Reign On: This Walmart Marketing Director Details Her Rise Through The Ranks

For over 10 years, Ciara Anfield has climbed the ranks at Walmart, the biggest retailer in the world. Serving as the Senior Director of Experiential Marketing at Walmart, Anfield is responsible for in-store media, as well as visual merchandising and retailtainment of seasonal and general merchandise in stores stateside. You can thank her when your local store is decked out for Christmas or when you bring your kids to an event that lets them try out the latest toys.  “It’s rewarding, challenging, and humbling all at once,” says Anfield. 

Becoming a strategic and authentic visionary for a global brand takes a lot of support and queenly Black girl magic. Here Anfield details her storied career and what has influenced her during her rise. 

ESSENCE: What is your experience being a leader at Walmart? 

Ciara Anfield: Rewarding because everything you do has the potential to impact so many people. I love hearing feedback from my extended family back home on events that they’ve attended and programs they’ve seen at their local Walmart. Challenging in that Walmart is not the kind of place where you rest on your laurels. If you’ve had a great year, the expectation is that you’ll do things even better the next year. There is always room for improvement. I love that attitude and I believe it’s what has helped drive long-term success for the organization. And it’s humbling to be a leader at Walmart because our culture is one of servant leadership. In our environment my role is essentially to make it easier for my team to do their jobs more effectively. 

ESSENCE: Being a Black woman, what are you some things you experience at a senior level that are unique to you

Ciara Anfield: One thing that I notice as a black woman in my role is that I’m the only Black woman in the room more often that I probably should be. That’s why I’m glad Walmart is leaning into opportunities like this one in partnering with ESSENCE to attract more excellent, diverse talent.

ESSENCE: How does the organization help foster your success?

Ciara Anfield: Walmart is a meritocracy. Being in an environment that recognizes and rewards talent and performance has helped me to progress in my career. Walmart is also pro-mentorship. I’ve benefitted immensely from opportunities that I’ve had to be mentored and to mentor others. So many leaders are willing to give of themselves and their time to develop others, because it’s a value that is important to our organization.

Walmart also has excellent leadership development programs that I’ve been able to participate in over the years. They help to broaden your perspective outside of your functional area and give access to leaders across the organization which helps to give insight into current initiatives and key decisions.

ESSENCE: Specifically, who or what has influenced you directly as you rose through the ranks and established your career?

Ciara Anfield: Five things: My faith and praying for God’s guidance at the various junctures in my career to make sure that I am following where He leads me. The example of other authentic women leaders. My 2 daughters and showing them that they can excel in their careers and have a family. The support of my husband and family who have always encouraged me to reach my full potential. And having a strong network of positive, ambitious, like-minded women of color to inspire, challenge me and keep me informed.

ESSENCE: Did you set your sights on your current success at an early age? 

Ciara Anfield: I don’t recall ever defining “success” as having reached a particular level or role.  For me it’s more about being able to enjoy what I do and quality of life for me and my family.  Aside from that, with regard to career progression, my goal has always been to prayerfully and faithfully follow the path on which I am being led, and to accomplish my mission with excellence and integrity every step of the way.

ESSENCE: How do you hope your presence and work will impact the company currently and for years to come?

Ciara Anfield: Retail is very dynamic. The functions that we are doing in marketing today look significantly different from where our focus was when I started 10 years ago, so I fundamentally believe that people and the culture we foster through people will outlast any work. That’s why, if there’s one area where I hope my presence will impact the company for years to come, I would want that impact to come through the people I’ve worked with, the individuals that I’ve developed and the associates that I’ve inspired.