By Chloe Riley
When a passion for technology ignited in a high school course on web development, LaToya Green (BBA 02) knew that was the career path she was destined to take.
Initially introduced to Walmart’s technology division through the Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP) chapter at Ole Miss, selecting Walmart out of three other companies visited by AITP for an internship opportunity wasn’t a hard decision. She completed an internship with Walmart Technology in 2001.
Green’s success in her internship paid off. After graduating from the University of Mississippi in 2002, Walmart offered her a full-time position in the IT Security organization as a developer – the beginning of the Oxford native’s 14-year long career in technology with Walmart.
“I did development from 2002-08 and progressed upwardly through the development ranks,” Green says. “Once I got to the senior developer [level] with technology, I made the choice of going down the path of technical leadership. I knew I wanted to get into leadership, [but] it was about finding the right time.”
Her work in technology didn’t go unnoticed. In 2003, she was awarded Walmart’s coveted Genesis Award, a distinction that recognizes new employees who are high achievers and perceived to have high potential.
“They only gave that out to 5-10 people at the time in our technology division, which was probably a few thousand employees,” Green says.
The following year Green was named an “All-Star Achiever” at the Women of Color in Technology conference for a complex IT security project she delivered. The conference showcased companies and women in technology from across multiple industries, with Green being the sole Walmart employee recognized that year.
“The award was for some of the work I did in development in IT security,” Green says. “We built a new system that made it easier to bring on new hires into the company – it made it easier for building the accounts, giving them access and allowing them to hit the ground running. It was giving them the ability to be productive literally on day one by having the appropriate system access.”
Besides her success in the IT world, Green says it is delivering solutions for customers that continue to fuel her passion for technology.
“Because of where I am and what I’m working with every day, it’s the reward of seeing all of the customers levering our systems,” she says. “We have millions of customers a day, so every system change could greatly impact the customer that is trying to get all [of their] groceries through, and when you have to re-scan everything, that’s a bad experience. Enabling them to get through the line quickly from a system perspective without any issues or challenges is rewarding to me.”
Although she doesn’t work face-to-face with Walmart’s customers, Green is still able to have a direct impact on them. As she has moved through the ranks to her current position as a technology director, she is able to continue making life easier for Walmart’s customers.
“I love the direct connection with our customer base and that I get to work in technology at the same time,” Green says. “I get to do what I love and also help others and lead a wonderful team of associates here who are doing brilliant things, and it’s exciting.”
In addition to being passionate about the customer’s experience, Green enjoys showing the next generation the importance of a career in technology.
“It is very important to me [to get] others into the field of technology,” she says. “Working with kids to show them opportunities they have is very exciting and rewarding. We have a huge need for building the pipeline for students graduating and entering the technology industry.”