Career Tails

A Mission to Find My Civilian Career

Tell us about your job and responsibilities at Nestlé Purina.

I am a Production Team Leader, which means I work closely with operators to ensure production is steady. I spend my time coaching and developing our team, and I am the first point of contact to address issues, whether they be personal or business related.

Tell us about your early experiences here—what was your first impression?

I worked with an organization, Home Base Iowa, which connects military members with jobs in the area. After submitting my résumé, they quickly found numerous job openings I planned to relocate to. Soon after, I received a call from a Talent Advisor at Nestlé Purina to discuss a Team Leader position. The process included both a phone and onsite interview at the factory in Fort Dodge, and only took about two weeks for this process. Everyone I interacted with was so supportive of my military experience and showed their sincere appreciation to the Armed Forces. I was extremely excited to start this new path.

In your transition out of the military, what was most important to you in a civilian career?

I have been an Emergency Veterinary Technician for 11 years, and changing civilian careers was hard. Working at Nestlé Purina appealed to me because it allowed me to still have some connection with animals. As a Reserve Drill Sergeant, I have to make sure my active duty time doesn’t hinder my progression in my civilian endeavors. Nestlé Purina fully supports the military and all that is called upon its members—they really made the transition simple and hassle free. It’s important to me that I can bring my experiences and work ethic from the military into the civilian workforce and have the same passion. Ensuring my career will still be there when I return from active duty is an important factor, too.

In what capacity have you or do you serve in the military?

I enlisted into the U.S. Army Reserves in October 2012 and just re-enlisted for another six years. I joined as a 68J- Medical Logistics Specialist, served with the 361st MLC out of Fort Des Moines with one tour to Afghanistan, and now I am serving as a Drill Sergeant with the 2/377th F-co stationed out of Fort Des Moines.

How has Nestlé Purina accommodated you and your family’s needs regarding your military service?

Since I am currently enlisted, I attend monthly drills and was actually assigned a 35-day mission to Fort Sill, OK this year. When I shared my assignment with Human Resources, they were more than accommodating. Nestlé even appoints a specialist for my military leave who checks in with me to make sure things are going smoothly and keeps track of details, such as getting paid accordingly for my time, and that there are no errors in paperwork or opportunities missed during my absence. These things seem inconsequential, but really give peace of mind when you’re focused on orders.

How do you feel the skills you developed and utilized within the military have transferred to your civilian job?

Nestlé Purina focuses on workforce empowerment and autonomy. The training I received in the military as a Drill Sergeant provides me with the ability to make sure one message or task is received by each individual. Often, this meant explaining things differently to members of the team because people learn differently. My training taught me to identify unique learning styles and to be flexible by using real world examples in teaching. This is just one way I’ve witnessed my skill set transition into my role as a Team Lead.

What do you hope to accomplish during your time at Nestlé Purina?

I hope to accomplish one thing—long and successful employment. Nestlé Purina is a place where people come and stay, and there is a reason for that. The people become your family. Our core values are much like the Army’s values and ethos. I would like to be one of the many people who is able to celebrate retirement as a Nestlé Purina Family member.

 

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