Nov. 30, 2021
This Sam’s Club Manager and Army Veteran Reinvents Leadership with Heart
Sometimes during the busy retail season, we say “we need some more boots on the ground” to take care of members. But for Derell Bibbs, Club Manager in San Marcos, Texas, that’s not just a retail cliché, it’s very real.
See, before joining the Sam’s Club family in 2013, Derell served in the U.S. Army for 23 years. He commanded troops at all levels prior to retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel in 2013. He had six overseas assignments, including two combat tours in Iraq. And he says that direct field experience has made him into the leader he is today for his club.
"In order to be a great leader, you have to be able to teach and train to take over for you one day. Anybody can be a boss, but I always tell people it takes a different type of person to be a leader, to earn their respect," he explains. "One day you’ll see me at the cash register, you’ll see me at the café, cleaning the bathrooms, in the backroom. That comes from me being in the military because I would never have a soldier do anything that I wouldn’t do."
While serving his country, Derell was awarded the coveted Bronze Star for his leadership and actions in combat and his accomplishments, which include writing a "Leadership Guide" and Battalion Command. Derell knew he had a knack for leading people. That’s why he uses his skills and military expertise in rallying the retail troops he now calls family.
There are a lot of tough days, but when we all stand together, there’s nothing we can’t accomplish. We’re all here together. I live by the philosophy of nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.
And much like his soldiers knew he cared, his associates see his commitment as well. He’s known for building strong teams, inspiring mentorship networks, and having a strong passion for growing talent and education. Just ask Lance de la Rosa, Sam’s Club’s Chief Operations Officer. "I recently toured his club and – I’ll just say – he runs a fantastic club. But there’s way more to Derell than just running a great club."
We agree. There’s way more to Derell. Not only is he a decorated veteran and dedicated Sam’s Club associate, but he’s also truly a family man. In fact, one of the reasons he decided to transition to civilian life was because of a health concern related to a blood disorder with his son.
"Your family members are the most important people in the world. And they need to feel that they are every day. All the sacrifices I've done in my life have been to support and honor my family. I would rather my tombstone say, "loving Father" than "Lieutenant Colonel," explains Derell. "When family’s involved, you gotta do what you gotta do."
So, that’s exactly what he did. From boots on the ground in Iraq to boots on the ground in Texas, he’s someone that just gets it. He understands sacrifice, and Sam’s Club is a better place to work because of it.
"I’ve been blessed," he said.