Vhonda leads with authenticity to inspire the next generation of hospitality leaders
When it comes to enhancing McCormick & Company’s early talent programs, Vhonda pulls from her over 21+ years in the company, holding roles in customer support, HR operations, employee communications, talent acquisition, and more. As a former school teacher, she innately knows how to take the lessons she’s learned and share them with the next generation of leaders. Her passion for DEI led her to be a founding member of the African American Ambassador Group at McCormick.
Read on to learn how she’s helping shape McCormick’s early talent programs to help internships turn into full-time careers shaping the food industry's future.
Why are you passionate about recruiting early talent or increasing DEI?
As a former school teacher, the desire to assist others is innate. I get energized by helping talent navigate and overcome obstacles that I’ve faced in my life and sharing what I’ve learned. For example, I wish I had more networking experience prior to starting my first job. Now I can build programs to ensure early talent can take advantage of networking opportunities.
What do you think sets McCormick apart regarding early talent recruitment programs?
I’m very excited about the early talent programs at McCormick and the opportunity further to enhance the program through McCormick's Internship Program. The talented individuals that matriculate through our pipeline are the company's future leaders, so it’s important that we invest in their development early.
Our internships are paid, and they work on real-time projects for 10 weeks while gaining invaluable experience. Upon completion of the program, many graduating seniors receive full-time employment offers, which is a great opportunity for inspiring young leaders.
What are the biggest opportunities for your industry, and what can Gen Z bring to the table to help with that?
Filling niche positions is one of the biggest opportunities for the food industry. The next generation of leaders can fill the gap by majoring in areas of study that are in high demand and require specialized training.
What’s one of your favorite early talent hire success stories?
I get excited when early talent hires are just as energetic and excited to work for McCormick as McCormick is to extend an employment offer to them. I enjoy recruiting and witnessing the progression of new early talent hires. McCormick's Internship Program is a remarkable pipeline to mold and develop such talent. I’m excited to be a part of such a dynamic and impactful team of professionals!
What excites you about building a workforce for the future?
When I look at early talent today, I see myself 25+ years ago. I share tips and words of wisdom that I wish someone had shared with me earlier in my career. I’m excited to serve on a high-performing Talent Acquisition Team responsible for finding top talent! It is energizing to know that I’m hand-selecting top talent to serve as future leaders. I do not take this honor lightly and work hard to make decisions that are fair and ethical.
As candidates move from pipeline to hire, what strategies does McCormick use to ensure early talent is attracted to your brand?
At McCormick, we seek the best-qualified talent to fill high-demand roles. We engage candidates, share success stories, and give them a glimpse of what it is like to work at McCormick. Most candidates are impressed by the company's corporate sustainability, community involvement, DEI efforts, and the tenure of seasoned employees.
What advice would you offer other leaders looking to improve their brand with in-demand talent, early talent, or Gen Z?
My advice is to practice what you preach. Candidates will research and pursue an employer that aligns with their personal values, skills, and beliefs.
Join us in congratulating Vhonda on this exciting recognition!