Kellogg’s YODA drives IT career development
By Zuleikha Karolia, Program Manager, Global IT
As someone who regularly likes a new work challenge and has repeatedly followed my passions to several different jobs, I can’t believe I’ve been at Kellogg for almost six years! What keeps me here? In just a few years, I’ve been fortunate enough to have four quite diverse roles, all in our IT function, both globally and regionally.
THE WORK I’VE BEEN DOING
People think you have to be “techy” to work in IT, but I’m not. While studying English and sociology in University, I had an internship in New York with the IT department of a private banking firm and I got hooked on the business side of IT. It’s like running a company, with finance, HR and all the other roles. I’ve especially enjoyed focusing on the people side, including development, engagement and people-centric workload management.
Recently, I had the opportunity to work on two meaningful projects: launching YODA (Year of Development Always) and working on the team that added NaviLens codes to all of our cereal packaging in Europe, making us the first company in the world to use the innovative technology on packaging.
Making accessible packaging had nothing to do with my day-to-day work, but it tells you a lot about working at Kellogg. A group of us were passionate about the project, which helps blind and partially sighted people hear and read information like subway directions or museum guidance by simply pointing their smartphones at a code from as far away as 12 meters (or almost 40 feet). We suggested putting it on packaging to make it more accessible, then received the approval to run with it, and did!
SO, WHAT IS YODA?
YODA, on the other hand, was perfectly aligned with my role and passions. YODA stands for Year of Development Always and grew out of 2020 feedback from employees that they wanted more opportunities to develop, learn and grow within IT. In a year when IT supported our employees’ needs to work from home at a moment’s notice due to the pandemic, it might have been easy to focus on other things – but not at Kellogg. We pressed ahead on our journey to offer new career opportunities, build a learning culture, and unlock our potential.
YODA’s vision is to venture to new horizons by cultivating our childhood curiosity to learn and grow. Its mission is to give everyone a YODA moment.
So far, it's come to life in a number of ways:
- Helping each employee create their own professional development journey map.
- Hosting 10 optional Growth.Fest sessions that hundreds joined to learn more about creating impact in their current roles and working toward the next step on their journey maps.
- Launching Meaningful Experiences to connect employees with global job shadowing opportunities and stretch assignments.
“My colleagues feel like YODA makes career advancement accessible and attainable.
I guess, just like me, we’re all up for the next challenge..”
We’re also looking to add mentoring and coaching to YODA in the future. So far, the feedback has been extremely positive. One of my proudest moments was hearing about an employee applying for a role after being inspired by the GROWTH.FEST, which she proceeded to get. WIN! My colleagues feel like YODA makes career advancement accessible and attainable. I guess, just like me, we’re all up for the next challenge.