From Cart Attendant to Senior Vice President: How Target Sets Leaders Up for Success at Every Level

April 20, 2018 - Article reads in
The Fontana, CA, distribution team celebrates the 35th anniversary of their DC

The moment someone new joins our team, something magic happens: They become part of a legacy of Target team members who grow professionally, take care of themselves and each other and make a difference for our guests and their communities.

At Target, we take great pride in providing our team members with meaningful work and opportunities to build and develop skills for their career. A few examples: We support career development through leadership programs, robust training and tuition reimbursement, including more than $46 million that we’ve invested in tuition reimbursement in the past five years. And we offer competitive pay— including a commitment to pay our team members at least $15 an hour by the end of 2020.

For many, a job at Target is the start of a long and fulfilling career, with opportunities to develop skills, earn more over time, work with new teams and try out new roles. And we support them on their journey, finding new growth opportunities and challenges for them every day. We chatted with four of our leaders who worked their way up through the ranks to hear how they got to where they are now, with a little help from the bullseye.

Juan Galarraga
Senior Vice President, Store Operations

On coming to Target: I received a soccer scholarship when I was 18 years old and moved from Venezuela to the U.S. to go to school here. I planned to come, play soccer, learn the English language and go home. But then I met my wife, who was working at the Target in Boca Raton, Florida, and we fell in love. I used to wait for her in the parking lot every night! A year later, I applied for an executive position at Target. I didn’t get it, but they offered me a team leader job unloading trucks at the Delray Beach store, and that’s where I began my career. To this day, it’s what I’m most proud of and one of my favorite jobs ever. I came in at 4 a.m. to unload trucks, restock shelves and ensure the backroom was ready for business.

His career path: After that first role, I ran two more stores as store team leader (STL), then became a district team leader, then a group director and later group vice president for stores in South Florida. After that, I moved to headquarters as vice president of new business development and later healthcare operations. Then I moved on to become vice president of supply chain and flexible fulfillment in stores, and eventually moved into a role as senior vice president of Target stores in 17 states in the upper and Midwestern U.S. before taking on my current job.

On his current gig: I have the coolest job, because I get to represent over 300,000 team members in our stores, to be their voice and also work on every new company initiative.

Juan and his team in a storeHow Target helped him get there: I wouldn’t be where I am today if Target didn’t invest in me from the very beginning. I had so many opportunities to stretch my skill set, not to mention the mentors, peers and bosses along the way who put up with me as I made mistakes and learned from them.

Leadership philosophy: Nothing is more important than having your team’s back and being present for them, so I try to do that every day. My parents taught me to never forget where I came from and who I am—I keep that in mind when I lead and hope my teams would describe me in a way that would make my parents, wife and kids proud!

Best advice he ever got: “Make lots of mistakes, but make them only once.”

Fabiola Morin
Senior Director at Target’s Distribution Center (DC) in Fontana, California

On coming to Target: I came to the U.S. as a two-year-old immigrant from Mexico. During college, I was looking for a place to make a long-term career and continue to pursue the American dream and make my parents proud. I applied at Target because I loved the brand, and was impressed by the team culture and the long tenure of all my interviewers. Working for a Fortune 500 company was a dream and 17 years later, it’s been everything I expected and more!

On her current gig: I’m now the site director (general manager) of the site where my Target career started, and I love the role, and working with my team to evolve the business and make an impact. Every day, my team packs around 70 Target trucks with all the products—toys, food, clothes and more—that get delivered to local stores. My job is to make sure that when guests go to their store, everything they want to buy is there, ready and waiting. 

Fabiola and her team in their distribution center

Her career path: I started out in an entry-level role as an operations manager at the Fontana DC. Over the next few years, I took over group leader roles at both the Fontana and Rialto DCs in California, and later was promoted to senior group leader at Rialto. Four years after that, I took on a new challenge and became a senior food supply chain lead serving our West Coast stores and facilities. Then I moved on to become a senior human resources manager at our Rialto import warehouse and fulfillment center before coming back to Fontana to take on my current role.

How Target helped her get there: I was a single mom for three years, and I used Target’s benefits to help me with tasks like finding a local daycare and pediatrician. I also used the Target NurseLine quite a bit to get quick and easy assistance when the kids weren’t feeling well. And I lead a very active lifestyle, so I’ve taken advantage of Target’s gym membership discounts. It's brought balance, and helps me live a happy life with my husband and two kids.

Leadership philosophy: It's all about leading with authenticity. I lead a team of 600 people, so I develop authentic relationships that allow me to get to know them both professionally and personally. This lets me understand what motivates them and helps me tailor the development, recognition and support I give each person to fit their needs.

Best advice she ever got: A colleague once told me to never stop being, “a leader who leads with heart and mind.” To this day, I can confidently say that while I have gained and refined many skills, at the core of who I am my values haven’t changed and leading with both heart and mind makes me the leader I am. I’m fortunate to have had so many mentors throughout my career, and I try to do the same for others every day.

Samir Shah
Senior Vice President of Target’s Northeastern U.S. Stores

On coming to Target: I had just moved to the U.S. from India and wanted to learn (about the culture and to speak English) and earn (money to go to college). So I decided to apply at Target, because I knew I’d be able to do both there.   

His career path: My first job at Target was cart attendant at our store in Freemont, California. I eventually worked my way up to become a sales floor team leader, and later served as executive team leader of our Softlines, Hardlines and Logistics departments at my store. I was promoted to a store team leader at the Hayward, California, store, and eventually became a district team leader in San Jose. Then I went on to be a group director and group vice president of Orange County, San Diego, and now I’m senior vice president in the northeastern U.S.

Samir and his team

How Target helped him get there: I completed my college education with help from Target’s tuition reimbursement program, and used the Target Credit Union to buy my first car. Like many at Target, I’ve been blessed with great mentors who helped me learn the language, get a driver’s license, continue in school and become a better person for my family and my team. I try and pay that forward, help every team member to be their best and help every guest find happiness.

Leadership philosophy: I try to always listen to the team and inspire and help them to be their best and achieve the best results.

Best advice he ever got: When I first started at Target, my parents told me to, “help and respect everyone and make a difference.” I still do my best to follow this every day.  

Becky Hasik
Store Team Leader, Lewisville, Texas

On coming to Target: Target is and always has been my favorite store. I decided to apply for a role here back in 2004 to earn some extra money after my husband took a pay cut at his new job. I started in a temporary position as a remodel team member.

Her career path: It's been an adventure! After my first role, I became a full-time team member covering closing shifts in Jewelry and Intimates. A few months later, my leaders asked if I’d be interested in becoming a team leader. I said yes! I led in boys, girls, cosmetics and pricing, before getting promoted to senior team leader, and helping to roll out the new in-stocks team. My leaders wanted me to become an executive team leader (ETL), but I needed my degree—so I took the plunge and went back to school, taking online courses with the University of Phoenix while still working at Target and with three kids at home. Target’s tuition reimbursement program made that possible.

Becky and her team

How Target helped her get there: The benefits and perks have been tremendous. Target’s tuition reimbursement program was such a huge help—the process was easy, and the majority of my schooling was covered. Once I completed my degree, I was promoted to ETL, and later, to my current STL role, which I’ve had for seven years. I also take advantage of the healthcare benefits the company provides for me and my family.

Leadership philosophy: I know all of my team members by name and try to keep up on what’s happening in their lives so I can understand what they need. And I look for opportunities to connect them with one of Target’s perks or benefits—everything from tuition reimbursement to emergency assistance and other daily life resources.

Best advice she ever got: We move quickly here at Target. I once had a leader tell me it's okay to slow down a little, take your time and assess what you see, while you’re doing that, take the time to talk to your team. Best advice ever!

Thinking about joining the Target team? Visit our Careers pages to learn more about available roles at all levels, and check out the Pulse blog to meet more of our team members.

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