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Welcome to MCEEA’s Faces on Campus campaign! 

Over the next year – we will be highlighting the career educators and employers who make up our great organization. Each week we will pay tribute to the individuals who devote their lives to helping students take that key first step into their professional career and the businesses that welcome and develop them into the professionals they will become. 

We hope you enjoy the insights, stories, and laughs of the people of MCEEA. 

This week takes us to the employer side of things as we explore the Kellogg Company (https://www.kelloggcompany.com/en_US/home.html), a food manufacturing company headquartered in Battle Creek, Michigan. Kellogg's portfolio is comprised principally of snacks and convenience foods like cereal, frozen foods, and noodles. Some beloved brands include Kellogg Corn Flakes, Frosted Flakes, Pringles, Eggo, Cheez-It and RXBAR to name a few.  

Our interviewees are Liz Hamilton – Intern Program Manager, and Jamie Marney - Associate Recruiter. Both work in their University Relations Team where they oversee all their student affairs and hiring at the Kellogg Company, predominantly within their intern program, and any part-time student roles that become available throughout the year. Liz has been with the company for over six and a half years, but with the University Relations team for five seasons. Jamie started her career at Kellogg over three years ago but has been with the University Relations Team since November of 2019.  


Joe Bamberger - From an educational background, do you both have HR degrees, or something totally unrelated? How did you find your way into talent acquisition? 


Liz Hamilton - I went to Western Michigan University and graduated in May of 2015. I have my degree in BBA, focused in human resource management.  For me, I always thought I was going to go into education, but I switched to business my junior year. I was lucky to find the opportunity at Kellogg's and that really shaped where my path projected to. Pretty early on, within the Talent Acquisition team, I got connected with my now boss. That is really what started my exposure to see University Relations and the connection back to Career Services, working with students in that capacity. My passion has always been around students, but it's nice to be able to apply it with my business degree within corporate America. It's a very rewarding and fulfilling space. 


Jamie Marney - I also have a BBA in human resource management I started as a generalist right out of college, so I did a little bit of everything including talent acquisition, benefits and employee relations. I narrowed my focus to Talent Acquisition about 5 years ago in my role previous to Kellogg’s - there I did a lot of the onboarding and the training background for new employees. When I came to Kellogg's, I was brought here through Liz, who was an acquaintance. She reached out through LinkedIn and told me about a great opportunity on the Kellogg’s Talent Acquisition team. After a year on the team at Kellogg’s, I began a development role within the University Relations team and was hired onto the team full time in 2019. I always like to meet new people and make new friends and chat with people. I think being able to help students be the best that they can be and meet their goals is just very rewarding. 


JB - As far as you know, how many schools in Michigan do you guys get out to? Are you beyond the state of Michigan, into the rest of the Midwest? Where do you guys spend your time? 


LH - Our strategy is on the national level, we have 24 different universities and organizations partnerships that we hold. We recruit within Michigan, Western Michigan University and Michigan State are our big two that we are predominantly pulling students in from. They align nicely within the functions we are looking to hire. Then outside of that, we do have sales and manufacturing locations across the US where some of those locations reside, that's where our strategy is rooted. We also have a strong focus on equity, diversity and inclusion. We attend two large conferences every fall, one the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, and the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. We attend those two conferences every season. We have many partnerships leading up to those events and post events too. Outside of that, we partner with North Carolina A&T, which is one of the largest public HBCUs as well as a UCC.  


JB - Excluding your alma maters, do you guys have favorite campuses to go to and recruit from? 


LH - I both Thurgood Marshall and HACU every recruiting season. You truly get the best of both worlds, you have students, upwards of 500 attendees, as well as educators, employers and supporters. It’s fantastic! It's very rewarding to be able to meet with students and recruit them for internships. We have many volunteers, internally, that attend the conferences and assist through the events. There is something special about the events and the people behind them. They feel like family!   


JM - I had to agree with Liz. We do get on campus at Western Michigan a lot. I know that's Liz's alma mater, but not mine. I do enjoy TMCF and HACU as well, but Western is kind of our home base for our program and we have some great partnerships with the staff there. We get a lot of great students in all areas of our intern program from Western. It's always really fun to be there. 


JB - If I'm a student that hasn't heard of Kellogg's, or at least from an employer standpoint, what's your pitch? Why should I consider a career at Kellogg's? 


JM - What I always tell students is Kellogg's is very relationship-based. I think Kellogg's is a very down-to-earth company for being a Fortune 500 company. I have no problem reaching out to people who are in a higher level role than me. You're intimidated to a certain level, but I've never had anybody on the director level or senior manager level question what I was doing reaching out to them, everyone is very willing to help at Kellogg's. Everyone is very willing to build those relationships with you both personally and professionally. I think students who are considering Kellogg's should keep that in mind, if that's what they're looking for, its definitely a small company feel at a large global company. The Kellogg's culture is unmatched. We've got some really fun brands and that shows not only with some of these work that we do for the brands, but just even how we have fun as employees. You can see it on all levels, it's very transparent and I think that that's something very valuable. 


LH - I always tell students that Kellogg's is a family. We are heavily rooted in our founder's values, W. K. Kellogg, who was extremely philanthropic, and cared immensely for all of those that worked for his company. It's also that nostalgia feel, like Jamie said. We have mascots like Tony the Tiger and Toucan Sam and working for Kellogg's means being part of the legacy and reputation. As employees, you're encouraged to be your most authentic self, to be able to get involved, to make connections, and to network and build on that. At the end of the day, it's about having fun. It's about continuing to be one big family and giving back. It's a pleasure to be able to work for Kellogg's.  


JB - How many interns do you typically hire in a year?  


LH - We have between 75 to 100 students each intern season. The students reside in most parts of our organization. We have students this season within Away From Home, Finance, HR, IT, Marketing, R&D, Sales, and Supply Chain. The majority of our program caters to undergrad students, usually 90%. Our HR and marketing students, are predominantly recruited between MBA programs, as well as Masters of Business. Jamie oversees our marketing students. 


JM - For that class, in the past years, we've usually had anywhere from four to five students just specifically within brand marketing, but we're adding the commercial leadership program as an internship this year, and also experience planning. Going forward, we are looking for anywhere up to 14 interns. This is our first year so we're excited to see how it shakes out. 


JB - Do you have a favorite interview question you ask. 


LH - We have interview questions that incorporate our values as an organization and our growth competencies. One of my favorites is around courage: "Tell us about a time that you have had to have courage in an untimely situation or when have you had to have courage in your work environment?" Those can be challenging questions to answer but I think it's neat to see how students interrupt and respond. Everyone has a time in their lives where they've had to have courage, step up and be the leader.   


JM - I like to hear about a student’s humility and hunger to learn. Humility and hunger are two of Kellogg's values and I like to learn how a student can demonstrate that through their interview. I think that it speaks to their potential as a student, even if they don't have past work experience or formal development, but if they can talk through their ambition and goals, it speaks volumes to what kind of student they would be and what kind of intern they would be. 


JB - Do you have a favorite Kellogg brand? 


LH – Our CEO has a saying “choosing a favorite Kellogg product is like choosing a favorite child!” For me, I do love all our products but the Bare Naked granola or any of our cereals have to be at the top of my list.   


JM - Mine would be Cheez-it’s because I go through a box of Cheez-it’s in one sitting 


JB - Let's, let's shift gears a little bit. How long have you guys been involved with MCEEA? 


LH - We have been partners with MCEEA for eight years now. Time flies when you’re having fun! 


JB - You guys personally, how long have you been members?  


LH - This is my fifth year as a MCEEA member. My first MCEEA conference was in Detroit, 2017. 


JM - This is my second year with MCEEA - I joined when I joined the University Relations Team full time in Fall 2019. 


JB - So then you haven't gotten to experience any of the conferences in the summer then because of this year?  


JM - I have not but looking forward to 2022!  


JB - Let's pretend for a second that MCEEA had unlimited funds and/or time. What would be some things you as an employer, think would be a great addition in terms of programming, networking, or connecting opportunities? 


LH - I learn best when I engage with others and network. I enjoy different breakout sessions, networking, even having brainstorms where you're in a room with a whiteboard for 20 minutes and maybe you are given this scenario and have to come up with what you do with that. I find for me, there is a lot of great conversation and dialogue that comes from that. 


JM - I would say similar for me, getting to talk with people and come up with new ideas. Sometimes, it's helpful for our program to hear what other people might be doing and some ideas that other people might have, or something that worked well or didn't work so well, so we can apply it to our program and our students.  


JB - Do you have a least favorite thing about your roles when it comes to campus recruiting? 


LH - Right now, it's just a challenge not being able to be in-person. We're so used to being able to go to events, be in person, have that energy. But what has been refreshing, is that students have adjusted nicely to the virtual environment and it is nice to still do presentations, where participation is visible through a chatbox or video. We are looking forward to recruitment this fall and how campuses will manage in-person vs. virtual. 


JM - I would agree. It's just so much more valuable and really rewarding to see people in person. It's taking that relationship-building to the next level. Even meeting our students on campus and then being able to see them come on later as interns is something that we've missed out on this past fall. 


JB - How big is your campus relations team? How many Kellogg faces would we see out on campus? 


LH - Running our program, it is Jamie and me, and we have the support of our manager. We're a two-and-a-half-person team. In addition, we have 50+ volunteers internally that help us recruit, attend events and conferences, interview candidates, etc. We have a strong bench of folks that help us internally, as well as those who help support the programs within the functions. We have a whole team, if you will, that helps us do all of the work that we're able to.  


JB - Any other final thoughts you'd like to share or anything we haven't talked about that you were hoping to get a chance to highlight? 


LH - I'll share about how we ran our internship program virtually in 2020 and a little bit about what our program will look like for 2021. With the foundation of 2020, we had about a month and a half when we did shift our program to a predominantly virtual experience for interns last summer. Going into this summer, we are virtual once again, unless we had students who resided in engineering, manufacturing or R&D, and our sales students participated in a hybrid model. We've learned a lot from the last two intern cycles. Taking that information will be extremely beneficial as we think through programming for 2022. We have so many components to our Intern Program and have been able to elevate it, even through a virtual setting! The internal support we receive is incredible and we are just grateful.  


JM - The biggest thing is just pivoting as quickly as we did. We had excellent support of leadership. That was key to us being able to move the program; we had to have the support of all of our functions, all of our hiring managers who were going to host students, and have the flexibility to be able to pivot kind of on short notice. We are grateful to them, and grateful for their support as we move the program virtual for 2021. We're excited to take the learnings from 2020 and 2021 and apply them to 2022 to make this an even more excellent experience for our interns in the future. 

Faces on Campus is a weekly interview series highlighting members of MCEEA conducted by Joe Bamberger of Emerge Consulting. Be sure to follow MCEEA on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and MCEEA.org 

Connect with Liz on LinkedIn                       Connect with Jamie on LinkedIn

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