Maggie is currently an Associate Category Manager at Walmart Canada - after initially being hired into Walmart’s DARE program (a strategic rotational program) upon graduation.
In her first year at the company she built a foundation in store operations, working alongside store associates to understand processes and planning around the execution of the business and understanding customer needs. By year two of the DARE program, she chose the path of a Co-Manager in order to gain people management experience. In that role, she led 3 assistant managers directly and 75 associates indirectly and had P & L (Profit & Loss) accountability for fresh foods and grocery in one of Walmart's Supercentres.
With this experience, she soon moved into the Store Support Centre (i.e. “head office”) and joined two different strategic projects. One was within merchandising and the other within supply chain. In less than 3 years, all of this lead to her current role as an Associate Category Manager in the Health and Wellness division of the business. She is accountable for all aspects of the P & L and financial results as well as working with vendors to negotiate agreements and cost while collaborating with replenishment and all cross-functional teams in the business.
Looking back at when she was considering different universities, she wanted to be in a program that was unique and that spoke to her passions. While she didn’t see herself going into finance or accounting she knew she wanted to go into business, having always been interested in consumer behavior, strategy and working part time in retail.
"What I liked about the program was the size, at the time I believe Ryerson was only accepting 100-110 students, so I liked the idea of being in a more hands on classroom and not just a number in a sea full of students. This really allowed me to remain close to my professors and classmates, which is very beneficial to learn more about other retailers or if you needed help with a reference on a job application."
During her time at Ryerson, Maggie worked for Target and when they announced their exit from Canada it meant the loss of her internship offer. This “real life” experience taught her about facing and overcoming unexpected challenges and be more resilient. The TRSM Career Hub, opens in new window worked with her in developing interview skills and provided support to help land another internship. This really showed that Ryerson is not just a school, it offers an immense community of networks to help you grow into a rewarding career and expands your passion for retail.
A piece of advice she offers future students is to really think about what skills and expertise you want to leave with after graduation. Evaluate and know your own strengths and the value of the experiences or opportunities you can participate in while at school. Think about how you will continue develop your personal skills in various ways and how you may lead others in helping to develop their own strengths too.
Attending university is the best time to learn about yourself and develop good habits such as time management or relationship building, which are extremely important for your career after graduation. It is a great opportunity to take the time to reflect on your experiences, what you may have learned from them and how you have grown.
Someone said early in her career to, “get comfortable with being uncomfortable”.
It has stuck with her to this day and has helped her make some challenging decisions. Everyone will be challenged at some point and it’s important to remember that this can lead to positive opportunities that will help you grow and develop even if you don’t see it right away.