“This is your business. Own it!"
When I heard these words in my Kellogg interview, I felt so connected. You see, my grandfather and both my parents owned their own businesses in my hometown of Laredo, Texas. Now I was being given the chance to do the same.
I was also nervous! I’d been in sales-related jobs since graduating from Texas A&M University and didn’t receive much training or support in these roles. Regardless, I worked hard and was successful. But this Kellogg job is BIG. The company said it would give me everything I needed to succeed, but I was initially a little skeptical.
Then, almost overnight, a printer arrived at my front door. The next day someone called wanting to deliver a car. Next, I was scheduled to begin four weeks of training with colleagues across Texas before heading to our global headquarters in Battle Creek, Michigan, for a full week of formal sales training. I really did have everything I needed – resources, mentors, support – and I could succeed like my grandfather and my parents. So, I got to work.
As a Latina in Laredo, I grew up celebrating the Mexican holidays of Dia de Independencia (Independence Day) Sept. 16 and Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead where we honor our ancestors) Oct. 31 and Nov. 1. One of my favorite childhood memories is of enjoying Kellogg’s Choco Krispies™ and Zucaritas™, Mexican versions of the U.S. cereals, Coco Krispies™ and Frosted Flakes™.
I saw an opportunity for our company to better engage with our Mexican American customers around these two important holidays by bringing a taste of home to our community. A friend in Mexico had custom papel picados, or hand-cut flags, made for us with the Kellogg’s logo, Tony the Tiger and Choco Krispies elephant mascot Melvin. I worked with our customers Walmart and HEB on special displays using the flags to draw shoppers’ attention and together we put these Kellogg’s cereals from Mexico front and center, rather than in the Hispanic aisle where they are usually placed in the U.S.. The promotion was an overwhelming success and I was invited to present the program to our vice president of retail sales. Now we’re getting ready for even bigger celebrations in 2020.
It’s not always easy being a woman in sales. In a previous role, I’ve even had competitors tear down my displays. But I focus on being a professional, pride myself on strong customer partnerships and surround myself with an amazing group of women who empower and lift each other up. I’ve also found a community in ¡HOLA!, our LatinX Business/Employee Resource Group. In fact, I’ve recently accepted a role on the ¡HOLA! Marketplace Leadership Team and will serve as co-chair of the new ¡HOLA! Texas chapter we’re creating. All this within two years of joining the company.
Kellogg is a diverse company committed to inclusion. Participating in important Mexican holidays like Dia de Independencia and Dia de los Muertos showed all shoppers that we respect and honor the heritage of different cultures. As a Latina woman, this makes me especially proud.