2018 Smithfield Veteran Entrepreneur Retreat Recap

Posted by globalgoodfund on Nov 07, 2018

This year, The Global Good Fund launched our Veteran’s Leadership Program, in partnership with Smithfield Foods. Together, we’ve been able to provide personalized leadership development, executive mentorship, and targeted capital to invigorate the growth of six incredible vertan entrepeneurs. 

“The goal of GGF is to accelerate the leadership development of socially-oriented entrepeneurs, so this partnership is directly aligned with our mission. By joining forces with Smithfield, we identified veteran entrepreneuers who are making a difference in their local communities.”

– Carrie Rich, CEO of The Global Good Fund

On October 15, our veterans made their way to the Smithfield headqaurters in Virginia for a 3-day retreat with Smithfield Foods executives to promote learning opportunities and forge stronger connections to the company. They had the opportunity to personally connect with and learn from ~30 departments heads and noteably:

-Ken Sullivan, President and CEO

-Keira Lombardo, SVP of Corporate Affairs

-Glenn Nunziata, EVP and CFO

-John Pauley, EVP of Retail Sales

-Troy Vandenberg, Talen Acquisition Manager

These executives put together extensive presentations, shedding light on the larger scope of Smithfield’s operation. They touched on various initiatives like their movement into sustainability, their business model, their mission, and marketing and growth strategies. Some of our veteran entrepreneuers own businesses that are on the cusp of growing, so it was great for them to understand the importance of setting up a strategic plan, and analyzing opportunities against it.

“You can learn a lot through reading books, but there’s nothing like real-life experience. To ask these executives about some of their best practices, and to learn about obstacles they’ve experienced both personally and professionally – I walked away with a lot of tidbits.”

-Dan Caporale, 2018 GGF Veteran Leader, Founder of Hire Our Heroes

Without a doubt, the highlight of this retreat was Smithfield’s Innovation Center, a technologically advanced facility dedicated to developing new products. It’s where they brianstorm ways to bring products to the marketplace, exploring consumer insights and behaviors. In the photo above, Jeff Warner, VP of the Innovation Packaged Meats Division gives us a tour around the raw processing center- it was fascinating! 

“The Innovation Center, where Smithfield is coming up with new concepts, getting inside the mind of the consumer, is phenominal. The learning experience was second to none.”

– Fred Barnes, 2018 GGF Veteran Leader, Founder of TAC Integrated Solutions

We were pleased to learn about Smithfield’s hiring initiatives, and their goal to recruit 4,000 veterans. They’re one of the few companies that our veterans were familiar with that has an internal veteran responsible for attending hiring events and advocating for veteran hires, helping the company understand the immense capability of military personnel in the working world.

“From this experience, I hope these men learned that no matter how big a business, people is the number one commodity. Without the right people, and without the right assets in human capital, you can’t get anything done. I think we’ve really shown them that over the last few days.”

– Troy Vandenberg, Smithfield Talent Acquition Manager 

Our veterans were incredibly grateful to immerse themselves in this offsite retreat. Between networking dinners, interactive workshops, and educational presentations, they look forward to applying learnings from this experience back into day-to-day entrepreneuer life. Thank you, Smithfield, for having us!