Alumna Works with the World’s Largest Retailer

Alumna Works with the World’s Largest Retailer

Your toothbrushes, hair products and other goods have a few stops to make before they make it on the shelf at Walmart. And a PC alum is working in finance at the retail giant to support the warehouses in that process.

Ellyn Alexander ’04 works in the Walmart headquarters as director of supply chain finance. She provides financial support for all of the warehouses in the company’s supply chain.

She plans, forecasts and reports financials on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis.

The warehouses are where suppliers deliver toothbrushes, hair products and other products sold in Walmart stores.

There are nearly 200 warehouses in all. They include regional, grocery, import and specialty distribution centers. And there are return centers too.

That’s a lot of products to keep in order. But Alexander has it all down pat.

A Solid Foundation

She credits her time at PC with providing a foundation for her career today.
“PC’s culture is one that supported me in learning and working differently,” she said. “I gained so much from being in small classes, visiting professors whose doors were nearly always open, and learning from professors instead of teaching assistants.”

Thanks to her time at PC, she’s not afraid to ask questions, even at a large corporation like Walmart.

“There is so much to learn in every role in every company and the easiest way to do that is to continually ask questions and learn the details behind current processes,” she said.

“So many places get comfortable doing things the way they’ve always been done, and having the confidence to question that and propose improvements is where business associates can set themselves apart.”

Alexander majored in political science and minored in business administration and accounting at PC. She went on to earn a master’s degree in accountancy from the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina.

Her liberal arts background from PC has been useful in business, she says.

That includes a strong background in English and flexibility as an employee, which she said she learned while delving into subjects at PC that weren’t necessarily her strongest.

PC Roots

How did Alexander get to PC in the first place?

She admits she has a fair number of graduates in her family, but when she started looking at college, she thought she would go somewhere “big and faraway.”

After a trip looking at other schools “up and down the East Coast,” her dad suggested just driving through the PC campus.

Alexander got out and took at tour instead. After meeting with some students, she says, “I just got a feeling.”

“Every other school we’d visited was ‘good’ and I’m sure I would have been happy but PC just had something about it that, for the first time, made me say, ‘This is it. This is where I want to go,’” she added. “I don’t regret that decision for one minute.”

At PC, she made fond memories – from lunches at GDH, to weekends on campus, and spirited football games.

Even from the offices at Walmart, she also has a forever family back at PC.

“I do love PC! It’s such a unique school and culture that I feel a strong connection to the College and all who have attended and are attending,” Alexander said. “When I went to PC, I didn’t know anyone; now, all these years later, my best friends are ones I made at PC and we still get together annually. Given the size of the school and the surrounding community, your friends become your family and I’m pretty proud of my PC family.”