Employee Profile

Kristiaan S.

Name: Kristiaan S.
Title: Auditor, Corporate Audit
Career Area: Administration, Sales & Commercial
Location: Minnesota
Education: Maastricht University (NL) Msc. International Business Studies

“No single day is the same – every day presents new challenges which keeps the job life exciting. It’s very rewarding to work with so many different people in different cultures coming from all over the world and working on projects together.”

Halfway through my two-year trainee program, at a watercooler conversation someone mentioned a possible project in Russia. Because of the remote location, they had issues finding employees. I knew this was a perfect opportunity to jump in and get my chance at an international project. I had to work real hard to get up to speed with the other colleagues, but I was able to join the project and I worked/lived in Russia for 1.5 years, an amazing experience and successful project. My team even received a recognition letter from David McLennan then CFO, now our CEO, which was very rewarding!

Describe your work responsibilities and the importance of your role.

As the IT Business Partner for our Business Unit, I am representing their interests in the Global IT corporate function. We try to put the IT projects that bring the right value at the right time, watch our budget, connect to our key-stakeholders on business and IT side. Our goal is to see how Global IT can help the business thrive focusing on enabling processes, data and technology in a broad sense. IT is not just desktop and servers, bits and bytes, but using it in a way that it adds real value.

Describe your day-to-day activities and the skills needed to perform well.

Face-to-face meetings with my primary business stakeholders like our Financial Controller, supply chain leads, key-users of the important business applications, allow me to listen to their requests and keep them informed of what is going on in Global IT and the progress of their projects. Conference and video calls with other colleagues from Global IT around the world to get the required information that I can communicate to my business stakeholders. Travel to production locations to speak to plant managers about their needs and their experiences with IT. To perform well, is essential to truly listen to the people but at the same time also influence them and manage their expectations about what is possible and what not and the consequences of the decisions we make together.

Describe your career path.

Where did you start and how did you get to where you are today? In 2006, I started as an IT management trainee in the IT team that implemented our primary business application (ERP) across Europe. In the middle of that I became project consultant on a sizable project in Russia where I worked for 1.5 years; after that I helped with several implementations throughout the rest of Europe. In 2011, I went to the business side as business analyst and two years later I became assistant IT business partner for our Refined Oils and Cocoa & Chocolate BU. Since 2014 I am the IT business partner for our business in Turkey which is also covering sales operations in Middle East, North Africa.

What do you find most rewarding about your work?

No single day is the same – every day presents new challenges which keeps the job life exciting. It’s very rewarding to work with so manydifferent people in different cultures coming from all over the world and working on projects together.

Why did you choose to join Cargill and what keeps you here? In other words, how has a career at Cargill helped you to thrive?

When I joined Cargill in 2006,I knew nothing about them, basically I chose them for the exciting description of their management trainee program, which turned out be true. Also, the size of Cargill led me to believe there will be many opportunities. And indeed, looking back I am very happy and satisfied with the opportunities that came along my path which allowed me to grow professionally as well as personally.

What advice would you give someone interested in a career at Cargill like yours?

Don’t hesitate. If you don’t try you will never know – get out from your comfort zone and see what you can achieve. It’s hard work sometimes, but if you give a lot you can take a lot out of it.

Share an interesting tidbit about yourself such as hobbies, volunteerism, favorite foods or activities, accomplishments inside or outside of work.

In the last nine years, working for Cargill led me to ten different countries, from Netherlands to Russia to Ivory Coast and now in Istanbul Turkey – what will I have seen in nine years from now?!