This week we continued our discussions with members of the Garner Foods team by sitting down with the company’s Director of Marketing, Katie Chaffin. Katie has been with Garner for over a decade now and has worked in the marketing department to help Texas Pete® and Green Mountain Gringo® continue to connect with, and delight, their loyal customers through award-winning campaigns, innovative events, and leveraging new tools to help Garner Foods partners and vendors better serve the market segment. These are just a few of the insights Katie had to share with us.
Brashears: When did you begin working for Garner Foods?
Chaffin: I started as the Marketing Coordinator in June 2010 and then worked through many roles until January of 2020 when I was promoted to Director of Marketing.
Brashears: What attracted you to the Garner Foods organization?
Chaffin: I liked the family-owned business culture of the company. I had worked for large national corporations in the past and for a larger conglomeration and realized that I prefer the more collaborative environment of a family-owned company where there is more personal passion for the work. I’d grown up eating Texas Pete® so it was a product I already believed in, so that helped as well.
Brashears: What was your prior experience before coming to Garner Foods?
Chaffin: I was in radio sales which was an interesting job in 2007 at the bottom of the economy. I realized that I gravitated more to the strategy and insights behind marketing and wanted to move in that direction in my career. I love connecting our products and our loyal customers around a shared belief in the power of great food.
Brashears: What motivates or inspires you the most?
Chaffin: One of my favorite things in my job is meeting our followers and hearing their stories about Texas Pete that mean so much to them personally. Working in the food industry, you meet so many people that are passionate about what they do. I love it!
Brashears: If your team was in an Olympic sport what would it be (any sport)?
Chaffin: Bobsled. We’re a small team but we all must work together in harmony to perform well.
Brashears: What are your favorite ways to unwind and recharge?
Chaffin: A good book and a great glass of wine or a homemade meal with friends. I’m learning to enjoy cooking for friends, and I also really enjoy what other people bring into the kitchen. I totally relate to something a chef once said about most of their memories being “flavor memories.”
Brashears: What is your professional superpower?
Chaffin: I’d say listening. A lot of people have the solution to their own problem if you let them talk it out. I genuinely enjoy sitting down one-on-one with my peers and partners and hearing their perspective. It’s so helpful to actively listen to others and let them inform your own work.
Brashears: What is your favorite food or cuisine?
Chaffin: I love French or any kind of Asian cuisine… and dessert!
Brashears: What are your top 3 favorite places to travel?
Chaffin: Chicago, New Orleans, and the desert. I love the desert for the landscape and solitude. It’s my favorite place I’ve been. I love Chicago for the big city scale with a small-town heart, and New Orleans for all the amazing cuisine that’s tied directly with that city’s history.
Brashears: What is a professional goal you have for 2021?
Chaffin: Growth through innovation. 2020 was a struggle for everybody, and it helped motivate me to look at 2021 as a big year for new ideas and trying new concepts.
Brashears: What was the last Garner Foods product you used?
Chaffin: Green Mountain Gringo® Medium Salsa, I eat it most every day. It’s so good with just about everything.
Brashears: What was the last thing (podcast, book, speaker, etc.) that really inspired you?
Chaffin: Amanda Gorman’s story was inspiring (inauguration speaker). I was so impacted by learning what she has overcome through her speech impediment and how she embraced it as an opportunity to grow and motivate others.
Brashears: If you could go back and tell yourself one piece of advice in 2010 when you started with Garner Foods, what would it be?
Chaffin: Nothing is as big of a deal as you think it is. I used to stress over so many little things that didn’t really need to have so much control in my life. It’s so unproductive.
Brashears: What are you binge watching right now?
Chaffin: Just started Letterkenny.
Brashears: Who is your favorite musical artist?
Chaffin: That’s a hard question, that’s like asking me to pick my favorite star in the sky, haha. Currently, my top plays on Spotify are Noah Reid and Ben Platt. I love a good singer/songwriter vibe.
Word association lightning round: (Tell me the first thing that comes to mind when you hear;)
By David Brashears, Public Relations Director