Tina Budnaitis, the market manager for Market 51 in the Plano-Frisco area of Dallas, Texas, recently celebrated 20 years with Walmart. She was also one of several associates featured in Walmart’s “The Floor Is Not the Ceiling” campaign, which highlights associates with inspiring professional growth. It makes sense that Tina was part of the ad given her path at Walmart. A breakthrough moment in 2016 changed the course of her career, helping her remove the limits—or “ceiling”—on what she considered her strengths and abilities.
Walmart World got a chance to speak with Tina about her career—plus what it was like being in the video.
Walmart World: What was it like to be featured in the campaign?
Tina: It was really rewarding! For me, it was about watching the people beside me light up when they talked about their Walmart career and seeing how many different paths we had all taken and the different experiences we had.
WW: Can you share a memorable moment from your career?
Tina: I was running a mid-volume store and I stepped into the market HR role. I honestly thought I would spend my entire career in the HR world. But I had a regional manager who took me aside and said, “Hey, I think you should consider being a market manager.” I didn’t think I was good enough to do that.
He said, “You know, I think you're one step away. Why don't you come back and run a high-volume store with high exposure and show me what you can do, so we can get you ready to be a market manager.” It was probably the first time I started seeing the value in me that maybe others already saw.
I look back and think, wow, if he hadn’t had that conversation with me, my career wouldn’t be what it is today!
WW: What do you love about being a market manager?
Tina: There's so many things you could say a market manager does. But for me, it’s all about removing obstacles. It’s about the interactions with associates. I love helping somebody who is maybe frustrated or can’t figure something out. There’s nothing more rewarding for me—to help them unlock, like I experienced in my own career.
I get to help stores by saying, “What's your biggest issue today? And how do I move that speed bump?” Because I truly think that's when we inspire people to do more. And that, to me, is what I love about this job—getting to inspire people to do more or just be good at what they do today and be happier at it.
WW: What do you think makes Walmart a unique place to build a career?
Tina: Walmart is that place that says, “If you want to know and if you’re eager, we’ll teach you.” For me it didn’t matter if I had a master’s degree or if I was a part-time associate—there's something really contagious about that! Through my career, every time I’ve thought, “you know, maybe I’ve done all I can do,” I’ve had that moment, “hey I can learn something new at Walmart!” Walmart says, “no problem, we can teach you that!”
WW: What’s your advice for new associates who want to grow their careers at Walmart?
Tina: Be courageous. Say what you want to do. And be curious. I think people get trapped saying, “I'm only a cashier” or “I only got hired to do this.” I've told people all along the way, no one's going to drag you along and force you to learn something. But if you raise your hand and say, “I want to know more, I want to do more. And I don't know how to go about that” or if you just ask a lot of questions and say, “Hey, how does that work and why does it work that way” and continue to learn, you could do anything you want to do at Walmart.
Tina’s passion for removing obstacles applies to more than helping stores—it started from within herself. Someone helped her see her potential, and she learned that she was up to the challenge of branching out. Let Tina’s story empower you to remove whatever career “ceiling” you may have. Raise the roof and aim high!