Commodities Future Leader
REAL-WORLD INTERNSHIP LEADS TO FULL-TIME CAREER
College students work hard towards a goal: securing that dream job. But how do you know if you will genuinely enjoy the work? Internships give students a glimpse into what a career might be like before graduating.
At Didion, our mission is to provide meaningful internships for college students. Our interns work alongside chemists, microbiologists, and food engineers, gaining real-world experience. Nowhere is this focus on development better seen than in our internship programs. Time and time again, our interns are given the trust and responsibility to take on tasks that they might not get with other companies, which prepares them for a future at Didion.
Drake Bliss is one of many success stories from our internship program. Drake found Didion’s internship to be significantly different from his past internship experience at a grain elevator. Joining Didion as a Commodity Procurement Intern from Kansas State University, Drake’s duties included calling producers and buying grain.
“My internship helped me grow as a professional,” said Drake. “I was given free rein to work with teammates across different departments to increase efficiencies in grain origination, which helped me learn more about the business than I had expected. I saw pretty much every part of the business, and a lot of my classmates couldn’t say the same thing about their internships when we would talk about what we were doing in our companies.”
It’s no small feat, starting with a company far away from home, but Drake soon found his footing with his fellow interns.
“There were a lot of activities and events outside of work that helped us get to know each other,” added Drake. “We were all far from home, so getting us together to bond was valuable. They wanted us to feel like a family, and by the end, we really did.”
After graduation, Drake joined the company full-time as a Commodities Future Leader.
“I’m still calling producers and buying grain, but I’m also taking on leadership tasks and additional training so that I can continue growing my career. I’m constantly challenged to find improvements around me.”
It wasn’t just the day-to-day tasks or the prospect of growing his career that convinced Drake that Didion was the place to start his career.
“It was the people,” said Drake. “Everyone is ambitious in the grain department, and they’re always looking to move things forward. We’re all trying to keep improving, and it’s encouraging to have people like that around me.”
Drake’s advice for college students who are interested in coming to Didion? Come hungry.
“Be ready to work and learn!” he said with a laugh. “Hungry is one of Didion’s core values, and I see the company live up to that every day, so I would advise an intern to be prepared to hit the ground running and be a driver of change.”
As a Leader in Training, Drake is given a clear path for reaching his career goals and is given guidance along the way.
“The flexibility in roles at Didion is incredible. I can go to my People Leader and say, ‘Hey, I think I’m interested in this other part of the business. Can I learn more about it or do a job shadow?’ and know that my interest will be taken seriously.”
So, what’s next for Drake? “There are so many opportunities to grow! It makes me want to stay at Didion.”