15:11 PM

Walmart Supervisor Lands Best Job Yet After Completing Certificate Program

Lenita Copple

Lenita Copple is no stranger to embracing change or taking charge, but when it came to moving upward at Walmart, she wasn’t sure. After completing the People and Business Leadership certificate program and taking on a leadership role, she couldn’t be happier with the decision. “This is the best job I’ve ever had,” she said. “I love it.”

Finding New Opportunity with Walmart and Bellevue University

After running a home daycare, homeschooling her kids and owning a cleaning company for many years, Copple and her husband moved from Texas to the Denver area to be closer to their grandkids. She began exploring new career options, and found that she really enjoyed working in sample programs, first at various grocery stores, then at Sam’s Club. However, this was soon cut short by COVID-19.

When Copple was able to get back to work, she began a role as Front End Member Specialist at Walmart. With her husband having Parkinson’s and caring for a grown son with autism, she is the main breadwinner for her family. She considered leadership roles, but didn’t know if she was ready. “I was lacking confidence to take that step, even though I ran my own business for 18 years,” she said.

One day at work, she saw a flier in the breakroom about the certificate program, which is offered through Walmart’s Live Better U program. Live Better U is managed through Guild Education, and Bellevue University is part of Guild’s academic network. “I was excited about free college classes,” Copple said. “I wanted to see if I could get a push to move forward into a leadership role with a big company.”

Exploring a New College Experience After Three Decades

Copple started the program late last year, which consists of two six-week, online classes covering management and leadership.

“In just 12 weeks, students can earn a credential that allows them to show their understanding and ability to apply business management and leadership concepts and practices,” said Assistant Program Director Rebecca Barnes.

Copple had taken some college classes in the past, before online offerings were available. “I had not taken a college class for 30 years,” she said. “It was entirely different in every way.”

Lenita Copple, Club Supervisor, Sam's Club

I do feel like the certificate helped a lot in getting this job. It gave me an edge and, more importantly, helped me be much more successful more quickly.

Lenita Copple, Club Supervisor, Sam's Club

Online learning was a challenge, but also full of opportunity for Copple. She said she got a secondary education in technology along the way. “I wasn’t great with computers but I pushed myself as far as I could,” she said. “I knew I would need to be using computers a lot if I moved into a leadership role.”

Her professor in the program, Andrea Gaylord, knows what it’s like to tackle technology as a non-traditional student. “My first online instructor addressed the fact that some students may be new to online learning, and walked us through certain parts of the program if we needed assistance,” she said. “He was patient and kind. I try to be the same with my students.”

In the class, Copple also got to connect with Walmart associates from across the country. “This is an excellent refresher program for those with extensive experience, as well as a great introductory program for those aspiring to management and leadership positions,” Barnes said.

Comments from her peers, and those from Gaylord, meant a lot to Copple. “My professor was so encouraging,” she said. “She and my classmates told me I would no doubt make a great leader. It gave me so much confidence to move forward.”

Gaylord said the class is structured to help with that confidence. “Each student takes everything they learned and makes a Personal Leadership Plan,” she said. “They create a vision statement for themselves, come up with personal goals and steps to achieve them. This program gives students the confidence to chase their career dreams, or continue their education with a bachelor's degree!”

Putting Her New Knowledge to Work

Within months of completing her certificate, Copple landed the position she really wanted: Club Supervisor for Product Connections. She now runs the entire sample program for her local Sam’s Club store.

“I do feel like the certificate helped a lot in getting this job. I applied once before and they chose someone else,” she said. “It gave me an edge and, more importantly, helped me be much more successful more quickly.”

She uses the lessons she learned almost daily, like business emails and scheduling. “I think back to the class a lot,” she said. “A lot of people quit this job because it’s intimidating, but I hit the ground running.”

“Throughout the program, we use a case study approach so that students can take what they have learned and apply it, thinking about how they would handle different common scenarios they might encounter on the job,” Barnes said. “It's the ‘real learning for real life’ that students expect at Bellevue University. Students tell us they are excited that they can apply what they learn immediately on the job. “

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