A native of New Jersey, Jamal Parker graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a B.A. in Liberal Arts and Sciences. In addition to academics, he helped his tennis team to four Big Ten championships and a number one ranking in the NCAA. After playing tennis, Jamal also served as program chair for Phi Rho Eta. After graduating, Jamal took to the Association of Tennis Professionals tour where he achieved world rankings in both singles and doubles while playing in the US and abroad in Canada, Mexico, Jamaica, Venezuela, England, France and Australia.
The Sam’s Club division of Walmart Stores Inc. was the next stop for Jamal after his time on tour. In 2005, he started working in operations as a manager in Club 8296 Springfield, Missouri. In 2006, he was asked to join the confectionery buying team at Sam’s corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas. In 2008, Jamal was named buyer of Business Snacks and in 2010 was asked to lead the Business Snacks and Confection team as senior buyer. In his various roles at Sam’s Club, Jamal managed an annual P&L of ~$2 billion up from ~$1.2 billion when he joined the team, representing over a sixty-six percent increase in sales on a sizable and mature business. As a result of these and other efforts, he was asked to be part of Developed to Lead and the CEO’s mentor circle in 2011, elected to the Sam’s Club Council in 2012 and included in Leadership Academy in 2013. Known for leadership and development, Jamal promoted numerous associates during his time at Sam’s and had two associates named Assistant of the Year for the company. In 2014 Jamal joined the Scott’s Miracle Gro Walmart/Sam’s sales team where he had responsibility for Growing Media, Grass Seed and the Sam’s Club portfolio. While there, he helped turn a multi – year declining business into one that grew over twenty percent in 2015. During his time in corporate America, Jamal received numerous awards and recognition. At Sam’s, he was recognized with the quarterly achievement of sustainability. Three times he was named item merchant of the quarter and buyer of the quarter five times.
As a member and leader of the snacks and confection category, his team won the quarterly buying team award seven times. In 2010 and 2011, Jamal was named Top 50 Executives in the nation by Food & Beverage Magazine. In 2011, he was also given the annual Buyer of the Year award for the Sam’s Club division of Walmart Stores Inc. and in 2012 given the annual Item Merchant of the Year award. In 2013, Jamal was named to the National Confectioners Association’s Editorial board as well as the organization’s Sweets and Snacks Expo committee. In 2014, he was recognized by the National Confectioners Association for his participation and achievements in the industry with the prestigious Confectioners Leadership Award at the State of the Industry annual conference in Miami. Jamal is also a recipient of the Carnegie Human Relations award. In 2016, Jamal started J. Parker & Co., drawing upon his passion for entrepreneurship, experience from buying and sales and his knowledge of investing and operating in real estate. Jamal currently resides in Bentonville, Arkansas with his wife and two daughters.