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Marty Esarte joined Walmart in 2006 after a successful stint in marketing with Specialty Brands and the Clorox Company. What Esarte brought to the multinational retail corporation is a certain drive – centered on hard work and education – that he’s not only tried to instill in company associates and others, but also his own children.

“From my standpoint, I’m trying to get my children exposed to many different things through travel, through our church, and have them interact with folks of diverse backgrounds,” Esarte said, segueing nicely into another one of his edicts – education. “For me, it’s been about education. I was lucky enough to go to Stanford University, and then, while I was with the Clorox company I got my MBA. I think education is vital. We need to challenge ourselves to be experts in what we do every single day.”

“I need to be the best person in private brands. I need to be an expert because it’s important for professionals to have that passion and to continue to be curious,” he said. Esarte joined the company ten years ago as director of marketing. He was promoted in 2009 to vice president of marketing, and in 2013, Esarte landed his current position as vice president of Private Brands Food for Walmart USA.

“Ten years at Walmart have been a highlight for me. It’s an exciting time to understand and have the opportunity to resolve situations that were once problems, and identify new services and products that can help Walmart’s brand.”

Once, while coaching his young son, he received some sage and timely advice that he wouldn’t forget. “Someone said that a really good coach doesn’t tell a kid when they do something wrong, they tell them when they do something right,” Esarte explains. “So, I’ve continued to recognize people when they do something well because it’s really important.”

Esarte has also enjoyed being a part of the advocacy and inclusion efforts focused on Hispanic associates at Walmart and their communities. “What we’ve done here and under Gisel Ruiz has been amazing, and the Hispanic Officers Caucus has been very valuable.”

The Hispanic Officers Caucus led to a Hispanic Forum aimed at developing the Hispanic talent pipeline at Walmart, and in 2015, more than 400 of the company’s top Hispanic associates and others gathered at a strategy session. “That has been key in creating awareness throughout the organization,” Esarte said. “The forum was a great event, and it was an opportunity to network and help Hispanic associates develop skills that will help them succeed.”

To become a leader in corporate America, specifically for Hispanic professionals, Esarte said individuals must be authentic. “You have to be who you are, that matters, and that’s so important for Hispanics. There are high expectations that customers have of us, so having high integrity is also critical, and there must be a willingness to do the right thing for the customer.”

Holding a bachelor’s of science in industrial engineering and an MBA from the Hass School of Business, Esarte reiterated the importance of education. As a fourth grader, Esarte said he got a rare opportunity to visit Stanford with his father. That visit led to his desire to attend the prestigious school, a goal he’d ultimately succeed in accomplishing. Because Hispanics are increasingly important for the future of America, Esarte said his message for individuals who are raising the country’s future leaders is both simple and complex.

“It’s important to focus on things you really love. For me, it was that chance to go to Stanford when I was in the fourth grade. It wasn’t a master plan for my father, it was about free tickets to a game, but to me, it was a life-changing opportunity. This is what people can do.”

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