Jacqueline “Jackie” Jones has always encouraged her children to dream big. “Anything you set your mind to, you can do it,” she recently said.
Aug. 31, 2015 was a day of celebrations for her, and proof that she lives by those words. Not only was it the day she helped set up a new Walmart e-commerce fulfillment center in Atlanta, it was also her 20-year anniversary with the company.
Just over 20 years ago, Jackie was a newly single mother working two jobs, and they weren’t providing what she needed. The roles were full of busy work and kept her from spending time with her two kids – the most important part of her life.
“I had to find a balance,” she said. “Do what I needed to do, but still give them the time they needed.” Those were challenging days for Jackie. The two jobs were consuming her time, and she found herself needing to live with her mom for a while. Around that time, a friend of Jackie’s mentioned she was applying for a job at a Walmart return center in Macon, Georgia, and Jackie decided on a whim to go with her.
The next week, Jackie got a call with a job offer.
“It was the first door opening to really turn my life around,” she said. “It made a huge difference working a steady job with the same times every day. I was able to enjoy my kids’ presence.”
The advantages didn’t stop there. She had the opportunity to earn extra money by working overtime, and the flexible schedule allowed her to pick and choose when she was available. Before long, she was able to move into her own apartment, and eventually buy her own home.
As she got settled in her first role as a freight processor in the electronics department, she noticed the more time she spent there, the more she liked it. She said that was a result of the people, who were always willing to help others. Five years into her career, Jackie recalled watching her manager, Jan Hemby, hitting her 20-year anniversary. “I can do that,” Jackie said she thought to herself. “Little did I know that I was building my own career at Walmart.”
Fast-forward 20 years and now Jackie is the one who’s celebrating, having been promoted several times from team lead to supervisor to manager to her current role as area logistics manager at the new fulfillment center.
She hasn’t stopped dreaming. She thinks about one day going into operations management or moving into a position that will involve traveling and experiencing more of Walmart – and the world – on a new level.
In the meantime, she continues to grow by giving back to her community and helping others. Through Walmart’s Volunteerism Always Pays program, she has cleaned up parks and recreation centers, worked at food banks and walked to raise money for breast cancer research and survivor support.
It seems she’s instilled the same morals in both of her kids. They grew up supporting a local Angel Tree each holiday season, and today her daughter is a nurse and her son is a church youth director.
Jackie held back tears while she talked about the last two decades. “These are just tears of joy because I made it,” she said. “If the opportunity came again, I would do it all the same.”