Compassion. Courage. Determination. Leadership. Insight. Energy. Enthusiasm. These are all important qualities for an individual to have in order to build a successful career in pharmacy. When blended together in just the right quantities, these characteristics produce an individual worthy of winning the Walmart District Manager of the Year Award. This year, that individual is Shannon Griggs, DPh.
Griggs, who currently serves as the Health and Wellness Market manager for market 254 in Oklahoma City, began her career with Walmart more than 13 years ago. She started working for Walmart in October 1995 as a staff pharmacist in Bryan, Texas, shortly after graduating from Southwestern Oklahoma State University. After only 8 months, Griggs was quickly promoted to an assistant pharmacy manager; later, she became the pharmacy manager of the same store after that position was vacated.
Shortly thereafter, however, Griggs requested a transfer back to the Oklahoma City area so that she could be closer to her terminally ill father. Chuck Jones, who was the district manager, facilitated her transfer and placed her as pharmacy manager at store 544 in Midwest City, Oklahoma, where he gave her different tasks to help prepare her to take over her own district. Finally, in December 2002, the Oklahoma City district became available, and Griggs was chosen from more than 20 candidates to take over as district manager.
Initially, it was challenging for her to supervise associates with whom she had worked for the past 5 years. Griggs’ supervisors will tell you, however, that she made this transition very smoothly. Holly Luke, who supervised Griggs as pharmacy divisional manager and is now director of operations for region 26, recognized that Griggs’ team came to have a high opinion of her very quickly. “This is a people business,” said Luke, “and she has a passion for people—not only patients, but also the associates who report to her. She is her team’s biggest cheerleader.” According to Luke, Griggs understands the importance of having the right people on her team. At the same time, she is able to separate herself emotionally from any situation and make difficult decisions—an outlook that has allowed her to accomplish so much in her district.
Initially, Luke and other management personnel were not sure whether the Oklahoma City district would be too much for one person to handle. Of all the districts in 16 states, this was the highest-volume, highest-profile district. Luke stated, “We knew if someone could do it, it would be her.” Luke credits Griggs’ energy level and enthusiasm, which are off the charts, with helping her to accomplish this feat: “Shannon is someone who you definitely want on your team.”
Mike Unruh, RPh, was the pharmacy regional manager when he nominated Griggs for the District Manager of the Year Award. He gave multiple reasons for why he thought she deserved this award: her strong sense of urgency, commitment to excellence, willingness to help whenever needed, and consistently hitting her financial plan.
Griggs was chosen at the corporate level as the top district manager from approximately 230 total Walmart district managers. The award was announced during a Health and Wellness meeting in April—a broadcast was scheduled over Walmart TV to announce the year-ending awards, and Griggs could not believe her ears when she heard her name.
Griggs is appreciative of the award and enjoys working for Walmart: “My career with Walmart has been very rewarding, and I feel it will continue to be rewarding in the future.” Griggs credits several supervisors for helping her get to where she is, including Jones, Unruh, Debbie Mack, Arnie Fox, and David Reitnauer. She also is thankful for her supportive family and her lifelong role model, her mother, who taught her to be strong and independent. “Her biggest piece of advice to me was, ‘treat people like you would want to be treated,’ regardless of the situation,” Griggs explained, and she has always tried to live by that rule and surround herself with exceptional individuals. “I know my name is on this award, but it really is the people that work for me who deserve the award.” ■