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Fall 2007 - Love of Food

Destination Purdue > Fall 2007 - Love of Food

Destination Career is a series profiling recent Purdue Agriculture graduates.
For more alumni stories, visit our Destination Career archive.

Putting her love of food on display

By Janelle Thompson

Walking down grocery store aisles is when Alexis Fincher is most proud of what she does. Many of the displays and coupons on the shelves are a result of her creativity and imagination.

Alexis Fincher

Photo provided by Alexis Fincher

Alexis Fincher, a 2005 Purdue food industry marketing and management graduate, poses with a few of the products she promotes as part of her career at Kraft Foods.

"What motivates me every day is the rewarding experience I get when I see what I work on in the store," said Fincher, who earned a food industry marketing and management degree from Purdue in 2005. Today, she's a consumer promotions assistant for Kraft Foods in Glenview, Ill., near Chicago. She works with various departments at Kraft, from sales and marketing, to product research and development, putting together the content and layout of the promotional displays for grocery stores. Currently, she's applying her creativity to promotions for products such as A.1. Steak Sauce, A.1. Marinades, Grey Poupon, Shake 'N Bake and Kraft Fresh Creations.

What inspired Fincher's career choice was a freshman year field trip to the Food Marketing Institute convention in Chicago. During the trip she realized she wanted to major in a field that would allow her to pursue her newfound passion for food marketing. She said that attending the convention gave her insight into the food industry. The overwhelming feeling of all the different grocers, wholesalers, retailers and food manufacturers all presenting their ideas and items, sparked something inside her, she said. After the conference she changed her major from agribusiness management to food industry marketing and management, setting her on a path that eventually lead to her job at Kraft.

Originally from Fort Wayne, Ind., Fincher has now made it to the "big time" of the Chicago area where she now lives and works. She said she feels at home in her new location.

Fincher credits activities she participated in during high school and college with helping her adjust to life in the big city. She loves meeting new people and adjusting to new situations, she said. At Purdue, Fincher was involved in the Golduster Dance Team in the All-American Marching Band, Purdue Agricultural Business Club and Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences (MANRRS).

Fincher said her minor in international studies added to her experiences, taking her to Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico for a study abroad experience. One thing she said she regretted after completing her study abroad was not having enough time left in her college career to work abroad. She urged every student to take advantage of study abroad opportunities because international experience - whether study abroad or work abroad - will benefit anyone.

She joined Kraft after graduation, but had a chance to "test drive" the company while still a student. She interned in Cincinnati for Nabisco during the summer of 2003 and landed an internship with Kraft the following summer where she worked in the area that would eventually become her career. Upon graduating in 2005, Fincher had two successful internship experiences, which she said helped her get hired with Kraft.

In addition to her experiences, Fincher credits her success to the department that offered her major, Agricultural Economics.