Published on Wednesday, September 1, 2021
When you think about the home you grew up in, tiny little details may come to mind. It may be the constant dirt on the rug when you walked in the door. The wallpaper in the bathroom. The view overlooking the west field from your bedroom window. Or maybe it’s the stack of papers that always cluttered the edge of your dad’s office desk.
And although these things may seem meaningless to some, for you, they hold so much history. The dirt on the rug wasn’t just dirt... it was a representation of a long day’s work in the field. The bathroom wallpaper, carefully selected by your mother, was installed when your parents moved into that house and made it their home. Your bedroom window overlooks the field where generations before spent hundreds of hours of working themselves to the bone. And that heap of papers? It represents days spent in the field with good weather vs. rainy office days to reduce the pile.
But when Bethany Gremel, Director of Culture and Brand Experience, looks back on her past, it’s her family’s kitchen table that brings back the pivotal memories of her youth. It has been the focal point of their farmhouse for 41 years, and it represents the values, relationships, and culture created by those who have had the opportunity to sit around it.
Bethany grew up at that table. It’s where she and her siblings sat every morning while her dad read a bible passage before school. It’s where she completed homework and 4-H books, and it’s here she helped her mother prepare baked spaghetti which they would freeze and later gift to friends and family in need. To Bethany, sitting around that table is where she believes she learned what culture truly stood for. The table is the physical representation of the values that Bethany’s parents instilled in her and her siblings that they still carry with them. The stories centered around that table are ones that shaped them into who they are today.
Bethany left that table for the first time sixteen years ago to pursue a career opportunity with Target Corporation in Kansas City. Four years later, she received an invitation from Sonny to take a seat at Beck’s table and help build the company’s human resources department. Today, Bethany serves the company in multiple ways, both as the Director of Culture and Brand Experience and a member of Beck’s Leadership Team. Through her tireless work in these roles, she helps shape the indescribable culture at Beck’s for her fellow teammates, dealers, and customers.
“My view of Beck’s culture is just one perspective. Our culture permeates every department, every team, every employee, and every dealer. We each have a story to tell,” says Bethany.
At Beck’s, our culture IS different. Bethany has asked others to try and capture it in a word or a phrase, but what she has come to learn is that people often find it’s impossible to describe. Beck’s culture cannot be defined. It simply must be felt and experienced.
Beck’s culture survives generations, integrating itself into each person’s identity. It’s defined by stories that shape us and results in our family of employees, dealers, and customers developing genuine, authentic relationships with one another that stand the test of time. It’s no different, Bethany realizes, than the culture built around the kitchen table in her childhood home.
As you reflect on your own kitchen table, know that the attitudes and behaviors you live by will create the stories that shape who you are. After all, the most beautiful oak table is just a piece of furniture without intention and purpose.
Sonny Beck, CEO, reminds us often that, “We can build buildings, order more seedboxes, and grow more seed corn all day long. That’s the easy part. The most difficult part in our continued growth is maintaining our culture and values.”
The culture you build at your operation’s “kitchen table” will be the bedrock of your success. Your operation can be a place for you to generate an income, or it can serve as a catalyst - a way for you to invest in your relationships with your neighbors, become a pillar in your community, and build a legacy to pass on for generations to come.
So, the next time you sit down at your kitchen table, consider this; how will the culture of your operation leave a lasting impact? “
Author: Janelle Mitzner
Categories: CropTalk, 2021