Smart Girl Stories
Judith McKenna
Stories of inspiration from Smart Girl Stories across the globe. Judith McKenna: From Walmart Cashier to CEO of Walmart International

Judith McKenna: From Walmart Cashier to CEO of Walmart International

When you hear about Walmart, the first thing that comes to mind is probably the world’s largest retail chain. However, not everyone knows the name of the woman who is currently leading their international operations. Her name is Judith McKenna, and she has had quite the remarkable journey to get to where she is now. From humble beginnings as a Walmart cashier, she has worked her way up through the ranks to become one of the most powerful women in corporate America. Let’s take a closer look at her life and career and see what lessons we can learn from her amazing achievements.

Judith McKenna – The Early Years

Judith McKenna was born in the UK in 1966 and grew up in the town of Burnley. Her father was a miner, and her mother was a nurse. McKenna attended the local high school and then went on to study law at Hull University. After graduation, she worked as a lawyer for several years before moving to Walmart in 1996. She started out as a cashier in a store in the UK, and quickly worked her way up to become a customer service manager, then a store manager, and then a regional manager.

The Rise to the Top

McKenna’s talent for leadership did not go unnoticed, and in 2009, she was appointed as the COO of Walmart’s United Kingdom operations. During her tenure in this role, she oversaw a period of intense growth for Walmart in the UK, including the acquisition of the major British retailer Asda. In 2014, she was promoted to the role of CEO of Walmart’s Asia division, where she continued to demonstrate her strategic vision and management skills. In 2018, she was named as the CEO of Walmart International, making her one of the most powerful women in the world of business.

Business Philosophy

Throughout her career, Judith McKenna has been known for her focus on the customer. She believes that the key to success in business is to always put the customer first and to continuously listen to their needs and desires. She also places a great emphasis on building strong relationships with employees and suppliers, believing that these relationships are essential for long-term success. Finally, she is a firm believer in innovation, and is always looking for new and better ways to deliver value to customers.

Achievements and Awards

Judith McKenna’s accomplishments have not gone unnoticed. In 2017, she was named as one of Fortune Magazine’s Most Powerful Women in Business and was also featured in Forbes’ list of The World’s Most Powerful Women. In addition to this, she has received several accolades for her work in promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace, including the Women’s Business Council’s Champion of Change award.

Lessons Learned

The story of Judith McKenna is an inspiring one, but what can we learn from her journey? First and foremost, we can see the value of hard work and dedication. McKenna started out as a cashier, but she didn’t let that stop her from pursuing her dreams. Instead, she worked tirelessly to improve herself and her skills, and was rewarded with promotions and opportunities for growth. Second, we can learn the importance of always putting the customer first. For McKenna, this has been the guiding principle throughout her career, and has helped her to build a successful and thriving business. Finally, we can see the power of strong relationships. From her employees to her suppliers to her customers, McKenna has always recognized the importance of building strong connections and treating everyone with respect.

Judith McKenna’s Legacy

Judith McKenna’s story is a testament to the power of hard work, dedication, and a commitment to excellence. From humble beginnings to the top of the corporate ladder, she has demonstrated time and again her ability to lead and inspire others. Her philosophy of customer focus, innovation, and relationship building has served her well throughout her career and can serve as an inspiration to anyone seeking to excel in business or in life. We can all learn from her achievements and strive to be the best versions of ourselves that we can be.

Learn about more inspiring girls on our Smart Girls page, or follow our Instagram page for more stories like this!



Founder, Smart Girl, Survivor, Champion of womens rights and kids rights


Smart Girl Stories shares stories of inspiration from writers across the globe.

We ask each writer to adhere to our Smart Girl Stories pledge. The views expressed in our articles are those of the author and are meant to spark conversation and inspire you. They don’t necessarily reflect the opinions of SmartGirl Stories. We are honored to share their stories, as well as yours. To learn more – visit us here.

Follow Me

Don't be shy, get in touch. We love meeting interesting people and making new friends.