Xavier Unkovic is the President of Amy’s Kitchen, a family owned, privately held company founded in 1987 that manufactures organic and non-GMO convenience and frozen foods. Amy’s Kitchen employs around 2,400 people in California, Oregon, and Idaho and their products are sold all around the country. Prior to Amy’s Kitchen Xavier was the Global President of Mars Drinks, a company known for brands like M&Ms, Uncle Ben’s, Dove, and Orbit.
When asked how he was able to make his way up to the president of a company Xavier said it was a combination of hard work, great mentors and coaches, a love for the work he is doing, and the ability to surround himself with great people. He says being a leader is not about knowing it all.
“I keep saying to my managers, when you go to school, we teach you at school to have all the answers and it’s pretty damaging when it comes to the future at work where at work, it’s not about having the answers, it’s about providing the answers together. Not you, as a manager, having all the answers for your people but working it out with your people, being all together, working towards a solution, not having all the answers yourself.”
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A lot of people wonder how to find the right job, one that they will enjoy, keep them engaged, and one that will allow them to fulfill a purpose. Xavier believes a big part of finding the right company to work for is defining your personal self purpose–why do you believe you exist? What makes you happy? What do you strive for? If you can define your self purpose it will be a lot easier to find the company and the role that’s right for you.
But what if you don’t know what that purpose is yet? Xavier shares that he didn’t find his own driving purpose until he was 40 years old. He said in order to get to that point he had to put his thoughts and emotions down on paper and he was able to use his time at the job he had at the time to define, grow, and develop that sense of purpose before ultimately finding Amy’s Kitchen.
He also said he had some fantastic mentors who helped him through the process of finding his purpose and passion in life.
For people who don’t have a sense of purpose in their current role or at their current company, Xavier suggests, “If you’re not happy, do something, for sure. Quit, I don’t know. But do something. Try to really understand which company will make you strive. Sometimes it’s not about the company, it’s about the boss. Sometimes you can be in the right place as a company but you don’t have the right manager. So my advice when it’s the case of the manager, is try to have a conversation with the manager. Often, people quit because they believe the managers do not care about them and they don’t invest into the relationship. My advice would be, sit down with your manager and tell them how it’s impacting you. If the case is your manager is engaging you and not the company but I would definitely give the advice to everyone to select the company they want to work for, not just go for the paycheck. Life is too short, life is too short.”
What You Will Learn In This Episode:
●Xavier’s leadership journey and how he became president of a company
●Why finding your personal self purpose is so important
●The story behind how Amy’s Kitchen started
●What to do if you don’t find purpose in your current position
●Why Xavier never starts his day by reading emails
●What Xavier does when an employee comes to him and says they are not fulfilled at work
Links From The Episode: