Kim Owen grew up in Minnesota and moved to New York to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point where her class was roughly 90% men and 10% women.
After serving as an Army Military Intelligence Officer for 5 years, she settled down in Northern California where she worked as an Information Security Specialist for a large technology corporation. Although she feels her nine years in this position were critical to her career, she didn’t see herself there for the long-term. With three sons at home, Kim wanted to continue to grow professionally without giving up her work-life balance, something she struggled with in her current role.
So, when Kim learned of an Information Security position opening at Gallo, she said that, “It felt like the stars had somehow aligned for me.” Gallo is the world’s largest family-owned winery and when she joined as Director of Information Security she had a sense that this could be her ‘work home.’ Working at Gallo for just over two years, that sentiment has only grown stronger. Not only is she inspired by a dynamic and bright group of people, but she is able to work with some of the most forward-thinking security technology. She’s also happy to have found a professional environment where diversity and inclusion is embraced.
“GALLO IS THE MOST DIVERSE COMMUNITY THAT I’VE WORKED WITH TO DATE. EVERYONE IS FOCUSED ON DOING WHAT’S BEST FOR THEIR TEAM AND THE COMPANY. THEY STAY TRUE TO THE CORPORATE VALUES, WHICH ARE AWESOME AND A BIG PART OF THE REASON THAT I JOINED GALLO.”
The unique culture at Gallo can be attributed to the strong family values it adheres to. Gallo treats their team as part of the family which has been central to their corporate culture since their founding in 1933. In fact, most recently the winery received the Employee’s Choice recognition for Glassdoor’s “50 Best Places to Work.” and the Candidate’s Choice for “Best Places to Interview.” Employee satisfaction at Gallo ranks among companies like Google, Facebook and Apple.
So how do they do it? Kim believes that it starts with “growing talent across the board and putting people in the right places to maximize both their job satisfaction and contributions to the company.” As a leader and mentor, she admits that this is “an honor and a privilege, but it’s also a responsibility.” When asked what it’s like to represent women in technology, she told us that she’s been lucky enough to provide coaching and mentorship to a number of talented women at Gallo and has “learned at least as much from these experiences.” Additionally, Gallo’s Women of Wine Employee Resource Group seeks to develop female employees and fosters positive relationships, a great opportunity for women to network with one another at Gallo.
Gallo truly believes that having a diverse culture contributes to unique perspectives and new ideas. It is a company that values people from different backgrounds and work experiences and recognizes individual talents. They look for leaders, like Kim, who have a passion for helping people grow because when they do, there are no limits to innovation and creativity.
Kim’s advice to those considering entering an industry where they may be under-represented is: “Work hard, stand up for yourself and surround yourself with good people as much as possible. Figure out the knowledge and skills you need and go for it!”
Her journey reminds us that where diversity is nurtured, innovation is never far behind.
TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE DIVERSE CULTURE AND CAREER OPPORTUNITIES AT E. & J. GALLO WINERY, VISIT GALLOCAREERS.COM. CHEERS TO CAREERS AS DIVERSE AS YOU!