We're thrilled to present a guest post from Ali Ashley, a senior at St. Nobert College, who just finished a summer internship at our support office in De Pere. Here's what she had to say about her experience: As the summer winds down, I am quickly gearing up for my last year at St. Norbert College just outside of Green Bay. In one short year, I'll be entering the world as a college graduate with an HR degree with hopes of finding a position in my desired field and, to be honest, I’m terrified. While I have many classmates in the same boat, I’d like to think I have a few more weapons in my arsenal than most. Many of those can be credited to my time as a recruiting intern with Festival Foods. While I could write a novel about everything I have learned this summer, here are just three of my favorite things I got to experience: 1. I got to do REAL things. On my very first day as an intern I had the opportunity to dive right in and talk with potential candidates about this great company. I played an important role in the opening of our new store in Somers, which is in the southeastern part of the state, by helping interview potential job candidates to fill various roles. I also helped support other Festival Foods stores with their staffing needs. Even as an intern, I had the opportunity to think on my feet and offer my opinions in different situations. (And only once was I allowed to get coffee for the team -- and that only happened after begging them to let me do the “typical” intern duties for fun.) 2. I learned about great company culture -- because I was a part of it. Let me ask: At your workplace, do you say hi to every person you pass in the hallway? Do you say hi to every visitor who walks into your office building? Well, they do at the Festival Foods support office. Everywhere I turn here, someone is saying hello to me, even if they don’t know me that well, or at all. Eventually, I tried to be the first to say “hello” to anyone I passed, inside AND outside of work. The more I did it, the more it started to become a habit. In our stores, our associates do the same thing, and I now understand why they do it; sometimes a simple genuine acknowledgement can change someone’s whole day. At Festival, the little things are big and those acknowledgments aren’t hard to give and they're free of charge. 3. I learned the value of growth and development within a company, because Festival Foods walks the talk. One of the most frequently asked questions I get when chatting with people about our company is “Is there opportunity for advancement?” I always get to reply “YES!" One of the best things about Festival Foods is that associates want their colleagues to always improve -- even if you're just a high school student working part time, or an intern, like me. They want you to grow and develop not only professionally, but also personally. They have encouraged me to attend meetings, information sessions, webinars, you name it. It was all an effort to learn, become better and continue to build my resume and skills. The neat thing is, they get just as excited as I do when I learn something new. A few short months ago, to me, Festival Foods was just a nice, friendly grocery store. Now, however, Festival Foods means so much more. Festival is about providing a friendly environment for not only all who walk through their doors, but also for the surrounding community. Festival is about putting the needs of others ahead of your own. They know that by helping develop others, you will also see growth within yourself. Festival is a family of diverse, extraordinary individuals that have come together in the name of service (and great food). All of these qualities aren’t just unique to a grocery store, but in fact can be applied in every aspect of life. Once you get a taste of what it feels to live like that, it tends to be contagious. At Festival, it’s about the little things, and those little things that I learned along the way will hopefully set me apart as I prepare for the next chapter in my life. Thank you for everything, Festival! I can’t wait to see what comes next!
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