Becky Schmitt On the Book That Helped Her Grow As a Leader

Walmart’s Senior Vice President of Global People shares the last time she felt burned out and the quote that gives her strength.

When you have the opportunity to ask some of the most interesting people in the world about their lives, sometimes the most fascinating answers come from the simplest questions. The Thrive Questionnaire is an ongoing series that gives an intimate look inside the lives of some of the world’s most successful people.

Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?
Becky Schmitt: I drink 16 oz of water.

TG: What gives you energy?
BS: Being outside and exercising.

TG: What’s your secret life hack?
BS: Dry shampoo. It saves me so much time in the morning. I also have a bag half-packed with things I always need in travel, so I just need to add fresh change of clothes. It helps me be organized and able to come and go quickly.

TG: Name a book that changed your life.
BS: “Riding The Waves of Culture: Understanding Diversity in Global Business.” It taught me that I need to meet people where they are versus. always using my way. Its saved me a lot of time, frustration and helped me grow as a leader.

TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?BS: I do check my phone all day long but many times that’s because I am in meetings or on the road, however I plug my phone in to charge in the bathroom overnight, it does not sleep with me.

TG: How do you deal with email?
BS: I try to keep up every day, but one day a month (usually a Sunday morning) I focus on a clean out, I do not let the growing inbox manage me.

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?BS: I go outside (if at work) and if at home I usually pick up my book.

TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?
BS: Recently, I have been traveling full time and I have not been sleeping or exercising well, I have just put myself on a travel ban for 4 weeks to reset myself.

TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?
BS: I like to talk about things, so if I failed and it could be big or small, I tell my boss/ husband/ direct reports and I ask for perspective on what I could have done better. That process let’s me get past the event.

TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
BS: “Be the change you want to see in the world.”


As Senior Vice President of Global People, Becky Schmitt leads HR for Walmart’s US eCommerce businesses, Global Business Services and enterprise corporate function organizations, with locations throughout the U.S., Central and South America, and Asia. She drives direction and leadership in the areas of talent development and acquisition, change management and organizational design.

Becky has over 20 years of experience in designing and delivering HR solutions across over 50 countries in all aspects of the employee lifecycle. She joined Walmart in 2016 as Vice President of HR for technology and was later promoted to her current role. Prior to joining Walmart, Becky served as Accenture’s North America HR Service Delivery Lead, where she was responsible for all stages of the employee lifecycle for 47,000 employees in over 58 locations. During her time at Accenture, Becky was an HR business partner responsible for the company’s India Delivery centers based in Bangalore, SAP Practice, and Asia Pacific Communications and High Tech Industry. Earlier in her career, Becky held HR generalist roles in Detroit spanning from local campus recruiting and supply and demand management to key executive support in the North America business with global responsibility in leadership development and diversity programs. Becky received her BA from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.