Nine years ago, Manuel Barrantes emigrated from Managua, Nicaragua, the second-poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
“Growing up wasn’t always easy,” he said. “We didn’t have a lot, but my mom always managed to give us a place to live and have food every day. At an early stage, I started to understand the importance of hard work and education.”
At 18, Barrantes left his family to attend Harding University in Searcy after receiving aid from the Walton International Scholarship Program. In 2017, he earned bachelor’s degrees in business management and economics, got married and started his Walmart career as an hourly employee at the home office in Bentonville.
After graduation, he’d planned to return to Nicaragua, but a civil war prevented that trip. Without a job or knowing anyone in Northwest Arkansas, he took a leap of faith and moved to Bentonville. His goal was to work for the company that supported his education.
Since joining Walmart five years ago, the company has promoted Barrantes five times. After his initial role, he joined Sam’s Club, the company’s wholesale division, and worked in e-commerce leadership roles.
He led the launch of grocery delivery strategic growth and operational improvements for Sam’s Club by providing training across processes, partnership with technology and product and driving simplification and enablement within the team and cross-functionally. He collaborated with senior leaders to develop a club fulfillment strategy for 2022. He also supported the launch of curbside pickup at all clubs and shipping from club to select areas.
“We quickly adapted every year while I’ve been here to provide the best experience for our customers, and I think we continue to do that,” he said. “That’s where I feel we’ve been very successful, and we’re going to continue to do that to be customer and member champions.”
In April, he was named to his current role, focusing on merchandise and digital customer experience. He oversees four employees and leads teams cross-functionally across Walmart.
He looks forward to being a father this year, supporting his family here and in Nicaragua, and giving back to his community. He previously earned a United Nations award for starting a program in Nicaragua that helped impoverished communities have a sustainable income.