Forty Under 40: Ashley Knight

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Ashley Knight was dead set on attending medical school.  A native of Dermott, she graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello with a biology degree and was looking at medical schools — but she couldn’t reach certainty about her decision.

She decided to get a temporary job, and in 2002 took a position with Wal-Mart.

Knight soon realized she loved merchandising and figuring out how to serve shoppers, and she even found her science background useful. She worked a few years as an entry-level buyer’s assistant before learning she would be sent through buyer training.

“The senior buyer in large furniture changed jobs, and leadership took a risk on me; they gave me a six-month trial, and they believed I could do it,” she explained. “I had the privilege of working with some amazingly talented people at Walmart.”

After six years with Walmart and several more with oneCARE and W.C. Bradley Co., Knight joined The Harvest Group, where she drives business strategies to help small- to medium-sized companies manage their business with Walmart. She now leads and develops other team members.

“At Harvest you get to bring your whole person and live in an authentic way. It’s a unique environment that emphasizes the depth of relationships,” Knight said.

Knight said she was raised by parents with a strong work ethic.

“My mom has a servant’s heart, and my parents sacrificed throughout my whole life for us.”

Competitive and active, Knight has coached youth T-ball for her sons and is PTA president for the Bentonville Preparatory School.