A people person in PR
Like many retirees from General Mills, the story of Pam Becker’s career with the company starts and ends with people.
In her 31 years with us (“Half my life!” she joked), Pam built relationships from day one with colleagues across our departments and with journalists and bloggers across the U.S.
Pam’s closing out her impressive career in public relations this week, putting her day-to-day hard work to get the word out about many of our brands aside to set her sights on being a grandma to her three grandchildren.
“I just think it’s time.”
Being a grandma is probably a much easier gig than some of the projects she’s worked on over the years to raise awareness and gain media and online coverage for the Betty Crocker Kitchens, Yoplait, Meals, Green Giant and Big G to name a few.
Pam found her way to General Mills in 1980, after PR, journalism and advertising jobs in three states, including her first job out of the University of Missouri’s Journalism School – writing for the Sears catalog in Chicago.
“Until I came here, I had switched jobs about every two years. I found that the people here were so great to work with that I didn’t want to leave,” says Pam. “The work was varied and challenging – each brand team was like working with a different small company.”
The way she did her job at General Mills changed dramatically over the years, from numerous writing assignments and photography shoots, and promoting recipes, to sending out black and white photos to media outlets (versus digital PR kits today.) And, supporting events that various brands were a part of, like hot air balloons that Yoplait owned.
“I think the things you remember the most are the things you had the most fun with,” Pam says.
She also fondly recalls working on projects with the annual Rose Parade and the Save Lids to Save Lives program. She also worked on the opening of the new Betty Crocker Kitchens, and the launch of gluten-free cake mixes.
“We were providing people with a real solution to a problem they had,” says Pam. “I remember announcing the gluten-free cake mixes at a celiac disease conference, and one woman cried because now she could have a wedding cake that she and all her guests could eat – and it would taste good.”
I asked Pam what advice she would give to someone just starting out at General Mills – though I think it applies to anyone, at any company, in any role.
“Squeeze all the knowledge you can out of all the people you work with because you’re working with some very bright people,” says Pam. “And enjoy your time too, because it goes by fast.”
Enjoy your time, Pam, in retirement!