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My Year in Amiens, France
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My Year in Amiens, France

I had the privilege of attending Nestlé Purina’s annual Human Resources Conference for the fourth consecutive year. This year was a little different. It also happened to be the first week I returned to United States residency at the conclusion of a 12-month mission assignment in Amiens, France. I was especially grateful to be surrounded by the familiar faces of my HR family after a year away.

I began my career at Nestlé Purina in 2012 as an Employment Branding Specialist. From there I became a Talent Sourcer, followed by a Recruiter, and then an Organization Development Specialist. I was aware of Nestlé Purina’s global scale and the potential for international assignments for many years. It took time, patience, persistence, and agility to finally land the role.

Agility also happened to be the theme of the HR Conference. Without agility, I would not have seen these doors of opportunity open up within my short career so far. The company encourages and rewards agility. Our leaders always emphasize the importance of owning your career by taking initiative and trying your hand at new challenges whenever possible. Each of the conference speakers approached agility from a different perspective, providing a range of valuable messages. Four days, six pages of notes, and three happy hours later, the threads of agility lessons were woven together.

Many books were referenced at the conference and two in particular shot to the top of my must-read list. The first is On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You’re Not by Robert A. Burton, M.D., which discusses the neurological experience of certainty. The second is Ego Is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday which illuminates the detrimental effects of the ego and the successes which come into reach by defeating it.

These messages were perhaps so impactful after living abroad, an experience which erased my certainty and hushed my ego. However, I don’t think everyone needs to live in a foreign country to embrace these concepts and discover new possibilities by practicing agility. In a conference exercise, my colleagues brilliantly defined agility as not only being prepared for change, but also adapting to evolving circumstances and working with the expectation of uncertainty. In our increasingly complex environment, I am so grateful to work for a company that communicates the need for its people to be flexible and adaptable. Nestlé Purina also supports and recognizes those who are willing to test boundaries and do things differently than they have been done before. I’m confident that within this agile company I will continue to discover challenging, engaging, and rewarding opportunities.