TN Leadership Council Embodies Core Values
If there’s anything that the past year has taught us, it’s that small acts of kindness can go a long way. Whether they were delivering groceries to someone in quarantine, helping a co-worker find daycare for their child so they could continue working or checking in on a friend who lost a parent to COVID, kindness and compassion are two things that the TN Leadership Council has become known for.
Comprised of six employee leaders—Raul Romero-Gonzalez, Denia Perez-Barron, Sostenes Hernandez-Badillo, Flor Rodriguez-Garcia, Rogelio Cruz-Bracamontez and Orfael Bojorquez Higuera—the TN Leadership Council provides support and resources for Iowa Select Farms’ employees.
The TN visa program allows for professionals of in-demand professions to come to the United States from Mexico or Canada. Equipped with degrees in animal science, agricultural studies and agricultural engineering, Iowa Select Farms has been honored to welcome these specialized positions to our farms in recent years.
According to Kerry Sweeney, Iowa Select Farms’ HR Director, the TN Leadership Council has helped us get better as a company. “Not only have they created a bridge to the HR team, but they’re also outstanding members of their community, regularly volunteering and stepping up to help in unique ways, and I do mean unique as they have been thrown a wide variety of requests, tasks or problems and they always work find a solution or ensure that help was delivered to those who needed it” she said. “As leaders, they help with communication to their peers and play a big role connecting people into the Iowa Select Farms culture and company.”
For Rogelio, helping others is a true joy. “I am just grateful for the opportunity to welcome new employees into the Iowa Select Farms family,” he said. “It’s rewarding to pass on the knowledge I’ve gained in the past five years to new employees and help them succeed.”
Denia finds serving on the TN Leadership Council, a position that she was elected by her peers to hold, very rewarding and strives to represent all TNs to the best of her ability. “We know what it’s like to leave family and everything that you know behind in pursuit of new career opportunities,” said Denia. “To be able to help our peers assimilate into the community and life in the United States, whether it’s directly or indirectly, is a huge honor.”
Raul loves the opportunity to help others feel while working alongside and learning from fellow leaders. “It’s an honor to work with the TN leaders who are just incredible people,” he said. “They are always going above and beyond to help others, which is what I try to do in my own community. Helping others feel more confident at work and in their daily lives is very rewarding.”
“I’m so proud of this group and all that they do to help our employees,” said Carolina, HR Specialist. “This was a trying year for everyone, and our TN Leaders stepped up in a major way to help their peers. There has never been a time where they’ve said ‘no’ when I needed help. They are very selfless individuals and make such a positive impact on the company.”
Orfael, the newest employee to join the Council, enjoys the opportunity to work alongside employees and make them feel welcomed and encouraged as they adapt to life in the US. “The start of something new can always be complicated but serving as a TN Leader allows me to show my coworkers that we can be resilient and turn adverse situations into opportunities to grow,” he said. “Together we build a community that is here to support, uplift and encourage one another.”
The council meets quarterly with human resources and members of senior production leadership to share thoughts and ideas about how to best support our TN employees. Prior to COVID, the Council would plan holiday celebrations, organize sports leagues, propose policies to better serve employees and help with the onboarding of new employees. In lieu of restrictions on large gatherings, the Council has been working harder than ever to find unique and socially distanced ways to interact with their peers.
“Thanks to Facebook, Zoom and cell phones, our TN leaders haven’t skipped a beat when it comes to checking in our new employees to see if they need anything,” explained Carolina. “They have become a steady, reliable resource for our employees, whether at work or helping someone acclimate to a new community. I love how they work together, are active and extremely engaged in everything they do.”
Sostenes is usually the first one to reach out to new employees in his work area, eager to connect and provide support. “I enjoy being one of the first people to interact with a new employee and welcoming them into our company and community and to me, a leader is someone that shows their coworkers every day how important it is to work together,” he said. “They motivate their team to do their best and help whenever needed—things that I have tried to do my entire life.”
For Flor, serving on the Council is all about paying it forward. “Since I first started with the company, people who didn’t even know me supported me, simply out of the goodness of their hearts,” she said. “It made my transition much simpler and I will forever be grateful for the people who helped me, so I decided to pay it forward whenever I can. The Council has been the opportunity to give back what was once given to me.”
In addition to delivering meals, coordinating childcare and connecting employees with helpful resources, like EAP (Employee Assistance Program), the TN leaders helped find housing in their communities, provided transportation for groups of employees to DOT offices and other important appointments, delivered groceries or other necessities to the doorsteps of sick or quarantined individuals, purchased flowers and cards for employees who lost family members to COVID and overall, provided moral support for their peers.
The TN Leadership Council truly embodies our core value of People Care and we couldn’t be more grateful for this group of leaders and their servant hearts. Help us congratulate this outstanding group of individuals on their Select Care Excellence Award.