Name: Jason Powell
Title: Category Advisor – Walmart
Company: McKee Foods
Certification Obtained: CPCM

 How long have you or your company been a member of the CMA?

Mckee Foods has been partnering with CMA for over 10 years and have earned many CPCA and CPCM certifications.

Why did you decide to become certified?

After working in Category for over 12 years I decided it was time to work on earning the CMA Certification.  The CMA certification allowed me to put my current skills and knowledge to the test at the same time allowed me to pick up new skills along the way.  McKee Foods puts a great amount of resource into their Category Insights team and the CMA certifications are strongly encouraged.  I work with a wonderful team of Category experts that understand the every changing world of retail which makes me want to improve my own knowledge base.

What was the most interesting thing you learned as you completed the training and certification?

I found that all of the content was very useful and helped add a new perspective to my current level of Category Management.  The section that I enjoyed the most and was the most interesting to me was the Store Clustering Through Store Level and Geodemographic Data.  After understanding the shopper using the data competencies learned in the program I am now able take this information and compile clusters using the demographic information by store to define the cluster groups as well as the customers in each cluster group.  Accurate clusters allows for better sales, inventory management and customer satisfaction.  

How do you feel you will use this certification in your current role?

As a Category Advisor for Walmart I am expected to be the expert in the category by knowing what is happening in the market as well as in the stores at the retailer.  I need to be able to unlock the insights from multiple sources that include Retail Link. Nielson, Numerator, and Internal Data Sources.  This certification has improved my industry knowledge as well as the processes needed to take mass amounts of data and find the insights that matter not only to the retailer but also to the shopper.  It has only strengthened my foundation and improved my confidence.

What advice would you give someone considering completing the training and certification?

Never give up and continue learning.  Knowledge is something that will always have value and will never be a waste of time.  Continue to gain as much experience in whatever role you are in, no matter if you are just getting started in category or are seasoned veteran.  As you go through this program ask yourself and your peers questions to better understand what you are learning and try to use what you learn with your current level of influence.  Also take your time and don’t rush through the exercises.  These will help you put what you learn into a real life examples.  And most importantly, believe in yourself.

Learn more about CMA Certification here.