Appreciating military veterans who continue their careers with Kellogg

While we at Kellogg value the important contributions and sacrifices of active members of the military and veterans every day, we especially recognize them in May, which is Military Appreciation Month. Kathy Brown, Employee Labor Relations Advisor in our Rossville, Tennessee operation, personifies the dedication of those who have served their country. We’re proud to have Kathy on our team and hope you enjoy her story.

Kathy Brown

Kathy Brown dressed in formal military uniform. 

As a 19-year-old mom with a young daughter, I enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps for the career skills I needed to support my family. After four years, and two more daughters, I wanted to spend more time with my family, so I transitioned from full-time military service to part-time service with the Tennessee Army National Guard. The Guard required one-weekend a month and two weeks a year of service and allowed me to continue my career, first as a banker, then with a mortgage company. But after eight years as a citizen soldier, everything changed.

The National Guard saw in me something I hadn’t seen in myself. They liked my work ethic, attitude and passion for military service and asked me to return to full-time duty as a recruiter. I accepted the job in 2001 and spent 19 more years as a full-time military recruiter before retiring in 2020 as a First Sergeant.

“I was so excited when Hiring our Heroes helped create an opportunity for me at Kellogg.”

The military makes a huge commitment to help soldiers successfully transition to civilian life. Before retiring, I took full advantage of the programs offered. First, I received a Human Resources certification through Onward to Opportunity, which provides career coaching and advanced training in IT, business management, customer service and other fields. Then, I applied for the 12-week U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring our Heroes Corporate Fellowship program that gives participants work experience with civilian companies.

I was so excited when Hiring our Heroes helped create an opportunity for me at Kellogg. The company hadn’t participated in the program before, but I interviewed on a Tuesday and they notified me the next day that I was accepted as a Fellow in Rossville. At the end of 12-weeks, Kellogg offered me a full-time job, which began April 6.

kathy brown k values

Many who leave the military report that the transition to civilian life is difficult, but I love it. Kellogg Company’s K Values™ so closely mirror the U.S. Army’s values ‒ which I lived every day ‒ that making the transition just felt natural. Since I have walked in the door, people have been receptive and helpful. I especially can’t say enough about my manager, LaTasha Corbin. She and the entire team have embraced me and the contributions I’m making.

My advice to other military heroes transitioning to civilian careers? Open yourself up to new experiences. You certainly must be humble and willing to adapt, but if you embrace the learning curve, opportunities await. My new career allows me to fully leverage my military experience and spend more time with my husband, three daughters, eight grandchildren and two Old English bulldogs. I couldn’t be happier.

 

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