American cellist Yo-Yo Ma once said he shies away from five-year plans, preferring instead to keep his learning curve as high as possible. The same might be said of Erika Budorick. She could hardly have sketched out or even predicted her path these past few years, but it’s been fulfilling nonetheless.
“It’s been a very crazy five years,” Erika laughs.
Getting married, having a child, changing jobs and moving over to Hormel Foods last year add up to more than she could have imagined back in 2017. So does receiving the prized Pride of the Jersey award, an honor reserved for those team members who embody the Cultural Beliefs of Hormel Foods.
“She is the team’s project manager and leads all minor and major projects for the team,” says Jaynee Dykes, a senior brand manager who focuses on the newly integrated Planters® and Corn Nuts® brands at Hormel Foods. “She … has seamlessly led the team through the transition with existing projects and has kicked off our first ‘official’ project in the Hormel Foods system.”
Among the projects Erika has shepherded are the new sweet-and-spicy (aka “swicy”) variety of Planters® peanuts, the brand’s first reveal under the Hormel Foods banner, and a packaging change for peanuts. Seasonal items are also within her purview.
“It honestly was so shocking to me to receive the jersey, Erika says. “This company does such an exceptional job with recognition. It feels so much more personal than anything I’ve ever experienced before.”
It feels so much more personal than anything I’ve ever experienced before.Erika Budorick
Erika was raised in Michigan and completed her studies at Purdue University in Indiana, earning a bachelor’s degree in industrial management with a minor in Spanish. Her first job was outside the food industry. She joined Kraft Heinz, the former owner of the Planters® and Corn Nuts® brands, in 2017.
She and her husband, Owen, tied the knot several months later. Just as they were getting ready to welcome their first child into the world, Erika learned Hormel Foods would be acquiring the brands in the largest such deal in its history. In fact, when she returned from her maternity leave after giving birth to Sadie, she worked for Kraft Heinz for four days. The sale closed on her four-year anniversary.
“When it was first announced, the thought of change was really scary,” she says. “But it has really worked out for everyone. The team gets along really well.”
Not that there’s been a lot of free time these past few years, but when there is, Erika likes to walk and play tennis. She’s also fond of her new company and what’s on the horizon, even if they weren’t part of her original plan.
“It’s a great company to work for, and it’s an awesome team. We’re really excited about the direction we’re taking these brands in.”