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ED&I Career Journey

Military Hiring Spotlight: Jeff and Katelyn

By Jeff Vogel, Kellanova Area Sales Manager
Retired Master Sergeant, U.S. Army National Guard
By Katelyn Wilcox, Kellanova Senior Talent Advisor

Jeff Vogel pictured with son at right, Katelyn Wilcox with her Vietnam Veteran father on the left


Inspiring People to Achieve Success

As I prepared to retire from my 34-year military career and join the civilian sector, I knew I wanted to leverage my experience and take my career in a new direction. That’s why I joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Hiring our Heroes fellowship that connects the military community with American businesses.

After I applied and was accepted into the program, seven companies expressed interest in offering me a Hiring our Heroes 12-week fellowship, but only Kellanova had a role that played to my greatest strength and strongest interest – interacting with and inspiring people to together achieve success. I also wanted to return to the retail and sales sectors that I enjoyed before joining the Army on a full-time basis.

After successfully completing the fellowship, I joined Kellanova full-time March 28, 2022 and retired from the U.S. Army on April 1. That week, I went from active military to serving as the Team Virginia Area Sales Manager for Kellanova.


Lean on Me Mental Health First Responder Logo

A Strong, Values-Led Culture

Overall, it was a smooth transition, but the first year was a challenge as there was so much to learn – everything from understanding the specifics of the job to how the company works. Fortunately, Kellanova has a strong, values-led culture and a commitment to help people succeed. In that regard, it is much like the military culture I knew well.

We also have Business/Employee Resource Groups (BERG) like K Vets and Supporters that serves the military community and brings together those interested in doing so. I’m on the leadership team and help recruit Veterans into the company. I hope to get even more involved in the future.

K Vets Kellanova BERG Logo

Working as a Team to Achieve the Mission

The way I see it today, my many roles in the U.S. Army contributed greatly to my being able to transition to the civilian sector and to Kellanova. As a trained infantry (on-the-ground) soldier and combat medic, I am able to quickly assess a situation and make decisions. As the first Master Sergeant in the Army to serve on Capitol Hill, I’m used to interacting with elected officials and Generals, so I understand the importance of treating customers right and fulfilling your commitments. And as someone who has been on multiple deployments, I know the necessity of working as a team to achieve the mission.

Jeff Vogel and his U.S. Army Troop in Afghanistan

Today, about two years in, I am very confident in the impact I am making with my team and customers, and with Kellanova overall. Additionally, I often meet with service members looking to transition from military to civilian life, and I tell them all the same thing. Our top skill is leadership, it’s drilled into us from day one and it’s a clear indicator of success in the corporate world. So don’t hesitate to look outside the defense sector for your next career. I’m sure you’ll find it very rewarding.



Paying it Forward for my Dad 

Just one month out of high school, my dad was drafted and sent to Vietnam. Fortunately, he came home, but as I grew up, he shared stories of how returning Veterans were treated at that time versus how they have been treated more recently. That’s when I made a promise to do whatever I could to help people leaving the military have a better transition.

Today, as a recruiter at Kellanova and a member of our K Vets and Supporter Employee/Business Resource Group (B/ERG), I’m putting this promise into action.

Veterans bring highly transferable skills to Kellanova that match the values and needs of our organization. They have strong problem-solving skills, can quickly assess a situation and make a decision, are tremendous leaders and can handle stress. These skills are appreciated across our company ‒ in sales, marketing, supply chain and other functions.


Katelyn Wilcox with her father, Vietnam Veteran

A New Way to Recruit Veterans 

Our challenge is to find the right Veterans and set them up for success. To do so, we participate in programs like Hiring our Heroes and the Military MOJO Career Fair. Now we’re trying something very different – recruiting Veterans with a QR code on packages of Town House® Crackers, Eggo Waffles® and Rice Krispies Treats™ on grocery store shelves. We want Veterans to know that Kellanova is a great place to begin or continue their civilian careers.


RKT Packaging with K Vets Hiring QR Code

Helping Veterans Succeed at Kellanova

And to help Veterans succeed at Kellanova, we provide support even before they are hired. We stay connected with members of the military who intend to make a change to civilian life in the future. We ask Veterans working at Kellanova to sit in on interview panels with Veterans to help explain any differences in vocabulary or roles that exist between our company and those in the military. And once we hire a Veteran, we have mentors who help them onboard and acclimate.

Kellanova’s commitment to Veterans runs deep. I’m honored to work with many in my role to guide them to success and meet that commitment I made to my dad many years ago.

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