Monday, February 19, 2018

'Schwan's People You Need To Know'

Xi’s career took an unexpected path to right where he wanted to be

"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

Feb. 19, 2018 — For most, careers don’t always go exactly as planned. This holds true for Schwan’s Managing Attorney Scott Xi.

Scott grew up in a small village in China and attended the country’s police officer university. His original plan was to major in English and become a foreign services officer, but that all changed in college when he met his future wife.

Now, he lives in Minnesota and works in Schwan’s legal department, where he serves on the leadership team for Schwan’s Consumer Brands, a business that sells branded foods to retail stores. He also works on contracts, mergers and acquisitions, and many other legal matters for teams throughout the organization.

“I enjoy the challenges and uncertainties that the subject of law presents; I enjoy it even more when I understand the law and apply legal principles to day-to-day business decisions,” Scott said.

Scott, who joined Schwan’s six years ago, recently talked with us about his career at Schwan’s, his favorite products and his day-to-day activities.

Q: Tell us about your career journey here at Schwan’s.

A: I started as managing attorney, responsible primarily for Consumer Brands and managing the commercial law team. Besides supporting Consumer Brands, I have learned about all of our other business units over the years and enjoy working with a wide range of cross-functional teams. I did a lot of work in mergers and acquisitions prior to joining Schwan’s, but I have not had many opportunities to do this here until recently when we acquired Mama Rosa’s, Better Baked Foods and Drayton Foods. It is exciting work and even more exciting to see our company grow.

Q: What’s your favorite memory in all the years you’ve worked here?

A: Shortly after I started, I did a ride along with a route sales representative in Schwan’s Home Service. His interactions with the customers really made a deep impression on me. We delivered at an elderly couple’s house. Both were in wheelchairs and they smiled big when they opened the door. We stocked the products in their freezer and the route sales representative even put a container of our soup in the microwave for them to have for dinner. They were so appreciative and thankful. It made me feel proud.

Q: How have you grown in your career?

A: In supporting Consumer Brands and being on the leadership team, I have learned a lot about the business and the challenges and opportunities we face on a daily basis. More importantly, I have learned from the people at Schwan’s. They have taught me to be a better listener, to think more strategically and to be more resilient.

Q: What’s your typical day like?

A: I am not sure if there is a “typical” day. But, at a high level, my day consists of working on contracts, during which time the phone would ring or colleagues would stop by with questions on contract disputes or how to ship products outside of the United States, etc. From that point on, it is difficult to know how the day will progress and end. Typically, I would walk out of the office at the end of day feeling very good about what I accomplished.

Q: Schwan’s is a founding partner of the Minnesota Super Bowl 52 Host Committee this year. Are you a football fan?

A: Only for the last 10 years or so. I grew up in China where soccer is called “football,” so I didn’t know much about what we call football here. I would watch it here and there, and with the help of my late father-in-law, I gradually began to understand the game and watch it more often. Eventually, I became a fan and love the games.

Q: Which team do you hope makes the Big Game next year?

A: The Vikings, of course!

Q: What is your favorite Schwan’s® food to serve at your Big Game party?

A: Chicken wings and pizza.

Q: What’s your favorite Schwan’s® product?

A: Crispy Chicken Breast Strips for my lunch salad, Signature™ Marinated Salmon for dinner, Shrimp Spring Rolls for snacks.

Q: Do you have any recipes you are a master of that you would like to share?

A: It is what I call the chicken potato bowl. I use our Creamy Mashed Potatoes and Crispy Chicken Breast Strips (or the Hot-and-Spicy Chicken Breast Filet if you like it bold), topped with our sweet corn and whatever flavor of gravy you like (I like chicken flavored gravy).

Q: What are you most proud of throughout your career at Schwan’s?

A: During our cultural journey through the last few years, I have noticed a drastic difference in how our cross-functional teams work together. We now speak our mind easily, raise questions and challenge one another, so that we can accomplish our goal as a company.

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

A: We collaborate as one team toward one common goal. This principle helps us align our actions when we face differences in opinions, timelines and resources.

Q: What do you like about our culture?

A: The genuineness of our people.

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