Name: Amanda Reinert
Branch: US Navy
Service Dates: Midshipman JUN04-MAY08; Commissioned MAY08-AUG13
How was the transition from the military? Rough. I transitioned with a 2 year old and 6 month old and made the choice to transition directly to being a full time graduate student in a state other than where my family currently lived (for a number of reasons) and ended up geo-baching while my spouse remained on active duty. While my decision to get out at the time was the right one for me, it was so incredibly hard. I didn’t build in any time to adjust to a new life or to grieve the loss of my old role and all that came with it. I couldn’t sleep and ended up seeing a counselor at one of the VA’s Vet Centers. I credit her with helping me be able to finally sleep again and start to process and accept the alternative path I was on with my life and my career. I don’t remember the first year of my transition at all- it was a blur of trying to keep all my ‘plates’ spinning and getting a handle on my depressed and anxious mental state.
What would advise to other women that will be transitioning soon? Explore your options. The transitioning program the Navy had me go through (TAP) on my way out had some nuggets of good information, though most of it sounded like gibberish at the time to me. Think about why you are getting out, what your goals are (professional and personal), and consider what potential paths you would need to be on to achieve those goals. Also, don’t be afraid to get help when you need it. Struggling with anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other traumas on your own is unnecessary and inefficient. The stronger of a handle you get on your struggles, the easier the load is to carry as you work to move forward with your life. Getting help isn’t weakness- it’s a sign of immense personal strength.
Did you know what you wanted to do when you got out? Yes, but it changed. I spent a good bit of time investigating what direction I wanted to go when I got out, and eventually settled on a plan. Originally I was going to get my MS and PhD in my field and return home to VA and teach at the college level. Due to changing circumstances in a few areas, my plan changed ~1 year into graduate school and I instead was going to finish my degrees and move to Louisiana and work for the Navy as a GS civilian. Then the federal budget adjusted, so I had to leave the path I was on and find an alternative. That is the path I am on now.
What encouraged you to join the military? I come from a military family. My father, 3 uncles, a grandfather etc. all were enlisted in the Army and retired. I loved the Army and looked at joining but there wasn’t a solid program for me to get the degree I wanted through the Army, and at that time they wouldn’t let women drive tanks- which is what I wanted to do. My dad told me to consider the Navy since they have “boats and stuff” so that’s what I did. Turns out they had an opportunity for me to study what I wanted and shoot big guns (on ships).
How did you find job at Land O Lakes? I was a student at the University of Minnesota in their full time MBA program when I found out about Land O’Lakes. I was new to the mid-west, and had moved up here specifically for the military-friendly MBA program and the hopes of getting a stable job after graduation. While I was a student Land O’Lakes came to campus a number of times and they were recruiting for Marketing, Finance and Strategy roles primarily. Through my networking and research I knew that was the company I wanted to work for. After interviewing for a Strategy role, the Director of the team passed my resume along to her Supply Chain counterparts and told them they needed to interview me. The next day I was scheduling an interview to be a summer intern in their Supply Chain program. I did well during my internship, and as a result the team offered me a part time role while I finished my last year of school, and a full time role when I graduated.
When did you start? Are you in same position, if not what are you doing now? I started as an intern May 2019, shifted to part time Aug 2019, and moved to full time Jun 2020. I have remained on the same team (Strategic Analytics) in that time, though now I am also helping out another team part time while they are short staffed. The Strategic Analytics team is in the Logistics portion of the Supply Chain department. My role as an analyst on the team is to take various projects and requests, often for new tools to help the business run smoother or brainstorming and testing with data if a new idea will work, and work with the various business stakeholders to get the project accomplished and help provide them insights backed with data about their particular questions. In my additional role, I am also working with our Purina Finished Goods team in helping plan the movement of finished goods between our facilities to support our customers. I have been doing the role since Jan 4th.
What do like about working at Land O Lakes? So many things! First and foremost- I love my team. The work the Strategic Analytics team does for the various business units is important, and we are uniquely positioned and equipped to do the analytical work to help out the business. I love problem solving and helping people fix or improve things that aren’t as efficient as they could be. In addition to that, everyone (on the team and off) is so incredibly helpful, supportive, and genuinely happy to help. Cross functional team work is a normal thing, and its great to work in an environment like that. Additionally, it resonates with me on a personal level that the owners of this cooperative are farmers. I am the first generation not raised on our family farm, and it is a big deal to me that when I do my job well and the company does well, we are directly supporting dairy farmers in the US, not some remote investors on Wall Street. I believe that because of our roots and our ownership, the company takes better care of the employees. I didn’t have to ask for work life balance, the company clearly and directly tells everyone to take care of themselves and their families so they can be their best selves at work. The benefits, the policies, and the tone throughout the company around family and work are consistent with that message.