Monday, October 2, 2017

Schwan's People You Need to Know

Munkel talks about her 12-year career with Schwan's

"Schwan's People You Need to Know" is an ongoing series of stories that share some of our employees' experiences as we celebrate our 65th anniversary and participate as a founding partner of the Minnesota Super Bowl 52 Host Committee

Karla Munkel, audit and risk manager.
Oct. 2, 2017 — Karla Munkel's job title with Schwan's Company — audit and risk manager — may not sound like a thrilling adventure. But you'd be surprised at just how exciting her career has been over the last 12 years.

"We get to tour the entire company observing, learning and understanding different functions and risks," she said. "We have the unique viewpoint of seeing how everything comes together and how one area affects the next. We interact with all levels."

Karla first joined Schwan's as an intern with the finance department. During that time, she learned about the internal audit team and the work it does for the company. She said she liked her experience so much that it set her on her career path. After college, she accepted a position with another company, but she rejoined Schwan's in a full-time position a year later.

She recently took some time to tell us about her experiences at Schwan's, her secret musical skills and some of her favorite foods.

Q: Tell us something about yourself that most people don't know about you.
A: At one time in my life, I was musically talented.  I played piano for over 10 years and competed in contests.  I also played and competed in contests with the oboe and played the saxophone.  

Q: Tell us something about being an audit and risk manager that people don't know and might find interesting.
It's not all about the numbers.  The majority of our audits are operational audits. So while financial impact is a consideration, process, efficiencies, compliance and risk mitigation are all factored in to our reviews.  We touch on all areas of the company, and there is a huge amount of variety in our job. 

Q: What's your typical day like at Schwan's? 
A: Our audit work is project-focused. So, depending on where we are in the project lifecycle, we could be planning our next engagement, we could be onsite at one of our plants, depots, or outside warehouses, or we could be reviewing our findings with our team and management. 

Q: What's your favorite memory in all the years you've worked here?
A: My favorite memory was traveling to the United Kingdom for an audit.  We didn't have much time for sightseeing, but it was a great experience to be in a new place, meeting new people and experiencing new foods. 

Q: Tell us about your career journey here at Schwan's. 
I spent the first six years in our internal audit department focused on continuous-improvement efforts, cost savings and risk management.  From there, I moved into a business analyst role in marketing for our Home Service division. There, I dove deep into our sea of customer data to understand expectations, behaviors, promotion effectiveness and marketing impacts.  While in those roles, I spent time on the Home Service strategy team and as a board chair for our Young Professionals Network.  I returned to our internal audit department about two years ago.

Q: You have been at Schwan's for 12 years. How have you grown?
A: I've been fortunate enough to work with really smart people throughout my time at Schwan's. This has been instrumental in my development and growth both professionally and personally.  I've learned very technical skills of systems and software, but I also have learned about building relationships, communicating and leadership.  I've been challenged along the way — sometimes in ways I really enjoyed — and other times I experienced some growing pains. 

Q: What are you most proud of when it comes to your career at Schwan's?
A: I'm proud of the relationships I've made through my 12 years at the company.  People matter and each person has his or her own story, experiences and challenges throughout his or her life.  It's amazing to hear how people approach challenging situations and overcome them.  I'm proud that I'm not complacent; that I can be true to my belief system, have a voice and take ownership of my career. 

Q: What are you passionate about in your job? 
A: I'm passionate about being a change agent in my current role and finding ways to improve our business. 

Q: Schwan's is a founding partner of the Minnesota Super Bowl 52 Host Committee this year, which team are you hoping to see in the Big Game?
A: The Vikings

Q: What is your favorite Schwan's product to serve at your Big Game viewing party?

Q: Is that your favorite Schwan's product? 
A: It's hard to choose just one favorite. Ribs and Dry Rub Wings are among the favorites at my house right now.  My kids love the Sundae Cones, and they will even eat the broccoli!

Q: Have you mastered any recipes that you would like to share?
A: We like to take the Dry Rub Wings and add our favorite BBQ sauce to top them off.  You bake the wings first and then add the sauce; it makes for perfectly crispy wings!

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