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Monday, November 18, 2019

Schwan's Women Leading Forward

“Schwan’s Women Leading Forward” is a mini series of stories about some of the leaders who help make Schwan's Company and its subsidiaries a great place to work. 

Blaschko reflects on her journey at Schwan’s

Nov. 18, 2019 — For Jennifer Blaschko, an important part of developing in her career has always been finding a way to focus on leadership skills and building strong relationships. Luckily, she said, she has discovered many opportunities to do this at Schwan’s Company, whether through internal development courses created by the company’s learning and development team or by learning from executive leaders who’ve openly talked about their career journeys.

“There are a lot of ways to get engaged and grow in your development here,” Jennifer said. “In my current role at Schwan’s, I’ve used these opportunities as an investment of time in myself as a leader, which I believe has made a positive impact on how I engage with others across Schwan’s.”

Jennifer joined the Schwan’s team about two years ago as a senior project manager, where she was responsible for one to three medium-sized projects at any given time. Early this year, she was promoted to the role of director of program management and initiatives for the Information Services team.

Jennifer recently answered the following questions about her experiences at Schwan’s:

Q: What are you passionate about in your job?

A: I have always been passionate about the why behind the action or decision. In my role as our team looks at new project opportunities, technologies and business processes, I am always thinking about the “why.” Why are we doing this? What benefits does it bring to our company? And, is there another option or path we could explore? What I really want is to ensure we are spending our time and dollars in the best way.

Q: What is a typical day like in your role?

A: A lot of my day is spent supporting my team, and every day can look a little different. Some days I am working with team members on breaking through roadblocks in their current projects and offering guidance. Other days it is discussing what their career paths look like and how I can best support that.

Managing our overall IS portfolio is another key role for me. This will span from financial analysis and ensuring we are spending our time and money efficiently to planning for the future by understanding what projects might be coming into IS from our business units and planning for the right staff to support those initiatives.

Q: What career advice would you give to your younger self?

A: Own your own development and take time to think about what that means and what you want your path to be. It doesn’t have to be an overwhelming 10-year plan. I recommend starting small and thinking about what your role is for the next quarter, then the next year and so on. Most importantly, find a partner or mentor to keep you accountable to this plan.

Q: What do our company vision and values mean to you? How do you demonstrate them in your day-to-day work?

A: Our vision and values are the foundation for how we interact with each other and with our partners. They give us a common language that we all use and hold each other accountable to. Having this as a set of shared values allows us to challenge each other if we are not meeting up to those standards and celebrate the successes when we see people demonstrating them in their words and actions.

Q: At Schwan’s, we talk a lot about work as one team. What does that mean to you?

A: It means that no one is here for the glory or solo recognition. We attack a challenge, project or opportunity collectively. Through the collaboration of different perspectives and a cross section of team members we come up with the best way to handle the task at hand.

Q: How would you describe the culture at Schwan’s?

A: That it is the real deal! I have worked in organizations where we have had several “flavor of the month” type of culture campaigns and it leaves employees heads spinning a bit and without much desire to embody it because it likely won’t stick around. I have been so impressed with how at every level of the organization people truly live the words on the paper.

Q: What do you like best about the culture?

A: I think that we do a great job of selecting people to join our team that fit within our culture. It’s the people here at Schwan’s that make the culture great!

Q: What are you most proud of in your career with Schwan’s?

A: I’ve had the opportunity to be involved in some very interesting work at Schwan’s. I was the IS project manager for Edwards Dessert Kitchen, where we were tasked with ensuring EDK had the right technology for their business. That went from running the physical cabling, to selecting and installing the point-of-sale system, all the way down to the overhead music. It was a unique project for our team and a great way to partner with the product innovation and development team. Our IS team was committed to do whatever it took, and we were able to ensure EDK opened its doors ready to serve their guests. It was very rewarding for all of us to see the space transform and a source of pride knowing we had a small part in it all.

Q: What is your favorite food product from Schwan’s Company?

A: I have favorites in every category, but if I had to pick an OVERALL favorite it would probably be the Red Baron® Brick Oven pizza. In our house with two teen boys, pizza is served at least once a week!

Q: What are you most looking forward to in our company’s future?

A: The endless growth opportunities ahead of us. We have always had he potential for strong growth but becoming part of the CJ CheilJedang family has opened doors to new customers, products and innovations that I think are so exciting. I can’t way to see what’s to come!

Friday, November 8, 2019

Feeding America® receives $165k grant

Nov. 6, 2019 — In support of Feeding America’s efforts to help end child hunger and enable high standards of food safety across its network of member food banks, Schwan’s Corporate Giving Foundation recently presented the national organization with a $165,000 grant. The funds will be distributed to 10 Feeding America® member food banks in the communities of company employees.

Recipient food banks include Atlanta Community Food Bank in Atlanta, Georgia; Freestore Foodbank in Cincinnati, Ohio; Great Plains Food Bank in Fargo, North Dakota; Houston Food Bank in Houston, Texas; West Ohio Food Bank in Lima, Ohio; Feeding South Florida in Pembroke Park, Florida; Philabundance in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Second Harvest Heartland in St. Paul, Minnesota; Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma in Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Kansas Food Bank in Wichita, Kansas.

In 2018, Schwan’s Corporate Giving Foundation presented grants to these same food banks, which helped provide 237,188 pounds of food – the equivalent of 200,502 meals – to people facing hunger in their communities. The meals provided helped programs such as backpack and school-based food pantries.

The previous grant also supported food safety efforts at several of the food banks. For instance, Feeding South Florida installed a new safety door at the warehouse and Houston Food Bank sent employees to Food Defense training. This training gives employees more power to understand and control food safety efforts within the food bank.

To learn more about Feeding America and its efforts, visit

Schwan’s Corporate Giving Foundation is an independent 501(c)(3) charitable organization focused on efforts to end hunger, promote youth education and leadership development, and provide essential services that advance the health of the communities where employees of subsidiaries of Schwan’s Company live and work. The foundation is headquartered in Marshall, Minnesota.

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