22 | CITISCAPES | JUNE 2019 INSIDER | BY N A N C Y P E E V Y | P H OTO S C O U R T E S Y O F WA L M A R T ( F R O M 2 0 1 8 M E E T I N G) very year, on the first Friday of June, a very special gathering takes place in Northwest Arkansas. Perhaps the granddaddy of all reunions at 13,000 people strong, the Walmart Shareholders Meeting brings together Walmart associates from all over the world. “Everyone at Walmart looks forward to this unique opportunity to celebrate our associates. The meeting becomes almost like a family reunion, with associates coming from across the country and all over the globe. It’s a chance for associates to connect with their peers, celebrate their successes and gear up for the year ahead,” said Tara Aston, Walmart’s senior manager of national media relations. Associates travel to Northwest Arkansas from all over the United States and from 30 countries, including China, India, Japan and the United Kingdom. Between them all, they speak six languages. Store leadership typically selects associates to come to the event, and the week is an opportunity for the company to show its appreciation and gratitude for a job well done. For many, the trip means their first plane ride or their first time to travel far from home. “This is definitely a chance to celebrate our associates and make sure they know that they’re the backbone of the company and we couldn’t do this without them,” said Raven Washabaugh, Walmart’s manager of U.S. communications. Most associates will arrive on Monday, June 3, and enjoy a week of events planned just for them, ranging from associate meetings to a vendor product expo. They will be immersed in Walmart’s heritage as they tour Bentonville’s Walmart Museum, the site of Sam Walton’s first store. “A lot of people have a very emotional connection to the five and dime, just seeing Sam Walton’s vision come to life and knowing they’re a part of it,” Washabaugh said. The planned visit to Walmart’s Home Office gives home office associates a chance to connect with the attendees. E Host Jamie Foxx dances on stage with Walmart associates. Doug McMillon, president and CEO of Walmart Walmart’s Annual Shareholders Meeting: A Giant Reunion, Full of Fun