Nestle.USA
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Becoming the ‘Box Doctor:’ How I Forged My Nestlé Career to Help Lead on Sustainable Packaging

A packaging specialist on mentorship and career growth

Sustainability matters to me. I’m passionate about working on projects that will improve the planet for generations to come. To work on those projects, I’ve taken an unusual route — going from a career on factory lines to becoming a Packaging Associate Specialist.

One thing that’s been consistent as I’ve developed my career is the support of my peers, managers, and mentors. I’ve advocated for myself along the way, and the willingness of my colleagues at Nestlé to help me achieve my goals has been incredibly encouraging. Here’s the story of how I went from the factory line, to being known as the “Box Doctor.”

Discovering a Love for Packaging

I’d discovered my interest in packaging before I joined Nestlé, during a mechanical engineering internship. When I joined the Nestlé team, I spent 3 years working in 3 different manufacturing facilities — I did not have a desk job! I worked on factory lines finding solutions to any problems that may appear in the manufacturing process. During this time, I learned a lot about how different materials interacted and functioned on different packaging equipment.

We often say that packaging is a forgotten function, and that’s because a lot of people don’t understand the thinking that goes into making a piece of packaging work. That’s good — the less you have to think about food packaging at home, the better. It’s a fun challenge to create packaging that keeps food fresh and safe, while also having easy usability at home. It’s all about form meeting function.

Embracing Mentorship and Support

Advocating for your own career is scary — it means taking a step into the unknown and letting the people you work with know that you’re looking for a change. My manager actually asked me in a one-on-one meeting where I wanted to take my career, and I told him I wanted to shift to the packaging team. Not only did he say he understood, but he said he’d help me shape my current role in a way that would give me added experience in packaging.

He connected me with a colleague named Brandon, on the packaging team, who became a mentor on all things packaging optimization. When packaging projects became available, my manager made sure I was in a position to lead those projects, and I partnered with Brandon to build my skills so I could grow my career. This kind of support was incredible — it really felt like everyone wanted me to thrive and find the next great thing in my own career path.

Becoming the “Box Doctor”

My experience with my managers and mentors made me feel empowered and trusted, and that’s what led to me becoming a Packaging Associate Specialist today. My passion has brought me to place where I’m working on projects to improve the planet for generations to come — developing more sustainable packaging solutions that will make a real impact in the food industry.

I have a little sister, she’s started call me the ‘Box Doctor’, and she’s not wrong. I look at issues with packaging and find innovative solutions that will improve our sustainability footprint — it’s all about looking at what we’ll need in the years to come and finding the path towards that. For me, that’s an exciting challenge that comes with the added benefit of having the expertise and scale of Nestlé teams supporting my ideas.

I love working at Nestlé, because it’s a place where you’re empowered to make a real difference and drive results while also being allowed to think about your own personal career goals. I think every workplace should be like this one, where your managers and colleagues all work with you to help you gain new skills and bring your own unique perspective to work.

Next time you’re recycling the packaging from your favorite Nestlé product, remember that there’s a team here working to make it even better in the future.

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Kelsey Olivero

Kelsey Olivero

Packaging Associate Specialist at Nestlé USA