Meet some of the members of our recruiting team, your first points of contact during the Hormel Foods hiring process.
Director of Talent Acquisition
Amy Sheehan feels fortunate to play a role in attracting talent to the company and belief of the company’s purpose statement of “Inspired People. Inspired Food.™” And Hormel Foods is equally happy that Amy came on board in 2008.
A native of Chicago, Amy is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Stout. She began her career in public relations in Orlando, Fla. After a few years, she returned to her roots in Chicagoland, where she accepted a new challenge: a position in the human resources field as a recruiter. She worked for Ernst & Young LLP and the American Dental Association before joining the Hormel Foods team. Since then, she has served as corporate recruiter, supervisor of recruiting and manager of talent acquisition, her current role.
Amy unwinds (and celebrates her team’s many successes) by cooking, being active and spending time with her family.
Manager of Talent Acquisition – Experienced Hires
The importance of his role as a corporate recruiter has been top of mind for Andrew LaFaver since day one with Hormel Foods. It’s the job he was hired for; the job that keeps him “constantly learning and gaining exposure to different aspects of the organization.” The fact that he’s surrounded by a fun and supportive team makes him even more grateful he paid close attention to his own recruiter when joining Hormel Foods in late 2019.
For Andrew, a good day at work starts with a hot cup of coffee and consists of interviews with interesting and engaging candidates, not to mention an accepted offer or two. When he’s able to welcome a new-hire to the company, Andrew’s pretty much living the dream.
He loves to embrace new experiences – food, events, activities – and traveled to 13 countries throughout Europe and Asia after receiving his bachelor’s degree in international business from the University of Missouri. These days, Andrew is happily settled in Rochester, Minn., and enjoys rooting from afar for his favorite St. Louis sports teams.
Manager of Talent Acquisition – Entry Level
Makinna Lee’s interests and activities are second only to her passion and energy – for animals, football, cooking, community service, traveling and – well, you get the picture. She came to Hormel Foods in 2018 as a member of the company’s nationally recognized internship program. After finishing up the last of her classes at Kansas State University (home of her beloved Wildcats), she became a full-time member of the production team at the Hormel Foods Austin (Minn.) Plant.
As a manager of talent acquisition at the Hormel Foods Global Headquarters in Austin, Makinna is living proof of the career opportunities offered at the award-winning organization. She is constantly looking for challenges, and Hormel Foods has always come through. That’s important to someone as competitive as Makinna. (Even her chocolate chip cookies are extraordinary!) “The sky’s the limit here,” she says.
Two things Zach Haas loves to mention are his beloved Purdue sports teams and the fact that he was born on Christmas Day. Throw in something about the Minnesota Vikings, and you’ll likely have a conversation that can go on for hours.
Zach began his career at Hormel Foods as an operations intern, joining the flagship Austin (Minn.) Plant immediately upon the completion of his industrial engineering and management degree at Purdue University. From there, he moved to the Cincinnati (Ohio) Sales Office and finally, to the human resources team at the Hormel Foods World Headquarters (Austin, Minn.).
An avid snowboarder and softball player, Zach also enjoys hanging out with family and friends. As a corporate recruiter, he handles internship positions for the Retail and Foodservice sales and marketing teams, along with our corporate functions.
Hillary Grennan’s story is one that’s often told at Hormel Foods. During her college years, she was accepted to the company’s highly regarded internship program, which led to full-time employment and a series of exciting opportunities, from quality control to her current one, corporate recruiter.
Hillary is from Rock Falls, Ill. She attended Iowa State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in business management with a concentration in human resources. Her previous roles at Hormel Foods have included: associate quality and process control supervisor, and quality and process control supervisor at Progressive Processing (Dubuque, Iowa). She was promoted to her current role in August 2022.
Hillary is a fan of traveling, being with family and friends, and working out. She also is an animal lover and a foodie, yet another reason she knows she’s in the right place.
Corporate Recruiter – Experienced
If Robin Kopel had a superpower, she would like it to be healing. Instead, she’s content being inspired every day by people, endless learning, individuals’ skills and experience, and Grow Talent opportunities for team members. What gets her going each morning is knowing she’s part of a company that places people first; one that allows her to share her passion and talent via school outreach.
Although she moved to Minnesota many years ago, Robin still calls Wisconsin home. (Yes, she is a Green Bay Packers fan living and working in Vikings territory.) She is a graduate of University of Wisconsin-Stout’s hotel and restaurant management program and spent 10 years in the hotel industry prior to joining the Hormel Foods human resources team more than 23 years ago.
Leisure travel is a must for Robin, and Greece has recently risen to the top of her list. “Too much to see, and so little time,” she laments.
Corporate Recruiter – Entry Level
When Meredith Lippert speaks to job candidates about the benefits of working for Hormel Foods and Jennie-O, she brings some serious credibility to the table. Meredith has been part of the team for more than 17 years.
She signed on in 2006, accepting an offer to be a human resources representative for the Jennie-O segment. Three years later, she was promoted to a corporate employment and affirmative action role, which challenged her and provided her with opportunities to develop her skills and career. In 2020, the HR teams restructured and Meredith joined the talent acquisition team as an associate corporate recruiter. In 2022, Meredith was promoted to a corporate recruiter for Hormel Foods. Before joining Jennie-O, Meredith was an assistant manager for Walgreens.
A graduate of Minnesota State University, Mankato, Meredith holds a bachelor’s degree in business management with a concentration in human resources. Away from the office, she enjoys reading, gardening, traveling and spending time with family and friends at the lake or around a bonfire, activities that perfectly balance her busy days at Jennie-O.
Talent Acquisition Specialist
Michelle Lilly loves to help people get to the next level, and as a talent acquisition specialist for Hormel Foods, she’s in a perfect position to do that. Michelle has been with Hormel Foods since 2017, joining the company from Chicago, Ill., where she had a successful decadelong career with BP, a $164 billion global energy company.
Passionate about diversity, equity and inclusion, Michelle sought and/or accepted special assignments at BP that were designed to deepen DEI understanding and implement programs to strengthen the company’s commitment to it. In addition to holding a bachelor’s degree in accounting with high honors from Langston University in Langston, Okla., she regularly brings her professional background and leadership skills to volunteer positions with a wide variety of organizations.
When she’s not working or donating her time and talent, she is very likely at home binge-watching TV shows with her husband.
Merrsadiz Smith is a native Midwesterner who came to Hormel Foods right after her graduation from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.
She launched her Hormel Foods career as a team leader at the Rochelle (Ill.) Foods location, learning firsthand about production and leadership, and our production professionals who are the foundation of our company. Merrsadiz developed a love for precooked bacon during her time at Rochelle Foods – and who could blame her?
After a year and a half, she was ready for a new challenge, and true to form, Hormel Foods had one for her. Merrsadiz accepted the position of corporate recruiter on the experienced-hires team, her current role.
When not helping others advance their careers, Merrsadiz enjoys cookouts, hikes and spending time with her friends.
HR Recruiting Clerk
You have to get up early in the morning to keep up with Gina Tracy. She’s full of energy for her favorite rock group – Bon Jovi – and her beloved professional baseball franchise. (Hint: It’s the one up in Minnesota’s Twin Cities.) She loves to travel – Hawaii and Ireland are on her bucket list – and most of all, she can’t get enough of her 3-year-old son.
Gina is a graduate of Riverland Community College in Albert Lea, Minn., with a degree as a legal administrative assistant. She already had a well-established career when she joined Hormel Foods. She was the general manager of a well-known restaurant, where she honed her valuable people skills, all of which she puts into play in her current role. In fact, Gina is quick to tell everyone that working every day with her team is the best part of her job.
As for the best part of her life, that’s easy. It’s hanging out with family that gives her the greatest joy.
Anya Bienhoff loves to meet new people, a quality that makes her job as onboarding coordinator a perfect fit.
Anya began in a temporary role in April 2022. While researching jobs on the internet, she found a short-term position with Hormel Foods through an employment agency. She applied “on a whim,” landed the role, and two months later, became an official part of the Hormel Foods team. “I’m loving every second of it,” she says.
When Anya’s not saying hello to real-life folks, she’s getting to know them in the pages of the scores of books she devours annually. She plowed through more than 180 last year; this go-around, her goal is 200. She has other hobbies as well. “Artsy stuff is good,” she says. “I like to draw, paint, sculpt, sew, crochet, knit.”