Bayer Scapes
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Bayer Scapes

A Late Bloomer’s Obsession with Blooming at Bayer

By Emerson Gant-Fleener, Customer Logistics Representative III, Business Services, Bayer U.S.

Stop #2 on my quest for Innovation and Bayer international career development (far left)

I was a late bloomer, understanding a little later in life that education was fundamental to the career I wanted to pursue. I always believed you had to be a student of life, but getting my MBA in International Business provided me the discipline and skill set to put my plan in motion.

I knew of the great opportunities a company like Bayer could provide from a family member with 20+ years of service, so I started applying to openings at Bayer’s North America headquarters. It took time but I didn’t get discouraged. In July of 2015, I landed a position in the Administration and Operations group with Bayer’s Customer Logistics Center in Indiana.

Late Bloomer Blossoms at Bayer

I soon realized my new team had bigger plans. We were set to transition contract administration from New Jersey to Indiana. Our task: Eleven weeks to get our group’s contracts moved. Between flying to and from these locations and living out of a suitcase, I got my first taste of travelling for business and I was hungry for more.

Before I continue with my story, here’s some very necessary advice: If you’re an individual early in your career who wants to travel, abroad or domestically, make your desires very clear through your company’s development planning process, conversations with your manager and accountability for delivering on development opportunities.

My first manager knew my aspirations and sensed I was ready for something more. And what timing, along came the 5x5 Start Ups program in São Paulo, Brazil. I was always interested in innovation and startups so this was perfect. As a bonus, I got my second taste of business travel and my first extended stint abroad.

The 5x5 project took five weeks and involved five Bayer employees from five different locations throughout the world. Not much time, but being a student of life, I wanted to learn. Sure enough with the teachings and program design, we completed the task. What a wave of opportunity this trip would bring next.

And the Blooming Grows …

After returning to my position as Analyst II, I was riding a wave of new knowledge and skills.

In late 2017, I took on the role of Customer Logistics Rep III in our grocery channel for the US Consumer Health (CH) business — handling large national accounts and gaining unprecedented knowledge about our US CH business.

The year had passed and 2018 was here with new challenges and opportunities for Bayer and for me. In February, our 5x5 team was awarded the 2017 Digital Innovation Award for digitizing operations and, with that, a celebration in Germany. During this second trip abroad, I had the opportunity to sit alongside our board member and Digital Excellence Committee members.

Networking Nurtures the Bloom

I always knew networking was important to a successful career. During our awards trip in Cologne, I was invited to a group dinner by our 5x5 coach. At a traditional German restaurant over schnitzel and a kolsch beer, we talked about our passion for innovation and my desire for more experience abroad. I had grown so much professionally and as a human in my short time with Bayer, and I wanted more. Eventually this networking led to a short term assignment (STA) in the Digital Health group.

Back home, Amazon was continuing to change the way we do business. I knew I could help with our internal transformation. I began to lead our team as Lean Champion as we pushed our continuous improvement efforts forward. We successfully changed the culture of our team and implemented direct fulfillment through Amazon for one of our product lines.

Again I need to make it clear that open dialogue with my current manager and clear development planning enabled the next stop in my journey. I’m currently in Berlin on another STA. I’ll be here through 2018 as a member of our G4A team, preparing for our biggest time of year.

I see my last three years as a “test and measure” strategy for my professional career; first, I tested business travel domestically, second abroad for a short time and now my third test is an extended stay in a location that’s not my home town or country (I am originally from California).

During my journey at each stage, I tested to see if my passion was unwavering for an experience abroad and for innovation. I would have to say, so far, so good! Bayer and I have put these opportunities in front of me and I can’t wait to see what is next. I will be forever grateful to everyone who saw something in this late bloomer from the start of my career at Bayer just three years ago to today.

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