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metroMAGAZINE

YPconnections

CONNECTING YOUNG PROFESSIONALS www.ready2serveomaha.org

NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION PROFILE

“YP” ORGANIZATION PROFILE

mutualofomaha

conagrafoods

contact lisa wadell lisa.wadell@mutualofomaha.com

contact maureen graziano maureen.graziano@conagrafoods.com

Formed just one year ago, Mutual of Omaha’s Emerging Leaders Network (ELN) has quickly grown to more than 350 individuals. The ELN -- one of the company’s Employee Resource Groups -- helps engage and develop future leaders by enabling them to expand their business knowledge, broaden their network and increase their involvement throughout the community. Rather than using traditional internal communication channels, the ELN has created a private LinkedIn group to communicate with its members. This allows the group to engage in conversation while networking with each other. The ELN regularly facilitates personal and professional development sessions to help associates better understand the business and corporate culture. Some of the sessions have included how to appropriately “brand” yourself. Because Mutual of Omaha has more than 3,000 home office associates and several niche business areas, the ELN determined it was important to find a way to connect individuals who wouldn’t normally interact with each other. This was done through a Coffee Talk networking program. Participants are randomly assigned to meet with two other associates on a monthly basis. Coffee Talk has helped break down walls, as well as align individuals with similar interests or expertise.

YOUNG PROFESSIONAL PROFILE

lukechristiansen

To support a culture that values workplace diversity, and to foster professional development, ConAgra Foods sponsors six employee resource networks (ERNs). The ConAgra Foods Young Professionals Network (CYPN) provides employees with less than 15 years of professional work experience, the opportunity to network, support company business goals and enhance personal and professional growth. Significant CYPN initiatives include creating a young professional recruitment video, leading educational sessions for managers and senior leaders discussing the Millennial generation, and providing input on new product innovation. The network’s members also help the company forge strong partnerships in the community, in the marketplace and with stakeholders. The creation of the CYPN is one of the many ways that ConAgra Foods demonstrates its commitment to providing young professionals opportunities that directly impact the business. This investment has resulted in increased employee engagement and recently being named a top 40 undergraduate internship program by Bloomberg Business Week. Based in Omaha, ConAgra Foods is one of North America’s leading food companies, with brands in 97 percent of America’s households. Consumers find Banquet, Chef Boyardee, Egg Beaters, Healthy Choice, Hebrew National, Hunt’s, Marie Callender’s, Orville Redenbacher’s, PAM, Peter Pan, Reddi-wip and many ConAgra Foods brands in grocery, convenience, mass merchandise and club stores.

UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD MANAGER - COLLABORATION SYSTEMS I currently serve as the president of Union Pacific Ties. The group exists to attract, develop and retain emerging professionals at Union Pacific Railroad through engagement in the company and community. The need for a group like ours was first identified at the 2008 YPC Summit. I noticed the positive energy that was generated by some of the other YP and non-profit groups. I felt like Union Pacific was missing out by not having its own organized group. Fortunately, I met a co-worker, Jenny Hamlin, that was equally as passionate about creating a group and making a difference at UP. We spent the remainder of 2008 planning the structure of UP Ties and working through the necessary corporate hoops. The name UP Ties was derived from the multiple meanings for the word “ties”. Ties can refer to neck ties that professionals often wear, rail ties that lay the foundation for our track, and our purpose of tying employees into the company and community. The group is founded on three pillars: corporate development, professional networking and community involvement. The group began, and has remained, inclusive in nature and open to all

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employees of Union Pacific. However, the target audience is employees relatively new to the company. In January of 2009, we launched UP Ties with a bang. Our inaugural year was filled with rapid growth, valuable company education events, fun networking events and partnership with Habitat for Humanity. Our events provide members with opportunities to learn about company structure and the rail industry, build a cross-departmental network, heighten leadership and communication skills, and donate time and money to local charities. I have personally learned a lot about the company over the course of my tenure as president. I have developed a larger professional network that has both benefited my job and made work more enjoyable. I have been given many opportunities to hone leadership and communication skills. I am very fortunate to work for a great company that values its employees and gives them the freedom to implement ideas such as UP Ties. Our executive sponsor, Lance Fritz, has been very supportive and helpful. The leadership team for UP Ties has been nothing short of outstanding. Much thanks to Lance and the leadership team. UP Ties is a win for the company, a win for the employees and a win for the community of Omaha.

metroMAGAZINE • MAR 2010

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