An Akron native has been promoted to lead about 800 associates at an Atlanta-area distribution center for Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
It is believed Stacey Hodoh may be Walmart’s first African-American female general manager at a grocery distribution center, Walmart officials said. There are 43 centers in the U.S.
The facility in Monroe, Ga., about 40 miles east of Atlanta, ships fresh produce and other grocery items to 140 Walmart stores, supercenters and Neighborhood Markets. The stores are within a 250-mile radius spread out in parts of six Southeastern states.
Hodoh chose to apply for the position at the Georgia distribution center, knowing it was an underperforming property and would be a challenge, said Brandon Tandy, Walmart divisional vice president of supply chain for the Southeast Division, which covers Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina.
“I admire her desire to take on difficult challenges,” said Tandy, who first met Hodoh when she interviewed for an assistant general manager position at the center. “She put in for a transfer into the Monroe distribution center knowing … she could make a difference.”
Hodoh took advantage of an opportunity when the general manager at the facility was away and she had the opportunity to run the building, said Tandy. That happened during the holiday peak volume season of October through December of last year — the “Super Bowl” for distribution centers, said Tandy.
“She took charge and completely exceeded expectations. She made some very astute moves with the management team. She had an opportunity to shine and exceeded and took advantage of it.”
Tandy promoted Hodoh to the general manager position in February.
Hodoh, 46, said she likes challenges. She has a Six Sigma Black Belt certification, the top level of a process-improvement program implemented by Motorola in the 1980s.
Hodoh said she turned two grocery distribution centers around at a previous employer before she joined Walmart in 2010.
Hodoh grew up in Akron and graduated from Buchtel High School in 1985. She was a standout basketball player for Buchtel. Her family, including her parents, lives in Akron.
After graduating from Buchtel, Hodoh attended both Kent State and the University of Akron, but after four years, didn’t finish school. She got a job in telecommunications, leaving Akron in 1989 to go to the Detroit area, where she also worked in finance and accounting.
Eventually, Hodoh completed her education at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix and also earned a master’s there. She is working on a doctorate there in organizational leadership.
Before joining Walmart, Hodoh entered the grocery distribution industry in 2001. Her first assignment at Walmart was in rural Indiana.
Being a woman in the supply chain and logistics industry — a male-dominated industry — and an African-American woman has had its challenges, Hodoh said.
“Culturally, I was different than my male counterparts. It was sometimes difficult getting heard or feeling included or valued in the organization,” she said. “At Walmart, without a doubt, I feel as though I have a voice and a seat at the table.”
Tandy said Hodoh is readily accepted by her peers “because she’s credible and she’s a good leader.” Tandy said Hodoh works hard to develop herself as well as train and help others.
Hodoh said she’s not sure where her Walmart career will take her, but she’d love to come back to Akron, if given the opportunity.
“Akron is home and I love home. If that presented itself, I would certainly probably jump all over it,” she said.