Life After Ripon – Karena Schroeder ’15

Chapter 4: A Final Word

[Editor’s Note: Raymond Allen ’15, Karena Schroeder ’15, and Madeline Poullette ’15 are writing rotating monthly entries for the Ripon College Newsletter chronicling their post-graduation experiences. We hope you enjoy their perspectives on Life After Ripon!]


It hardly seems possible that, as of writing this, it is less than a week until yet another wonderfully gifted class of Ripon College will walk across the stage and begin a passage into their next exciting — yet frightening — chapter of life. I am incredibly excited to head back to Ripon to visit and commend many dear friends on such an achievement.

Much has changed since my latest post. Sam’s Club corporate made the decision to go through a restructure in order to shift a bit more of our attention toward our dedicated business members. With the restructure came a brand new position with the title Marketing and Membership Assistant Manager. Although the assistant managers had some say in whether or not we accepted which new position we would be rotated to, my boss made the initial moves without much of our input. It was a very scary situation at the beginning, as my boss assigned me the opportunity to take on this brand new position and shape and form it in whatever way I saw fit. The scariest part of this change was having no prior experience with the membership aspect of the business. I went from dealing with produce and grocery, to dealing with members both inside and outside of the building. It has proven to be the complete opposite of what I was used to, but I sincerely appreciate that my boss trusted me to be able to take on the new challenge.

Last month, I was lucky enough to take a business trip to Tulsa, Oklahoma, and learn about the company’s expectations of my position and how we are able to contribute to increasing the success of Sam’s Club. It was an amazing opportunity, and I was able to hear our CEO, Roz Brewer, and many other influential individuals speak about their experiences as well as the status of the company as it continues to find new ways to grow and improve.

I also experienced a new opportunity when I received an email one day congratulating me on being accepted into the leadership circle of my boss’s boss (market manager). Only eight individuals were selected of the nearly 70 in the market. The acceptance read that the group was for “high potentials” and individuals the market manager felt would move up in the company over the next year or so. Every month, the eight of us meet in the Cities for a meeting with the market manager and market HR director. We spend the day discussing opportunities that will help us move in the right direction with the company, and we are assigned small work assignments that involve improving our individual clubs outside of just our position and generic management duties.

It is an opportunity I am incredibly blessed to be a part of, both by being able to listen to what other high-potential individuals are doing to improve their work, as well as exposure to the market manager and stories of her successes and failures. There is no doubt that I can attribute any leadership skills that I have shown through to Ripon College and my family, and for that I am continuously thankful.

In terms of my free time, I have been enjoying every single moment of sun I can get. I hear it has been a bit warmer here in Minnesota than in Wisconsin, but hopefully — for most of your sakes — it will get sunnier there soon as well! A few weeks ago, I purchased a new bike so I have been loving taking it for a spin, along with roller blading, running, reading by the water, playing with Bambi (my cat) on my deck and really anything that involves being outside! I also have joined a volleyball league that begins soon and have gotten with a few friends to continue to practice my tennis skills, which are still quite rough. I think it is going to be yet another excellent summer of activities and time spent doing the things I love!

As my final update comes to a close, I would like to thank all of you who have taken the time to keep up with my first year of life after Ripon. Please feel free to get in touch, as I love to connect with alumni and current students of Ripon! I hope you are doing well and finding joy in wherever life has you.

All the best,

Karena Schroeder ’15

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