Friday, August 26, 2022
Like many of my peers, I started my career through Mondelēz’s Early Career Program. I remember where I was when I saw an email titled “Congratulations Ruben Colon Velazquez from Mondelēz International!” show up on my inbox. This was my first official Summer Internship offer from any company, and I was overwhelmed with so many emotions. Excitement, of course; a company of this caliber wanted me to work for them. But also, nervousness; it was the first time I would spend so much time away from home in what would be considered a foreign country for me, since I was born, raised, and educated in Puerto Rico.
“Am I good enough to succeed at a program like this?”, was the main question in my head. Even after I happily accepted the offer, I still felt so concerned about my performance and all the things that could potentially go wrong over the Summer.
A few months elapsed and I was finally here, and what an experience it was! From the very first day, I was made felt at home. I had a dedicated “Buddy” that helped me with adapting into my role and the company; a wise mentor who, just like me, was from the Latinx Community, and empowered me to bring my full self to work. Finally, I had a committed manager who genuinely cared about my development; he wanted me to get the most out of this experience and challenged me to become more comfortable being uncomfortable.
Beyond a great support team, I also got to connect with fellow interns who, to this day, are still some of my closest friends. I got to truly experience the Mondelēz Culture; I volunteered at our company booth for Pride at Asbury Park, and I also joined a Mondelēz Volleyball Team for a Summer League. Not only was I evolving professionally, but I was also having fun. So much fun!
Eleven weeks came and went like it was nothing. By the end of the program, I had built a solid network of peers and leaders who truly wanted me to succeed at Mondelēz; I had worked on a business-critical project regarding training for Sales employees on fact-based selling, and I got to present it in front of key Senior Leaders. I truly felt like a Mondelēz employee, as the Early Careers Team made sure to put together valuable programming to get us more immersed into Mondelēz.
Naturally, when I received a full-time offer to join our Sales Leadership Development Program upon graduation, I accepted with no hesitation! Mondelēz had done such a great job in making me feel valued; I knew this was a company that would celebrate my contributions and encourage me not to only have a seat at the table, but to also use my voice. I was also so touched by the Early Careers Team; they truly went above and beyond to create a program with enriching experiences and delicious moments of joy.
Flash-forward to 2020; five years after my summer internship, I became the Early Careers Program Lead myself. In a true full-circle moment, I went from Early Career Talent to Early Career Leader. I was so inspired by the team that put together such an outstanding program for me and my peers, that I wanted to do the same for the future intern generations.
What I enjoy about my role is that I can pull from my own internship experiences to make sure I am tailoring a program worthy of the talent we recruit; a program where students can get true professional growth but also a fun, memorable experience.
One of the reasons why I am still at Mondelēz is the lack of professional ceiling; there are so many opportunities at my disposal to grow and evolve as a Leader. I have been fortunate to work with individuals who are truly invested in my development and potential; I know many of my colleagues feel the same way.
I have come such a long way from my 2015 Summer Internship, and it has all been possible because of Mondelēz’s invaluable commitment to Early Careers. I am eager to truly live those values, and play a hand in bringing our next Leaders through our Summer Internships, Co-Op Programs and Management Trainee Programs.