When our trainee program supervisor, Megan, told us on the first day that our only job for the first six months of training is to learn, I didn’t fully understand what she meant. I have to admit I was intimidated walking to the office on my first day; awed by the sheer size of the building and struck by the speed of the elevators within the AON Center. When my new roommate and fellow trainee, Doug and I arrived, we were in awe of the never ending 360 degree views of Chicago. Also amazing were the works of art within the Kraft Heinz offices, such as a to-scale rendition of the Kool-Aid Man breaking through the wall and a pensive Mr. Peanut sitting unassumingly in the recreation area. Already, we were learning.
For the first three days of training, we got an extensive overview of the company, covering nearly all business functions. We learned about the rich histories of Kraft and Heinz dating back to 1869, when Henry J. Heinz sold homemade horseradish. We played ice breakers to learn more about our fellow trainees, including their diverse backgrounds and majors. It was an opportunity to make friends and connect with people that had also moved to a new city.
On Thursday, we mixed up the classroom setting. We rented cars and set out to Glenview, IL, to get a feel for the Kraft Heinz Research and Development facility. We learned about the Company’s foodservice operations and visited several grocery stores to learn about shelf layout and product displays. I was impressed by the size of our product portfolio, with products such as “Sandwich Spread”, Gevalia, and Grey Poupon, there was nearly a Kraft Heinz product on every aisle in the store.
We ended the week with a trip to the Northern Illinois Food Bank. It was a perfect culmination to a fun and busy week. We packed over 9,000 lbs. of cheese to be distributed to families in need across the state. As a trainee of one of the largest food and beverage companies in the world, it felt great to know that Kraft Heinz cares about the community and that I could actively make a difference. Packaging food was a great way to bond with my fellow trainees and we got surprisingly close for only being together for a week. I will admit that so far I’ve learned a lot.