Senior Director of Operations Compensation and Benefits, Alex Lee
I started my first role on Aug. 3, 1981, as a cashier and bottle sorter. My family raised tobacco. If I didn’t want to work in the tobacco fields, I had to have a job. At the beginning, working at Lowes Foods was just about having an AC-ed place to work, where I wasn’t outside. Compared to the tobacco field, it was a piece of cake [laughs]. As of Aug. 3 of this year, I’ll have 40 years with the organization.
My experience with Alex Lee has been very rich and engaging. After working as a cashier, I moved to the bakery department. I did bookkeeping, worked as a guest service manager, and then helped to train other front-end managers as a special assignment. I applied for an office job in 1989 at Lowes Foods corporate and became a payroll clerk. It was around that time that I really started to put thought into what I truly wanted to do. My payroll manager role grew into a payroll benefits manager job. After that, I became very interested in the benefits part.
The Perfect Fit
From there, I worked as a HR MS Implementation specialist in the Alex Lee office. At Alex Lee, I became a benefits specialist, then a benefit/compensation analyst, then the manager and director of benefits and compensation, and now, senior director of benefits and compensation. I love what I do. It’s a great fit for me; the wellness side especially speaks to me. I love being an advocate for employees and hosts.
My time in the stores helped me understand the employee side, which helped me grow in the rest of my positions. Moving from Lowes Foods to Alex Lee allowed me to have exposure to the whole organization and how it worked.
Mentors Along the Way
Tom Fannin took me under his wing and exposed me to everything in the organization – he opened my eyes, which helped me figure out that I wanted to be in human resources. He also encouraged me to apply to the Alex Lee Education grant and finish my degree. It’s funny how people come into your life when you absolutely need them. I’ve learned a lot at the strategic level from Robert Vipperman. Gerald Davis, who was a president of MDI, was a mentor to a lot of people.
I’m a grocery rat! I grew up at this organization. It’s been the one constant in my life. It’s a little strange to think of it like that, but it really is like family. So many people were like honorary parents at my son’s wedding [laughs]. They’ve always had my back.
I grew up at this organization. It’s been the one constant in my life.