it comes to her own career, Lewis realizes she could go even higher. All it takes is 20 seconds of courage.
“I don’t need to stop here,” she said. “Our CEO and COO both started out as hourly associates. I just got back from another training program in Bentonville, Arkansas, home office, and even going to see this, if I wanted to go, I can. If I wanted to transfer stores and move, I could. If I wanted to move up to the upper levels of management, I could definitely do it. It’s just that the possibilities are endless.
To a glance
For information in regards to walmart Supercenter in Seymour, call 812-522-8838 or to visit walmart.com/store/1033 or facebook.com/walmart1033.