Maria Reyes

This entry is part 67 of 89 in the series

Reyes,-MariaMaria Reyes

KeHE Distributors
Director, Vendor Management

Years with company: 36

Education degrees and professional/volunteer organizations: The 36 years I’ve invested in the grocery business is my degree. Over the years, I’ve been certified in various courses including Dale Carnegie, as well as several marketing, financial, and category management courses. Through KeHE Cares, there are several opportunities to serve – I’ve enjoyed serving time with The Morning Star Mission and Feed My Starving Children.

Mentors and how have they assisted you in your career: My mother has been my most influential mentor and life advisor. From her I learned humility, work ethics, assertiveness and many other things that I’ve practiced throughout my career. I’ve been blessed to have several other business and professional mentors. Their willingness to provide direct, constructive feedback and advice has been critical in helping me to develop as a professional.

What are you most proud of in your career achievements? Do you have a defining moment of your career to dateThere are several proud moments in my career; being nominated for this honor is one. Earlier this year, I was chosen and was a proud presenter at the New York International Olive Oil Competition; I was the keynote speaker at the Annual Meeting for the California Olive Oil Council. Over the years I have been able to adapt and embrace change both within the industry and my company – this also makes me proud.

A career-defining moment came many years ago when I left the food industry because I felt it was no longer for me. After two short weeks, I realized that it was a mistake. I went back to the company I was working for and decided to dedicate my career to the food industry – the rest is history.

Most challenging part of your job: The most challenging part of my career has been maintaining a good work/life balance; as well as managing through the many changing aspects of daily job priorities. The key is to develop and practice good time-management skills.

Advice for upcoming younger executives: Be passionate, assertive and respectful. Be honest with yourself and others. Live up to your commitments – this builds trust. Practice listening more and talking less – you’ll be amazed at what you’ll learn. Above all, be humble.

Hobbies:  Spending time with family, studying history and learning about different wines and food cultures – especially premium extra virgin olive oil.