We believe in the power of career development and mentorship to transform lives and entire communities.
We talked with several Fellow alumni and heard about just a few of the ways that the ANY Fellows Program has transformed their lives. Our conversations covered their career journeys, personal hardships, plans to give back to their community, goals for the future and more.
This feature is part one of a series, “Meet Our Fellow Alumni,” for the 2019 Alumni Challenge. We began our series by interviewing 2015 Illinois Fellow, Brittany Buie.
2015 Illinois Fellow
Last year, we talked to Brittany just after she graduated from the University of Illinois – Chicago and just before she would start a full-time role at General Mills. We connected with her again to see what she has learned in her career over the past year and what she is looking forward to tackling in the coming year.
Currently, Brittany is finishing a Global Procurement Trainee Program as a Buyer for McCain Foods, the largest multinational french fry company in the world. She is the company’s only buyer in North American Contract Manufacturing and works primarily on project management and pricing models.
Brittany built resilience at an early age. She learned to take care of her older brother, who has autism, and manage her own hearing disability. Her ambition and perseverance led to success in high school and acceptance into college. Despite this success, Brittany says that she found ANY when she needed it most — as she began to prepare for the unknown world of careers after college.
“ANY offers the guidance and assurance that there are others like me. Young adults who have imperfections, but still want to hit the ground running in their careers. ANY gave me the hands on practice that I was looking for to further develop myself. But ANY gave me something even more valuable — my Mentor Coach.”
Brittany and her Mentor Coach, Ron, continue to stay connected a year after graduating from the Fellows Program.
When tragedy struck Brittany and her family this year, Ron supported her through necessary career changes. After the sudden passing of her mother, Brittany reevaluated her priorities. She declined her offer at General Mills, an opportunity she had been thrilled to accept just weeks prior but one that would place her in Minneapolis. Instead, she sought career opportunities in Chicago in order to stay near to her family during the difficult time.
“Ron worked with me to prepare me for interviews during the summer that would land me my new rewarding role at McCain Foods as a Buyer.”
While Ron is working full-time and attending graduate school, Brittany says that he makes time to support her.
“We’ve stayed close! He is always around to bounce ideas off of if I am unsure about anything. Although we live in different states now, we typically still see each other once a year in person.”
Brittany says that this year taught her to treasure the small moments and appreciate difficult moments for their lessons.
“When I make a mistake (and I have made many after college), I always recite a remark from my late mother, ‘Let this be your learning tree.’ Then I work hard to fix it. But it is my mistakes that I have learned the most from since college. They have made me stronger.”
Relying on her own resilience and support from the ANY network, Brittany has managed the difficult past year with grace. The future is bright.
“Hopefully, in the future I will be a business owner and receive my MBA before age 30. I hope to continue to give back and inspire others. I am planning on returning to volunteer with ANY!”