Jennifer F., Training Manager – Mechanicsburg, PA
Tell me about your career path prior to joining Nestlé Purina.
I have held several training and development positions prior to joining Nestlé Purina. I was the first generation—and person—in my family to get a college degree. I earned my Associate’s degree in Business five years ago from Harrisburg Area Community College in Pennsylvania after six long years of part-time attendance.
What made you decide to join Nestlé Purina? What did you do prior?
Three years ago, I was the Training Manager of Professional Development for a co-op for ‘mom and pop’ grocery stores. They were having financial issues, declared bankruptcy, and many of the staff members were laid off or let go. I decided this would be the perfect time to go back to school to get my Bachelor’s degree.
How did your new role at Nestlé Purina support your decision?
I actually started school, then made the decision to join Nestlé Purina. Their support of my continuing education made the choice easy for me. I spent many lunch breaks completing assignments or studying. Since completing my degree, I was promoted into my current role, Training Manager, at our Mechanicsburg factory. My degree is in Organizational Behavior/Applied Psychology, which I use in my role in training and development daily.
A lot of companies offer tuition reimbursement. What’s unique about our program and what level of support did it provide for you to pursue your higher education goals?
I've participated in other company tuition programs, but ours was simple and straight forward. The online application was easy to complete, and being able to go back in and check on the status of the process was super nice. With a previous employer, I had no idea the status of my application.
What are your primary responsibilities in your current role? Describe a typical day.
I support the training and development needs of more than 315 associates. Every day is something different – some days I design trainings with subject matter experts, other days I facilitate training. A day can include having one-on-one development conversations with team members to establish a plan to build specific skills, or I may find myself analyzing training results, trends, and measures to identify needs for closing performance gaps.
What unique skills would make someone successful in HR within a manufacturing setting?
Someone who loves people and knows their role is to support others and to help make their team members successful. Going to them on the factory floor, meeting their needs where they are, and showing them you’re part of their team, willing to pick up a broom and sweep right alongside of them, if that’s what is needed. In HR, we need to be flexible, organized, and strategic – willing to share as much information as we can with others to empower and enable them to be their best and to make quality decisions.
Tell us about the most exciting project you've completed or are currently working on.
I believe there is always something exciting to work on, because learning never stops—the very reason I felt empowered to go back to school. On the job, we’re currently moving away from classroom training and working toward leveraging technology through online modules for annual compliance and other trainings to accomplish positive factory results.
Our Founder challenges us with the 'Dare to Stand Tall.' How do you Stand Taller?
I love the concept of the Five Talls awards, and I try to live these principles in my everyday activities. I believe it shows, too, with my own Five Talls recognition in 2015.
What advice would you tell someone considering applying for a role at Nestlé Purina?
Go for it! It is a great place to work – it feels like home here. I enjoy my co-workers, from operators on the floor to the management team. I feel part of something exciting and that my work impacts the team’s goals. I personally make a difference and encourage others to continually grow, driving our factory towards being a fully integrated learning culture, where everyone owns their development and is supported to continue learning and growing.
Outside of work, what are you passionate about?
Raising my daughter has been my life outside of work. I’m very excited to see where her adult life goes as she goes off to school to get her own degree. Now, I’m heading into a new chapter in my life, re-discovering me – and I’m excited to see what happens!