From Starbucks to Nestle

Man....let me first say that the first 2.5 years of my career has been one helluva journey!  My first job with Starbucks was with Teavana, where I worked on the marketing for the Teavana retail stores and after just over a year - we closed the stores; meaning I lost my job.  I was lucky enough to land on the team that stayed and closed the stores, then ended up getting promoted and moving into the Starbucks CPG business.

My role in Starbucks CPG was very different from my first marketing job and I had a lot to learn.  My manager was amazing throughout this time in understanding that I was embarking on something new where the learning curve was steep, but he believed in me.

I had to learn data analytics, the Consumer Packaged Goods industry, and sales strategy and operations all at the same time and I was overwhelmed.  I didn't know how to articulate my frustrations at the time, but I'll tell you this - I thought I was in over my head at the beginning.  My entire team worked countless hours and are considered high performers in the business.  From where I came from - I was a high performer, but in my head I needed to get to their level and I needed to get there fast.

So, I worked my butt off.  I started going into work early, staying late.  Staying attentive and taking notes in every meeting to make sure I didn't miss anything; while also connecting with colleagues to understand their part of the business better.  After about 3 months, I was still not picking up on the analytics.  It was frustrating and quite frankly, there were times where I wanted to stop and quit.

Even though I wanted to quit, I had this feeling that if I was patient with myself and put all my effort in learning, rather than mastering it, then I could get it.  And there it was!  I went back to my roots in sports.  If I was messing up my back pedal - then I had to go back to basics and take it step by step; so I applied that to learning data analytics.  I took the learning step by step.

After I felt like I got a good grip on it, I even took it a step further and enrolled in a course through Harvard Business School to get certified in Business Analytics and passed in just a short 8 weeks!  Now I can confidently say that my analytical skills are one of my strongest skill sets in corporate America.

I say all of this, as I was talking with my VP after some crazy news came out.  Back in June, Nestle announced that they were going to purchase the CPG aspect of the Starbucks business for $7.2B dollars.  That's right - BILLION.  And that's the business that I work on.  But what does that mean for me?  That meant that after a transition period, then I would have to work for Nestle.

After hearing this, my VP and I sat down to chat and I asked him what he believed I should be focusing on to make this transition easy.  He told me quite simply, "the hard skills - that's what will matter the most." So, I went to work.  I went to refine my skills in analytics to ensure that if anyone had a question, they knew who to come to (me).  I was so driven to work through this and make sure that I continued to move forward in my career.  Now, even though I went to hard to work.....it wasn't easy emotionally.

So you're telling me that in less than 3 years, I'm going to close a business and then have to go work for another company?! I had all of the emotions running through me at this point.  "Should I try and go to another company? Should I stay?  I never thought I'd be working for Nestle....  This could be a great opportunity!  Maybe I can move internationally?"  Literally - all the feels.

After doing some research on Nestle and understanding them as a company and their company culture - I got really excited!  I get to work with the same people I've gotten to work with and that was the most important thing to me.  Plus, I get to continue working on the Starbucks brand, so that's an added plus too!

To be 24 and have gone through these experiences is a blessing.  Many people don't get these in their career and I get to share them with you.  I have some big news about my career coming out soon!  Who knows, maybe I'm moving on up up up!!

Cheers y'all!

-Chase