Bernard Beale

My Career Path

  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
  • U.S. Coast Guard, Officer Trainee, USCG Boot Camp, NJ
  • U.S. Coast Guard, Officer Candidate School, CT
  • U.S. Coast Guard, Enforcement Division Officer, FL
  • Developmental Co-Manager, Walmart, CA
  • Store Manager, Walmart, CA

What attracted you to look at Walmart as a potential employer?

Every branch of the military has three different beliefs, and every one of the beliefs goes back to people. And with Walmart, it’s all about people too. And that’s why I think Walmart appeals to the military on such a deeper level – because Walmart is all about helping people out. I know that’s why it appealed to me.

What made you decide to start a career with Walmart?

I had an offer from the Motion Picture Association to head up the anti-piracy operations for North America. Then a headhunter who specialized in transitioning military people to civilian jobs told me that Walmart was looking for former military officers. It was a really tough decision because the MPA job is not a job they just advertise – you can’t find it on a website and apply. But when I looked at Walmart, I realized I could train 300-500 associates under me and have the opportunity to run a multi-million dollar business and a $100 million building. It was a bigger impact on an organization and a lasting opportunity. And Walmart just basically aligned with all of my values within the Coast Guard. So when I started breaking it down like that, Walmart became the obvious choice. I could have never told you that this would have happened so fast for me. Within nine months, I was a store manager. I basically skipped two levels.

What about working for Walmart makes you feel like you have an impact?

I think that “Saving people money so they can live better” goes so much deeper than that tagline. When you have situations like fires out in California, and we’re one of the first organizations to go out and respond to that, that’s exactly where I came from in the Coast Guard, helping out with Katrina.

What do Walmart and the military have in common?

Within the Coast Guard, it was my duty to serve, and to develop people under my command. And that’s basically exactly the same thing I’m experiencing at Walmart. Development, to me, is such a huge part of our success. No matter what, it’s about the team. In the Coast Guard, the only way you can go into situations that look impossible is with the larger team. And there’s no way I could do some of the things I do at Walmart without the people I work with.

 

What would you tell transitioning military members about a career at Walmart?

Walmart directly aligns with my military values. It’s a great opportunity to go out and really make a difference that you might not have been able to make in the military. You touch so many people, especially as a store manager. You have 300-500 people looking to you for leadership. That to me is one of the biggest responsibilities. Looking at what the military has to offer and what Walmart has to offer, it’s a very smooth transition.

What do your fellow military colleagues think about the work you do with Walmart?

A lot of my friends and colleagues from the military say, “You’re taking everything we learned in the military and applying it within your organization.” A few are currently trying to get in with Walmart because of my experiences. At Walmart, there are plenty of challenges, and you can go in any direction, from operations to logistics – even aviation. That appeals to a lot of my former colleagues.

What is your life mission?

To reach behind me and pull people up to give them the opportunity that I had. Development of people means a lot to me. I’ve been lucky enough to come into contact with the right people who really believed in me at Walmart.