Forty Under 40: Carmen Kingston

by Talk Business & Politics ([email protected]) 1,426 views 

Carmen Kingston, 34, counts Sam’s Club vice presidents Rita Seckington and Sharon Orlopp among her biggest mentors, but Big Bird, Fred Flintstone and Kenny Rogers are up there as well.

When Kingston became the first among her six siblings to leave Mexico for the United States at age 18, she brought a love of retail and a degree in business administration but barely spoke English.

Within a year, she was coversational in the language thanks to a steady diet of cartoons and country songs, and by 1996 she earned a job on the spot when she interviewed with the fledgling international division of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. She joined Sam’s Club in 2001, moving from marketing to compliance to operations.

Originally from Torren, an education hub and the center of northern Mexico’s medical institutions, Kingston was the first of her family to not enter that field. Her mother planned on recycling the textbooks her siblings used and allowed Kingston to attend business school if she bought her own books.

Kingston, who began her retail career selling ice cream out of her mom’s kitchen at age 7, now continues to grow the e-commerce division at Sam’s. She draws inspiration from her family and co-workers.

“They have put a lot of trust in me along the way,” she said. “Failure is not an option.”