Statement Issued To Press By Julie Roehm

  • March 30, 2007
When I look back over the whirlwind of the last 15 months of my life, here's what I see: I left a successful career in Detroit, uprooted my family to move to Arkansas, and took on a demanding job at Wal-Mart as part of its shift in marketing strategy. I threw myself into the job, traveling constantly and working tirelessly to master several components at the same time. I saved the company hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees and costs right off the bat, just using my experience in selecting and negotiating advertising spots. I engineered a thorough and meticulous campaign to hire an advertising agency, and guided a company that had never been through the process before in selecting what everyone, from outside research parties to internal participants, agreed was the best candidate.

But somewhere along the way, senior executives at Wal-Mart seemed to feel that maybe change wasn't such a good idea. Perhaps some did not like following or taking the advice of a woman. I received no guidance, direction, or communication about any unhappiness with my work. Yet I unceremoniously was removed from my job without explanation, and then informed that Wal-Mart would not even honor the terms of a separation agreement.



Now Wal-Mart has concocted a smear campaign against me. Under cover of a counterclaim, Wal-Mart is insinuating things about my personal life and pretending I violated some code of ethics with advertisers, all to distract from the reality that it didn't want my form of progressive marketing. In addition to refusing to honor my contract, Wal-Mart has used anonymous witnesses and employed selective use of e-mail, taken way out of context. When you patch together pieces of messages sent at different times, you can create pretty much any story you want. As in other cases, Wal-Mart has attacked the victim.

Obviously, I am at a great disadvantage. I don't have the same resources as the world's largest company. They outman me with private investigators, computer hackers, ex-CIA operatives, former FBI men, and an army of public relations operatives. My family is eating through savings intended for our son's college tuition as we try to navigate a legal dispute with one of America's most successful corporations. Yet all I am asking for is a fair honoring of the contractual agreement I had with Wal-Mart.

If I had believed that I had done anything wrong, I would not have filed suit for payment on terms spelled out in my separation agreement. When I filed my suit, I did not publicize it. In fact, it took over a month for anyone to learn that the suit even existed. I was not trying to embarrass the company. Who is trying to embarrass whom?

My family and I want to move forward. We have reason to fear, I know, from a company that thinks nothing of publicly destroying families. I want to continue my career in marketing. I know I have a lot to offer, and I don't want to waste time looking backward.

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