By: Cindy Sorensen, CEO, The Grocery Group
I’m a 35 year-career veteran of the grocery industry. I started my career as a retail sales representative for Nestle Foods in 1983. During the thirty-five years which followed, I held several positions of increasing responsibility on the vendor side of the industry. Just like any career, I experienced challenges and I celebrated successes. Thirty-five years flew by in the blink of an eye, and my career journey was built.
During this journey, I found a personal passion of mine was to help build the future of the grocery industry which had provided such a great career for me. Several years ago, after registering to attend The NGA show, I received an invitation to be a mentor to college students attending the show who would be participating in the Student Case Study Competition. I accepted the invitation. Shortly after that, another invitation arrived asking me to consider being a judge at the Student Case Study Competition. I accepted that invitation as well. Participating as a mentor and a case study judge, has become a tradition for me; one which I would never miss. These student programs are unique to NGA; no other association has such a comprehensive program which offers students the opportunity to network with the industry and to showcase their talents and abilities through a case study competition. I can only hope the students who I have mentored, have learned as much from me as I have from them. I set out to help attract students into our industry, but what I received in return was not only a reassurance the future of our industry is in good hands, but I have also received the gift of lasting friendships with many of these students. They call me; they keep me updated on their career goals and progress; they ask for my advice; and they thank me for the role I played in their lives. There is no more rewarding gift than the gratitude which someone bestows upon you.
Helping students find their career path, is something for which I have become known. I’m proud of that, and I am often asked how my involvement with students came to be. It was as a result of volunteering with NGA student programs, I built my reputation for helping the next generation of our industry. You can join in this effort and make a difference in the future of our industry’s workforce and leadership. Please join me and be a mentor and a case study judge at this year’s show. The time commitment is small, but the rewards are big!
Click HERE to learn more about being a mentor at The NGA Show.
To volunteer as a Student Case Study Competition judge please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.