A fortuitous path to Festival Foods for Human Resource Management grad, Sarah McKinnon

Sarah McKinnon
Human Resources major Sarah McKinnon find her way to UW-Green Bay and a job before graduation with Festival Foods

Sarah McKinnon ’22 admits that while in high school, she focused more on showing horses competitively than preparing for college. With scholarships out the picture she knew she would have to work to pay for college. Luckily, Festival Foods needed someone with McKinnon’s desire to succeed. Her entry-level job there, turned out to be fortuitous to her future.

“College was always the goal, but it wasn’t easy to get there,” she says. “I had a conditional admit, starting at UW-Manitowoc (Now UW-Green Bay, Manitowoc Campus).” It was there that she proved to herself that college was manageable. She transferred to the Green Bay Campus in year two, and found a passion for business.

“My leaders at Festival allowed me to assist with payroll while our human resources manager was on a short term leave of absence. It was that moment that I fell in love with HR.”

“I felt lucky to be able to find my passion early on in my college career. I was more excited when the news came out that UW-Green Bay was creating a major in Human Resource Management. I started planning out my long-term schedule and everything was aligning, then COVID hit. Like many students, I struggled with the transition to online classes. I felt like I wasn’t going to get the college experience. I made it through the rest of the semester feeling confident that I could handle online classes, even though I would miss out on the college experience.”

In December 2020, she started searching for an internship. I applied for the competitive recruiting intern position and started in mid-January 2021! In that position, she successfully helped staff two new stores, four acquisition stores, and our other stores, along with sourcing, sponsoring, and connecting with the Support Office and store leaders! And in November, of 2021, when a full-time position came up as recruiting coordinator, she became a full-time associate.

“I knew it was going to be tough to finish out my last semester working 40 hours a week, but also taking a full course load of 15 credits. Thankfully, all my classes were offered online, so I could continue working. I knew that I was in a career that I loved which pushed me to finish out my bachelor’s degree on a strong note.” That blip during Covid? It actually made her stronger in the end.

“I am excited to share that I was one of the many hired before graduation, but I would not have been able to do it without the family, friends, and co-workers who stood by me through it all.”

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