Women in Business: Kourtney Barrett

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Class of 2022 Women in Business Kourtney Barrett Director; Workplace Mobility Walmart Inc., Bentonville

Residence :Bentonville

Education: B.S., organizational business, John Brown University

Professional background: Barrett has been a real estate entrepreneur and brand builder since she was 18. Her most successful venture is Junk Brands, a nationally recognized, multimillion-dollar athletic headwear company launched with her husband in 2011. They made a successful exit in 2017. The following year, Barrett co-founded Women of Oz NWA, an inclusive nonprofit that aims to lower the barrier of entry for women mountain bikers. Barrett chaired the Greater Bentonville Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors in 2021, and she is a frequent speaker at gatherings of business leaders. Earlier this year, Barrett she joined Walmart’s corporate real estate team to lead workplace mobility efforts for the retailer’s new corporate campus.

What was your dream job as a kid and why? I dreamed of running a big company in a big glass building with a killer view as a kid. The kind of job you need shoulder pads and lipstick for. Why? The lure of importance, power, wealth, I guess. (haha).

What advice can you offer to women who want a career in your industry? Show up, be curious, take action and good things will happen.

What’s the next big personal or career challenge you plan to take on? Right now, I’m focused on changing human behavior. I’ve said “yes” to an opportunity that will positively impact thousands and be transformative to my community’s health and environment. Pretty exciting stuff.

You stay busy professionally. How do you take care of yourself and maintain good mental health? The cadence of my fast-paced life intentionally starts and ends each day still and silent with a beverage of choice. This grounds me. I take time to reflect on the day, enjoy the accomplishments and relax. I get out in nature every chance I can.

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life? Mentorship has been huge for me. There are three men in my life who I would consider mentors at different times. They have guided me from their own hindsight as successful entrepreneurs and helped me avoid common pitfalls. Thank you, Paul Mahan, Burt Hanna and Glen Campbell, for sharing valuable insights and taking your time for me!

What is a leader’s best asset? Communication. “Bad communication ends a lot of good things. Good communication ends a lot of bad things.” — Anonymous

What’s unique about your company’s culture? I’ve only been at Walmart a few weeks, but so far, I would say the culture is very friendly, encouraging with a general atmosphere of excitement and anticipation.

What is something distinctive that people would be surprised to know about you? I tend to have multiple beverages at all times. Something to hydrate, dehydrate, bubble and relax. Four goals, four beverages.

Favorite Northwest Arkansas-area restaurant? Oh, that is too hard to answer. I love to rotate the options.

Most recent book you’ve read? “The Undoing Project” by Michael Lewis, recommended by my colleague Joe Allbright.

If you have a bucket list, what are the top three things on it? Launch another brand, learn a second language, and sail around the world