Out + About with Stop | Autumn 2018

Volunteer Voices: with Jeff Almer (MN)

What motivates you to get up in front of people and tell your story?  I like to believe that, in some fashion and in some way, it helps at least some of the people in the room see things a little differently. My goal in meeting and speaking with people working in food manufacturing is to make a connection that not only impacts their work, but also makes a difference in their lives.

How did your day at Kerry Foods go? I thought the day went very well. My process when preparing to speak is to first, think about who my audience is, and then to make a particular point or recount something of notable importance that will ring true with them. There are parts of my speech that remain static, no matter who I speak to. However, I do like to change some content depending on the company and what they produce. For example, I will try to bring up a comparable instance of a similar company having a food safety issue if one applies. I also like to inject a little humor, to keep people interested or to help the listener hear what I have to say.

Did you have any private, personal responses from people? Apart from the person who set up the meeting, there are usually a couple people that will make a point to thank me for my time.  At Kerry, I met a young man who really connected with the message, and asked me to be in a selfie with him. People who come and speak with me after, often have a particular personal experience to share.

How would you encourage other Stop constituents to consider offering their time and energy to speak on behalf of Stop Foodborne Illness?  I’m a person who never was comfortable with public speaking or talking at length, but in this case – the importance of what it means to me has gotten me over the hump of any nervousness or hesitation to speak. It’s a serious message that means a lot to me, but to truly honor my mother’s spirit I have to have a little fun with it and keep it interesting.

See our article with Cindy Kallstrom, of Kerry Foods

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