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Follow Your Heart

Katie Gabrielson | May 9, 2018

People | Pride of the Jersey

Ines Centeno on why following your heart sometimes leads you right where you were meant to be

Having a big heart is not the only thing that Ines Centeno possesses. She is also the definition of “what else can I do?”

Ines Centeno

“Ines will stay late, start early, and has canceled vacations to ensure goals are met. She takes great pride in her work at Lloyd’s Barbeque Company,” says Jane Hanson, team leader II at Lloyd’s.

Ines came to the United States from El Salvador at the young age of 24. She and her best friend were looking for a better life and decided on Los Angeles as their new home. Ines obtained a job as a babysitter and proceeded to teach herself English.

“I learned English when I came to the United States,” she says. “I remember thinking I will never learn to speak English, but if I don’t try it, I will never learn.”

Journey To Lloyd’s Barbeque Company

Ines did try and she did succeed which is just another example of her go-for-it attitude and determination. Ines came to Minnesota and Lloyd’s Barbecue Company by following her heart, Jose, her then boyfriend in California. She recalls her family telling her she was crazy for following him to Minnesota, not knowing at the time that Jose would one day be her husband. Ines and Jose set up their life in Minnesota and began to search for work. That is when a friend told them about Lloyd’s Barbecue Company. Ines applied and was soon hired to become a member of the team. Not just any member of the team, but one who has inspired everyone around her for the last 22 years.

“Not only does she inspire others with her kindness and generosity here at work, she will do the same for you when faced with a challenge outside of these four walls. If you are out of the plant for some reason, you can expect a phone call, card, or a personal visit from Ines, or a meal if you are in need,” says Jane.

When Ines is asked why she received the honor of the Pride of the Jersey, she lets out a sweet giggle and says, “I think because I am here every day and maybe because I work hard.”

Ask anyone she works with and you will know that she received the jersey for more than just that. Ines is always growing talent at Lloyd’s Barbecue Company by helping train new team members and helping them speak English. Ines is helpful and always has a positive attitude. She can brighten anyone’s day with just a glimpse of her smile.

“I like to help train people because wherever I go, I like the people, and I want to make their lives easier,” she says.

At Home With Ines

Ines and Jose have two children, Lucy who is 18, and Josue who is 12. Since Ines and Jose moved to Minnesota several other family members have come to live here as well. Jose became a United States citizen in 2000 and Ines joined him in March of 2015. When Ines is not at work, she is spending time with family and whipping up her mother’s famous tortillas and chicken soup. You may also find her dancing around while she’s cooking.

“I love to dance!” she exclaims when asked what her favorite hobby is. “Twenty years ago, I was a great dancer. Right now, I don’t think I am, but I still try.”

Ines has demonstrated exactly what the term Inspired People means to Hormel Foods. Her positive attitude and willingness to help are things we should all strive for in our day-to-day duties.

It’s amazing the things that can happen when you follow your heart. Just ask Ines.