If you’re ever tempted to stereotype millennials as the “me generation,” give Megan Elliott a call. There’s a heck of a lot of “you” in this Gen Y’s way of thinking. In fact, she leads the community service side of HYPE, the Hormel Foods employee resource group that is working to attract, develop and retain young professionals. At the same time, HYPE – the acronym for Hormel Young Professionals Enterprise – works to encourage creativity and innovation, both of which position Hormel Foods for the future.
“Philanthropy is a big passion of mine,” says the brand manager. “I got a sense of it when I was in high school when I did projects with my church. In college, it became my choice.”
HYPE is involved in a number of community events designed to raise money and awareness for worthy causes. Plus, it sponsors the SPAMazing Race, which helps build a sense of community and highlight what local business in Austin, Minnesota, have to offer. Proceeds go to Project SPAMMY®, a company effort that is addressing malnourishment in Guatemalan children.
Connecting Through Food
Megan suggests that food is important on many levels to those in her age group. It’s necessary for survival, of course, and it serves another purpose that addresses where they are in their lives.
“We’re coming of age and hosting gatherings in our new homes and communities,” she says. “It’s what we do to connect and not miss our families so much.”
Many HYPE members are away from their home bases, she adds. For her part, Megan has put down roots in three towns in little more than five years with Hormel Foods. Inviting people over to share a meal is how she has learned to be happy in each new place.
As luck would have it, her penchant for cooking “anything and everything” is as strong as her commitment to community service. “My grandma cooks the most amazing Mediterranean food,” she says. “She sends me all of her special recipes.”
In addition, Megan does what seemingly all millennials do, taking to the internet and social media to get more recipe ideas to share with Matt – her husband of one year – and friends.
As well, she joins fellow HYPE members in helping to develop other millennials at Hormel Foods through speakers and programs that address everything from growing personal brands to applying to graduate school to buying a first home. Mentoring high school students is yet another way HYPE is giving back, Megan says.
“We want to help future young professionals and help position Hormel Foods as a best-in-class employer.”