How I Got Here: A Young Professional’s Career Journey To a Job She Loves

Today’s post is written by Melanie Tom, a graduate of University of California, Riverside.  She’s a Manager, Social Recruitment & Employment Branding at Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market, Inc. 

After graduating early from the University of California, Riverside, I found myself facing the first of many inevitable post-grad hurdles, student loan payback. Strapped for work and with the deadline looming, I resorted to asking my fellow college friends for job leads. Little did I know how much this one action would change my life. It was then that a fellow sorority sister introduced me to a 6-month post-graduate program at Disney Consumer Products. Even though I lacked the business and creative credentials that most of their positions required I didn’t hesitate to apply.
I was offered an internship with their HR department, and the rest is history!

Here is about my career journey and how I got here.

An Internship at Disney

I wouldn’t be where I am today if not for my experience at Disney, so, it goes without saying that I’m a firm believer in the value of internships. There’s no better way for recent grads or current undergrads to get their feet wet in the workforce! The transition into the working world can be frightening, and internships work as a natural stepping stone- providing insight to what a job may entail without any full commitments. My internship opened my eyes to a career that has since become my passion.

A New Opportunity 

This past April, I left Disney to join the team at Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Inc., a West Coast-based grocery with a strong commitment to fresh, wholesome food. The culture at Fresh & Easy is unlike any I’ve ever experienced.  While many companies are all talk when it comes to mission statements, Fresh & Easy acts on their belief that the workplace should be rewarding.  I’ve had countless opportunities to grow both professionally and personally.
Through company-sponsored training courses that range from development to leadership, the exposure I’ve been given is amazing! In the short time I’ve been with Fresh & Easy, I’ve not only been promoted, but, I’ve gained project management skills, worked on two different HR teams, and created standard operating models for our HR Service Center. The breadth of experience to which I’ve been exposed is far more educational, enticing and developmental than my last four years in the workforce combined.A Job I love
I currently manage Social Recruiting and Employment Branding for all of Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market, Inc. My responsibilities include branding Fresh & Easy as an employer of choice, ensuring I’m engaging our audience with relevant job/career advice and publishing opportunities via all our social media channels for our Home Office, Retail, Distribution Center and Campus Manufacturing facilities. I am a social media junkie and LOVE that I can combine what I normally do for fun, as my job.

My Advice To Other Professional Women

My advice to other professional women starting their career journey is to define what success looks like to you and go for it! It’s different for everybody. For me, it’s about doing what I love but maintaining the equilibrium between my work and personal life. Sure, it’s a tough balance, but I’ve found that, with a little bit of time management and organization, it’s more than possible!  And here’s a quote I live by:

Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”

-Albert Schweitzer    

What is your definition of success and your advice to other professional women starting on their career journey?

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