Her first management role? At age 20 during a deployment to Kuwait. Meet Cargill veteran Liz Lindskoog.
Read Time: 3 minutes
November 11, 2022
In high school, Liz Lindskoog was supposed to talk her friend out of joining the Minnesota National Guard.
The plan backfired. Somehow, they both ended up enrolling.
Today, Liz smiles over the memory. The Cargill Global IT product manager is celebrating more than 20 years in the service, a journey that’s included leading teams as a 20-year-old in Kuwait, serving as a convoy truck commander in Iraq and, most recently, helping Afghan refugees resettle in the U.S.
We caught up with Liz to learn more about what she’s learned from her time in the service and how she continues to juggle two careers — Cargill product manager by day, military service member by night.
Q: What was your upbringing like? Who inspired young Liz?
I grew up in Columbia Heights, Minnesota — or “down in the cities,” as my grandparents called it. They took care of a farm up north. I remember watching them as I tended the garden and feeling a sense of awe — the work wasn’t for the faint of heart. But because my dad was a farmer, Cargill was a household name for all of us. I always had my eye on Cargill.
Q: Today you’re a product manager at Cargill — it’s come full circle. How did you get here?
When my high school swim mate asked me to talk her out of joining the National Guard, we both ended up enrolling. We needed an education and the National Guard would allow us to do that. I was deployed within a year of graduating high school to Kuwait, helping with transportation services before being deployed to Iraq five years later as a convoy truck commander. I ended up serving over 20 years. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago I tried my hand at civilian employment.
Did you know?
Inside our workplace, Cargill has an employee resource group dedicated to supporting veterans and military service members. One of nine business resources groups for our 155,000 employees, the Veterans Military Support Network (VMSN) recognizes, supports and encourages U.S. military service members, veterans and their families. The group also focuses on recruitment and retention, meeting the unique needs of veterans in the workforce. Learn more about Cargill's diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.
Q: What did you take away from your military experience?
I was leading people at the age of 20. Nowhere do you get that kind of experience. I felt a deep appreciation for what I had learned, the education I had and the communities I belonged in.
When I came back home, I went and got my degree at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota before my tour in Iraq. After that second deployment, I wanted to give back to students like myself. I decided to go into recruiting.
At the same time, I went back to school to get my MBA, and I was recruited by Xcel Energy to work as an associate product manager. Balancing the two was key — I ended up switching over to the U.S. Army Reserves, which is where I serve now in their emergency preparedness liaison office.
Q: What has it been like balancing the U.S. Army Reserves while working for Cargill?
When I got the position here, I was asked to help with Operation Allies Welcome — a program resettling Afghan refugees coming to America. I was new here, so I was nervous to ask my supervisors, but when I did, they gave tremendous support.
They knew serving was bigger than us — there was no question about doing it. It made the difference in balancing the two responsibilities. I ended up nominating them for the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Award, and they received it.
The U.S. government created the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Award in 1972 to recognize companies and supervisors supporting service members and their families. Cargill received the award earlier this year after Liz nominated her supervisors who supported her while she fulfilled her duties for Operation Allies Welcome at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin. Learn more about the award.
Q: Is there a common thread between your time in the military and your time in the civil sector?
The military taught me how to lead people coming from a wide variety of backgrounds, how to manage different relationships. I learned quickly how to be okay with picking a direction and moving forward. So I bring that patience and understanding every day here at Cargill.
This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity and brevity.