Xavier University of Louisiana’s Division of Business commenced its inaugural Executive Speakers Series on April 16, 2019. The series’ first guest was Monique Picou, the senior vice president of flow for Walmart Inc. and a veteran of more than 20 years in the consumer packaging goods and supple chain experience. Picou provided students with an insight into early career management and career possibilities.
“How you start and the success that you have early can go a long way in developing your careers,” said Joe Ricks, the chair of the division of Business, and an associate professor at Xavier. Ricks shared that this series is designed to introduce students to individuals who have had successful careers and have reached the level of success that they want to get to. Picou not only shared her story of success but encouraged others to start early and remain focused.
“It is very important that your aspirations be higher than your navigation,” Picou said. She stated that it is important this generation be stronger in the competitive work force that we have.
A Louisiana native, Picou attended Southern University and graduated with a degree in electrical engineering. Immediately after graduation she went to work for Procter & Gamble and stayed there for 28 years. Afterwards, Picou went on to spend 10 years working at a Folgers Coffee manufacturing facility. Following that, she went on to Cincinnati, Ohio to work in Folgers’ corporate office, completing customer service logistics, direct store delivery, and a global training role. While still working for Folgers, Picou was then sent to Augusta, Ga. to be a plant manager. After this, she then went on to do work in Europe. Once she was done with her consumer, products, and goods work, Picou went on to work in private equity. Today she works for Walmart and has been there for about 9 months.
Picou shared that it is vital that students be known for being a problem solver of multiple challenges, because employers hire people to solve problems. “The most important thing is being able to figure out what you want to do and how you want to do it,” Picou said. In the first five years of any career, she told students they get to decide what is going to define them for the rest of their occupational life, she shared.
“Ms. Picou provided some very beneficial insight on ways for me to brand myself as a professional,” said Kevona Baines, a Xavier freshman and Houston-native. Baines shared that she learned from Picou more ways in which her profession can function.
“It’s not about where you start, it’s about where you finish,” Picou said. Early in navigation, she encouraged students to learn how to sell themself and their performance. “When you walk across the stage, you are not finishing, your beginning,” Ricks said.