Koch: A Career Conversation with Kelli Durden

What motivated you to join Koch?
I was motivated to join Koch to find a company where I could grow as an individual, expand my knowledge and skills, and challenge myself. 

How does Koch convey to employees a sense of belonging?
Working at Koch is very fulfilling due to the family environment and endless opportunities to share knowledge with customers and coworkers. We are strongly encouraged to voice our opinions and share feedback, because we believe this will lead to a mutual benefit for both sides.  

In what ways has Koch supported your professional development and growth?
Koch encouraged me to try new career fields and different departments. For example, my first role was at Georgia-Pacific in customer service. Several years later, I transferred to a new role at INVISTA in supply chain, and now I am currently thriving in human resources at Koch Industries. This has helped me create and display my comparative skill set. This growth and development is what we refer to as ‘self-actualization’ which is one of our guiding principles. I am fulfilled in my new role because it aligns with my passions and comparative advantage.  

In what ways are you supported in maintaining a healthy work-life balance?
Leadership practices a healthy work life balance by stepping away for doctors’ appointments and encouraging us to use our vacation time and/or sick time. Additionally, allowing flexible work hours and offering hybrid or remote work environments. 

How do you know that you’re making a difference/having an impact with the work that you do?
Feedback from my co-workers and management. Also, customers will hand write ‘thank you’ notes and connect with me via LinkedIn to stay in touch. Koch’s vision and Role of Business in Society is to help improve one’s own life by providing products and services valued more highly than their alternatives and do consumer fewer resources.  

What makes you proud to represent Koch?
We are truly changing people’s lives whether it’s by medical instruments for insulin, producing paper towels for hospitals, and/or helping people start their career. Also, outside projects such as Habitat for Humanity and food drives can be found within the company. Koch displays our passion for improving the community and community. More information can be found at our website .  

In what ways do you feel like you’ve grown since working for Koch?
My way of thinking and problem solving has improved. Seeing the bigger picture helps me make decisions to get to the final steps. Gaining confidence in public speaking and displaying our guiding principles. 

What do you wish you had known about the professional world when you were a student?
The sky is the limit and stay positive on your journey. There is always a solution to a problem and there is no such thing as a ‘stupid question’.   

In thinking about emerging young professionals, what advice would you share to those seeking their first opportunities?
Please do not fear change, because it will help you grow personally and professionally. Always ask the tough questions and challenge the status quo. Please view feedback as a gift and do not be afraid to take risk.

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