Tell us about yourself and what you do at Nestlé Purina.
I work in the Order Revenue Management (ORM) department at Nestlé Purina. ORM is comprised of four, six-month functional trainings and I am currently completing my first. I am deaf, so my experience might be a little different than that of other associates.
How do you think working with a disability makes your experience different?
I think it’s important to mention that often times, someone with a disability can do the same job—they might just accomplish it differently. For example, I use an interpreter to participate in some team meetings and use digital video/telephone applications to communicate with remote employees so that I can see them speak or we can type responses quickly in conversation. Many strides have been made in accommodating individuals with disabilities in the workplace but there is still work to be done. Sometimes things don’t go the way you want them to. I’m vocal about this, which makes me an asset to Nestlé Purina but I’d say a good amount of patience is necessary, too.
What made you decide to join Nestlé Purina? What did you do prior?
I decided to join Nestlé Purina because when I researched the company, I saw that Purina had a robust diversity and inclusion program. Their employees seemed really involved in the initiatives, and people I knew told me that this was a company that was inclusive of individuals with disabilities.
That inclusiveness started before I was even hired. I appreciated the efforts to accommodate me and make me feel at ease from when I submitted my application all the way until my onboarding. From there, my management and human resources worked together to provide the accommodations I needed to do my job. My coworkers are very eager to listen to try to understand what I need, how I can fit in, and what value I can bring to the department.
My previous career was in data management, investment securities, and in human resources. I think my career background helped me be a competitive candidate for the ORM position because the role requires a diverse skill set, from people skills to analytical skills.
What are your primary responsibilities as an ORM Associate?
My primary responsibilities currently involve working with sales, product supply groups, and factories to ensure that our customers receive products (dog food, cat food, litter) on time and that payments and/or deductions are applied to customers’ accounts. I have several accounts that I monitor and work with daily. This is the first of four functional areas I’ll become proficient in, followed by accounts receivable, dispute management, and vendor managed inventory. ORM certifies you in each of these functional areas so you have an in-depth knowledge of working with our customers. That knowledge makes me well equipped to enter just about any department in the organization and grow my career.
What unique skills would make someone successful in this position?
Someone who would be successful in ORM has good people skills and the ability to use logic and reason to deduce what needs to be done based on information from the customer, supply chain, and others. You must monitor/maintain many different accounts at the same time, as well as be able to collaborate with internal and external customers to meet or exceed their needs. Finally, ORM is a feeder group to the rest of the company, so a natural interest to learn new things and get uncomfortable with your norm is a must!
Tell us about any obstacles or challenges you’ve faced in your career.
I’ve faced my fair share of challenges and obstacles in my career. The only way to get past this is to keep advocating for yourself and be vocal about what you need in order to perform your job successfully. Employers may not be aware of what you need or what you can and can’t do, but you can bring awareness to it. I can do the job as well as my counterpart; I just may need to do it differently. Many employers place value on this diversity of thought and execution. Overcoming such obstacles takes some patience. Often times this is the first time coworkers or managers have worked with an individual with a disability. It’s easy to become frustrated, but I’ve found maintaining a positive attitude day to day has gotten me a lot further.
What advice would you give someone with a disability when considering a role at Nestlé Purina?
I’d tell them to advocate for themselves. If you find a position that interests you, apply and then tell them what you need to do the job. You might be surprised by how an employer is willing to accommodate you. If it doesn’t work out the first time, don’t give up—keep seeking positions that interest you and keep a good attitude. If it happened for me, it can happen for you, too!
Outside of work, what are you passionate about?
Outside of work, I enjoy volunteering and keeping close tabs on my beloved St. Louis Cardinals and St. Louis Blues. I also like watching football (college and NFL), writing, working out, and traveling.