Tell us about your career path at Nestlé.
I completed a 10-week internship with Nestlé Purina in St. Louis before starting as a Supply Chain Management Development Associate. As a MDA, I rotated throughout one of our manufacturing facilities to learn the different functions of each department and how they relate to each other and the big picture. I also spent a few months rotating in my department (logistics) to get a better understanding of the day-to-day operations of the warehouse, transportation, and materials departments. I am currently an Assistant in Logistics.
I have been with Nestlé for a little over a year. I started as an Engineering Intern in Denver and then began as a Production Management Development Associate in our Davenport, IA factory. After my rotation, I was promoted to a Production Management Assistant and relocated to our facility in Clinton, IA. Currently, I work as a relief Shift Supervisor and work on a variety of projects/initiatives related to production. In the next five years, I hope to continue making a meaningful impact at each of the plants I work at, whether in pursuit of becoming a Production Manager or even an international opportunity.
I started as an Intern in Supply Chain at our Rogers, AR sales office, in which I focused on key projects to learn how the historical spikes and lifts affected the point of sales for our products. From there, I started as a Supply Chain Management Development Associate in our Davenport, IA factory. Like others, I learned the process of the plant by experiencing each department for the first six months, and then I spent a year in the logistics department—my area of concentration. Since then, I’ve worked as both a Materials and Logistics Assistant, and recently accepted a role as a Procurement Specialist at Nestlé Purina’s Corporate Headquarters in St. Louis, MO.
I started a month after I graduated from college as a Management Development Associate in Davenport, IA with no experience in manufacturing or engineering. I went through the standard rotation, for an in-depth overview of our Accounting, Materials Handling, HR, IS/IT, and other departments. I was able to become familiar with the production floor and what it took to have a successful production day. I then was trained to become a qualified equipment operator and spent a couple months as a Team Leader. During that time, I was able to learn how to lead a team, grow my troubleshooting skills, and continue to learn in more detail the production process. The knowledge I gained has proven to be invaluable. From there, I was promoted to Production Assistant, then transferred to our Flagstaff, AZ factory as an Assistant Production Manager. There, I was able to take ownership of an entire department and become responsible for the day-to-day items, improvement projects, and talent growth opportunities for the team. My current role is now in our Oklahoma City factory as the Assistant Production Manager. It is a similar role to my previous position, however, a different department within production.
Why is it important to you having programs in place that foster career readiness and development?
How did Nestlé’s programs help in your own career development and goals?
Nestlé’s programs helped me to gain confidence in my field and feel ready for a role in manufacturing. I’ve gained connections within the business and had the opportunity to work on real-world projects that were exciting and meaningful. These programs are important because they allow students and recent graduates to have practical, hands-on experiences that teach how to apply knowledge outside of the classroom.
Having a program that fosters career readiness and development has a large effect on your performance in the workplace. It allows you to make an impact in each stage of your career. At Nestlé, I have been able to develop my technical knowledge as well as my ability to lead people. The environment is one that allows you the space to grow while giving you the security to ensure you have what you need to succeed.
If a company values its employees, they will invest in them. The Management Development Associate Program gave me the opportunity to learn the factory’s operations. I feel this is rare for companies who hire recent grads, and it has contributed to my growth and success thus far.
For me, gaining base knowledge of the company’s heartbeat (production) has been invaluable. The Management Development Program gave me the knowledge I would need to be able to make decisions at higher levels of leadership as I move forward. It also has given me the opportunity to see various different leadership styles, which has helped me tailor my own. As you move forward in this program, the company continues to give you opportunities to prepare for the next role and to be successful there.
What has surprised you the most about your experience in the Management Development Program?
I get to learn something new every day—every day is different than the last.
One of the biggest surprises to me was the vast amount of knowledge and how engaged the Operators are here. They work hard to contribute to your training you during the program and you can truly get an understanding of how the processes work here.
Being able to know exactly where my pets’ food comes from and understanding that I am having a part in creating it is exciting. I want to succeed to be able to motivate and inspire others to not settle for something based on the notoriety of the company that you’re with, but what you believe in and want to achieve.
How much I would love working in a manufacturing environment, especially since it involved moving geographies from where I grew up. Before working here, I had never so much as worn a hard hat before. Through the training process and culture of learning Nestlé Purina promotes, I am now completely comfortable in a manufacturing environment; I’m able to speak intelligently about most of our equipment, and I’m able to work with my teams to drive improvements. The entire program was centered around making sure I had the tools I needed to succeed with the company, and they continue to challenge me to become better.
What is your favorite Nestlé product?
Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies
My favorite Nestlé product is Digiorno Pizza. I eat way too many of them.
My Lab mix adores the ProPlan Chicken and Rice shred blend and Beggin Strips!