At Seaboard, we create career opportunities for select individuals that are passionate about working for a multinational company in exciting locations. We enjoy the challenges that come with operating a successful business with facilities around the world. Our team is made up of talented and diverse people that bring a unique blend of qualifications and experience to our company. The best way to learn about a career at Seaboard is to hear from our employees in their own words.
Brandi VanRoss, International Purchasing Director for Seaboard Overseas and Trading Group.
What is your job title and location?
I’m the International Purchasing Director for Seaboard Overseas and Trading Group, located in KC Corporate Headquarters.
How long have you worked for Seaboard?
I manage the international and domestic purchasing teams. A few of our purchasing processes include the acquisition of machinery for our flour and feed mills, packaging for our products, and ingredients and additives for the production of flour.
We work with more than 500 vendors worldwide and we give our guidance and advice to all of our locations and affiliates to handle logistical issues and understand custom practices; we work with more than 22 countries across the globe.
We also have special projects, which vary significantly; they can go from helping set up purchasing and shipping procedures for a new business acquisition, to transporting medical supplies to our clinic in Matadi at the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to rebuilding our flour mill in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.
What is your history/career path with Seaboard?
I joined Seaboard in 1994 as a Communications/Mail Coordinator, and quickly became an Administrative Assistant. A couple years after that, in 1997, I started my career in the Purchasing Department as an Assistant. In 2002 I became a Purchasing Agent, and two years later I was promoted to Purchasing Manager and in February this year, I became the Director of Purchasing.
What do you enjoy most about working for Seaboard? There is too much that I love about Seaboard Corporation to be able to narrow it down to just one thing. The people and upper management are fantastic by far, I feel like the hard work I put in is for something bigger than myself. Seaboard Corporation is a compassionate, supportive and proactive company that is run by a down to earth, approachable corporate management team. I have never felt the need to say that I hate my job…even when I was overwhelmed or frustrated, not many people can say that about what they do. When I walk through the Seaboard doors every morning, I smile inside because it is my home away from home in so many ways.
What’s your favorite story/memory about working for Seaboard?
One of my favorites is when I traveled to Africa for the first time. I was able to visit several flour milling facilities and a bakery in the DRC and Kenya. I attended the annual Mill Manager’s Conference in Nairobi, Kenya and felt proud to be part of the group. During the conference we also participated in a baking flour milling class, where we grind the wheat into flour and we tested its quality. It was a great learning experience getting to know the product we sell.
During this trip I was able to build stronger business relationships with the overseas Operations Managers that I’ve only worked with via email, meeting them in person made a big difference in our way of doing business.
What important values do you think Seaboard delivers on?
Values I see every day are loyalty, integrity, teamwork, respect, and the quality of our products and services.
What surprised you most about your job? When I first started my career at Seaboard, I never anticipated staying so long; I was fresh out of college and didn’t know what I wanted to be when I ‘grew up’. I was surprised at how many things Seaboard was involved in both domestically and internationally, and I didn’t expect to work my way up to a position that has ultimately provided me with a career that I absolutely love. I embrace the challenge and the adventure it brings every day.
How do you spend your free time? What do you like to do in the city where you live? Outside of work, I spend time with my husband and two teenagers as much as possible (as well as my dogs, Pluto and Penny, whom I adore very much). We are avid movie goers but can also get lost in Netflix while binge watching a new show or catching up on a past season. I am a huge nerd when it comes to Fandoms and Cosplay as well. My family looks forward to going to Planet Comicon in Kansas City every year. It has become a three day marathon event for us. I even dress up for the event from time to time.
I published a children’s book in 2007 entitled “My Son is an Alien!!” I learned that writing, publishing and copyrighting a book is much easier than marketing it. I didn’t do it to get rich or famous; it was a coordinated effort to help my son work through a difficult time of social anxiety, extreme bullying and trying to figure out where he fit in. It was a labor of love that I will always be proud of.