Gera Stewart, Director of Operations, ALDI
Hometown: Hatton, MO
Current City: Wentzville, MO
Graduation Year: 2006
Major: Business Administration with an Emphasis in Entrepreneurship
Sorority: Kappa Alpha Theta
What made you choose Westminster College?
Interestingly enough, I was originally enrolled at Mizzou; however, my elementary school principal (Mr. Joe Crane) approached me at my high school graduation and highly recommended that I consider Westminster instead. Mr. Crane helped arrange a campus tour for me at WC in late May following my high school graduation. I knew from the first time I set foot on campus that WC had the potential to be a great fit for me. I was impressed with the interactions I had with the faculty, staff and students during the visit day and knew that I wanted to learn more about what the College had to offer. Ultimately, the small size, sense of community and the fact that I could be a name and not a just number made me choose Westminster.
What activities and organizations did you participate in while you were at Westminster?
I was in Kappa Alpha Theta, Skulls of Seven, Student Foundation, Blue Blazers, Westminster Service Corp, Phi Beta Lambda and intramural sports.
Please describe your current work.
Along with my DoO colleague, I supervise the operation of 76 ALDI grocery retail stores throughout Missouri, Illinois, Iowa and Arkansas. This involves management of every aspect of store operations, including sales development, expense control and personnel management of 22 direct reports and over 1,100 store employees.
What organizations are you involved with outside of work?
I am a Fontbonne University Masters in Supply Chain Management Board Member.
What role did Westminster play in leading you to your current position?
I was introduced to the opportunities available at ALDI through an alumnus who graduated from Westminster a year prior to me and who worked for the company. Since he and I were both business majors at WC and shared many of the same classes, we knew each other, and he thought I would be a good fit for ALDI.
How did your liberal arts education help prepare you for your career?
The small class sizes, dedication and engagement of professors, and numerous leadership opportunities available at WC allowed me to enhance my written and oral communication skills to a level that gave me an edge over students from other colleges and universities. In addition, WC was integral in helping me gain confidence in my abilities, develop a competitive resume and prepare for a position in the business management world.
What is your favorite Westminster memory?
I have numerous fond memories of Westminster and my time there; however, graduation probably tops the list. For me, walking through the Columns my senior year was validation of accomplishing my goal of becoming a first-generation college graduate and being well-prepared to begin my career in the business world.
What successes and achievements do you envision in your future?
Professionally, I would like to further grow the ALDI O’Fallon business, develop my people, build my management acumen and always lead in a way that puts ethics and character at the forefront.
Personally, my goal is to enjoy time with friends and family, continue to spend time with and set a good example for my mentee (an 11-year-old who used to be in foster care), travel and continue to learn and grow.
Do you recommend Westminster to prospective college students?
Yes. The small class sizes, dedication and engagement of professors and numerous leadership opportunities at Westminster allow students to have a competitive edge over graduates from other colleges and universities.
Favorite Westminster faculty member? Dr. Phelps. I also have a strong appreciation for Dr. Goodfellow, Dr. Guinee, Dr. Miller and Professor Hardeman’s classes. A big thank you to all.
Favorite spot on campus? The Church of St. Mary.
Favorite TV show? Sherlock
What do you do in your free time?
I spend time with friends and family, spend time with my mentee, enjoy the outdoors, read and travel.