Impact in Action: Kyle Griffith
Just two months into his fresh produce career, Kyle Griffith says, “I’m working toward my dream job, meeting all kinds of people, learning stuff every day, and moving at a faster pace than I’d thought. I absolutely love it.”
“I was able to get a job because of the connections I made at Career Pathways,” he says. As a California State University Fresno student, Kyle participated in the 2018 program. That’s where he crossed paths with Brian Cook, President of Pete's. Brian shared his diverse career path as part of a panel discussion, and his story connected with Kyle. “He sparked my interest because of the sustainable type of company he worked for. But what really impressed me was Brian himself. He talked about his beginnings and how he worked hard to get where he is today. I really felt I could learn the industry from him.”
Brian has served as a Career Ambassador and Career Pathways presenter nearly since the program’s beginning in 2004, and he says he’s impressed by how engaged and interested the students are in learning more about what we do. “They ask me how to get into the industry, and I always tell them, ‘It’s not just follow up, it’s follow through’ — not just a thank you, but persistence in staying in touch.”
Kyle did just that. He sent thank-you notes to several people he met at Career Pathways, including Brian. “He did that so well; he called me three times. I told him we weren’t hiring, but I could connect him with other people. He said, ‘You don’t understand: I want to work with you.”
That persistence got Kyle invited to spend a half day job shadowing at Brian’s company that November. Afterwards the two made a plan for Kyle to join the company after his December graduation. Kyle started on the customer service team, so he could learn the business and work his way into sales. “A lot of people would like to be in sales, but they don’t really know what it takes,” Brian says. “I wanted him to get a good foothold in the business and give him the tools to be successful in his sales career.”
Kyle’s experience is just one of the many opportunities that are provided to companies in our industry that connect with our Career Pathways participants. For us to continue to educate new young talent on career opportunities, we look to our industry to provide charitable support to fund these programs. If you are interested in supporting the bright young talent connecting to produce and floral please make a gift to the Industry Talent Fund.