MAKING MOVES WITH MORGHEN JOHNSON
Morghen earned her M.B.A. and shifted industries to bring it all together.
I first learned about Gallo through a job posting on the National Black MBA (NBMBAA) Conference website. I was interested in the job description right away, but the name of the company did not ring any bells for me initially. So, I ventured to learn more about the history of the company and culture online at gallocareers.com and on Glassdoor and searched general information about the wine industry. It was hard to miss details of the company’s expansive portfolio and well-respected status in the industry.
My professional background prior to Gallo is primarily in corporate communications and crisis & issues management. After receiving my B.A. from Boston College in Communications, I was looking for an opportunity to leverage my skills and learn about different businesses and industries. Prior to business school, I started working for an agency in New York City and supported a range of consumer packaged goods, hospitality, and technology clients.
I envied the brand marketing teams I worked with in my prior communications role because they were the primary decision makers driving the overall strategy for the projects I executed. I ultimately decided to go to business school to start facilitating my transition into a brand management role and to refine my leadership capabilities. I knew that developing a strong business acumen would be essential to switch careers.
My first interviews with Gallo were at the National Black MBA (NBMBAA) Conference. I came into the interview with very specific criteria that I was looking for in a company: a strong culture, leadership development and training opportunities, as well as a values-driven approach to business. The interview was a positive two-way conversation that was equally weighted on my skills and knowledge as it was on ensuring that Gallo was a strong fit for me. I truly appreciated that the company took the time to show me that they were invested in expanding my skills as a marketer and as a person with needs and aspirations outside of my day-to-day role.
I am currently an Associate Brand Manager (ABM) in the marketing organization supporting brand building initiatives for the Barefoot team. The ABM role varies widely from brand to brand. I am personally responsible for helping to set and execute against the strategy of Barefoot Spritzer Cans. As the ABM on that sub-brand, I am the person most closely connected to our brand equity, business performance and ensuring that our line of products resonates with our customers and consumers. I analyze data and information from internal and external sources to help support and grow the brand over the long-term. My work requires me to lead cross-functional teams across multiple disciplines including finance, supply chain, new product development, sales and engineering.
I have worked on two brands since joining Gallo – Liberty Creek and Barefoot. Both experiences have been valuable to me personally and professionally because they have allowed me to positively impact the lives of consumers.
For example, while working on Liberty Creek, I had the opportunity to manage a cause marketing program with a non-profit called Homes for Our Troops, which is an organization that builds specially adapted, mortgage free homes for severely injured veterans post 9/11. A defining brand moment for me was the day I presented a check to a Veteran receiving his new home.
Gallo provided an opportunity for me to visit Modesto to learn about the different housing options available. I appreciated the small town feel of Modesto, but knew right away that Oakland was going to be a better fit for me for three reasons:
Proximity to an airport
Easy access to a large city made me feel the most at home
Oakland has a positive reputation for being a home to residents with strong ethnic and cultural diversity and progressive thought that is consistent with what I experienced and appreciated about other cities I have lived in. It was also extremely important for me to live in a community where young professionals of color are thriving and well-represented throughout the social fabric
I am an avid reader, brunch goer and movie buff. Also, now that I’m near so many great natural destinations like Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, and Wine Country, I have been trying to spend more time outdoors.
Dig deep and make sure that you fully evaluate what is the best fit for you both professionally and personally. Set high expectations for prospective employers and ask the tough questions that you need answered to feel prepared for the decision you are making.
I am married and the father of 2 girls. I am in my 10th year with Gallo, and I am currently the Supply Chain & Logistics Functional Lead for our Global ERP Implementation. Most of my time has been spent in leadership roles within Finance & Lean Six Sigma. In my spare time, I am also a Part-Time Professor of Finance at California State University Stanislaus.
Someone from history would have to be Nelson Mandela, and today, I think of the following 3 black business leaders: Kenneth Chenault (17 years as the CEO of American Express), Ursula Burns (first black female CEO of Xerox) and Mellody Hobson (president of Ariel Investments - one of the largest African American-owned Money Management and Mutual Fund Companies in the United States). All 3 inspired me in my early career prior to my immigration to the U.S. and they continue to inspire me today. I strongly believe in the importance of having more visible black role models outside of just sports and music.
We should celebrate Black History year-round. It’s great to have the month, but we should educate each other throughout the year. I think diversity should be interwoven into our daily conversation.
I believe that race is a social construct that should be eliminated. Once you mention race, you create a box for people to be put into. Be aware of your own unconscious bias and actively work to change them. If there are facts that contradict your thoughts, be open minded to changing your way of thinking.
Gallo is made up of passionate and driven people. I like the fact that you can carve an entrepreneurial niche for yourself. Not many companies give you the opportunity to touch so many different functions.
CHILL. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Start saving systematically (a portion of your income every paycheck) and don’t sell your shares!
Shortly after joining Gallo, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and underwent surgery and treatment. The hardest part was taking time off work when I had just begun my career. With the support of my family, friends and colleagues I fought through it and returned to the office after 3 months. My Gallo family was so supportive during this time and it will never be forgotten. Courage and drive is what keeps me going!!!
I married my husband in 2007 and we adopted our beautiful baby boy in 2011. I am so grateful for the support and work life balance that Gallo continues to provide.
Over my career at Gallo, I have had the opportunity to contribute in many areas of the business (Accounting, Finance and Information Technology) and have driven many corporate-wide initiatives. I am also very passionate about recruiting great talent and giving back to the community. I lead the IT Undergrad Recruiting efforts which brings in new interns and college graduates from local and national universities each year.
I take every new project, job, and obstacle as a learning opportunity to grow. The two most important things in life are family and career, and I do my best every day to keep a good balance.
If you are a college student interested in learning more about internship and full-time opportunities, please email College.Recruiting@ejgallo.com.
Stephen was a pastor for 36 years and his last eight were spent as Lead Pastor for his church in Ceres, California. In recent years, a medical issue made it increasingly challenging for him to do the job he loved. The church did everything they could to accommodate him, but he felt he could no longer give his congregation 100%.
Changing careers after almost four decades would prove both challenging and intimidating. “My skill-set didn’t transfer seamlessly into very many areas,” recalls Stephen. Hundreds of resume submissions and many rejections later, he attended a career fair where he came across the Gallo booth. The Recruiters he met took the time to discuss Stephen’s skill-set and made recommendations for possible job opportunities. After leaving the career fair, he was inspired to go to GalloCareers.com and applied online.
It turned out that he was a great fit for the Campus Transportation Safety Monitor (CTSM). He was driving down Highway 99 when he received a call from Lorna in Talent Acquisition. “She was calling to explain the process and to discuss next steps. I was so accustomed to the auto-rejection notices, that a phone call from an actual person was a bit surprising. Nearly everything is handled over the Internet now so interactions with living, breathing people is rare before the formal interview stage,” says Stephen.
During his on-site interview, Stephen voiced his concern that his experience as a pastor wouldn’t quite stand up to candidates who had previous experience in security, law enforcement or the military. Corporate Security Manager, Gene pointed out, “Stephen’s perceived weakness was actually his greatest strength since the job involved primarily working with people. I was extremely impressed with his professionalism. His lack of security experience was absolutely overshadowed by his work ethic, life experience, and integrity. We talked on several occasions about his desire to learn a new career, and his willingness to overcome life’s barriers. I was really excited to offer him the job and hoped he would accept, as I knew he would be a great addition to the Gallo Family.”
Since starting at Gallo, Stephen has been impressed with the culture saying, “I have witnessed my managers go out of their way to help, regardless of my lack of experience with security work. They have been patient beyond reason at times with my questions and requests.” What Stephen enjoys most about his new position is that he gets to interact with people every day. He also enjoys living in the Central Valley because it’s close to great destinations like Yosemite, San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, and Monterey, satisfying his passions for travel and landscape photography.
Looking back on the experience, Stephen says, “My intention from the start was to prove to my team that they would never regret hiring me. I appreciate that my efforts to be dependable, honest and competent have been recognized and rewarded.” Stephen worked as a CTSM for 9 months until being promoted to Part-Time Security Guard. He hopes to continue down this path and says, “My goal is to become a full-time guard in the not too distant future.”
UPDATE: In the time since Stephen’s interview, Gallo is happy to announce that due to Stephen’s professionalism, demeanor, and excellent job performance, he was offered a promotion to Full-Time Security Guard. Gene notes, “Stephen has an infectious drive and passion for life, and because of this, he will excel. We couldn’t be more excited for his future.” Cheers to a true success story!
Louis M. Martini Cab. I need to give a shout out to our Brand Marketing team as I’ve grown to also appreciate the Dark Horse brand.
A great place to work!
Buy vacation homes that my entire family could enjoy.
Recently, I was golfing with my sons and their friends. I was teeing off on the 1st hole with quite a crowd gathered. I took a mighty swing and was looking for the golf ball down the fairway. My son walked over to me and whispered “you’re looking in the wrong direction. Look down.” The ball had not traveled far off the tee. We all had a good laugh at that one!
Execute with Excellence – Take the initiative to make things better.
Tough question, but I would have to say Abraham Lincoln. He would have great stories to share about mending a divided country.
Take full advantage of your potential and the opportunities that life presents.
Be confident in your abilities and strive to make positive change.
Deployment Champion of Lean Six Sigma and Operations Strategy for Gallo, Victor Valentin is an inspiration to his team and the Gallo organization. He joined the Winery in 1999 as a Controls Engineer and has held a variety of positions within Engineering and Operations.
As a Deployment Champion, he helps Gallo solve complex problems, develop expertise, and build company culture. His team’s goal is to drive Lean and analytics-based decision making. We’re proud to have a leader with such a vision and a passion for helping others succeed.
I was born and raised on the beautiful island of Puerto Rico. I have one older brother, and five close cousins who are like brothers and sisters to me. I grew up in the small, rural town of Trujillo Alto where my brother and I took care of horses, goats, rabbits and chickens. We also rode horses for fun and competed, riding a special breed of horses called “Caballos Paso Fino.”
Being of Hispanic heritage, family has always been important to me. They’ve always been there for me through major life moments, good or bad, and I have a lot of family members. Not only brothers and sisters but aunts, cousins and even close friends. As a kid, I remember referring to many people as my aunt and uncle to later learn they were close friends, not actual relatives! In my culture, we help everybody, even total strangers, and treat them like family.
I attended middle school at Escuela Central de Artes Visuales de Puerto Rico and my high school, University Gardens High School, specialized in Math and Science. I went on to the University of Puerto Rico where I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1997. That same year I was awarded the GEM fellowship to attend MIT, where I earned my Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering and Controls.
Gallo is a great company with a unique history, good products and a solid vision, but what I enjoy the most are the people I work with. The people at Gallo are very smart and they are passionate about what they do. Everybody works hard, but we also have fun doing it.
Most innovations don’t come from eureka moments or individual epiphanies; they come from a focused effort to look at a problem from different points of view and by asking questions in different ways. Diversity unlocks innovation because it allows us to get inspiration from many places and perspectives, something that is encouraged at Gallo.
Respect and humility. Respect for fellow workers creates the opportunity for people from different backgrounds to come together, and humility allows us to have an open mind to new thoughts and ideas, regardless of where they come from.
Our goal is to make Gallo a top choice for Latinos by providing programs and resources that will empower them to grow their network and careers, while building lasting connections. We are connecting Latinos to leaders for coaching and mentoring, while giving them the opportunity to influence our brands by providing insights into the Latino consumer market. I believe LA CASA will provide opportunities for everybody, Latino or non-Latino, to connect and engage with the right resources, at the right time.
Climbing Half Dome with my son when he was nine years old. We spent a few months training before the hike. Every Friday we would go run and exercise at the local junior college track and then go for pizza. I’m sure the pizza didn’t help the training routine, but we were able to spend a lot of fun, quality time together.
Grow your GRIT. Grit is a distinct combination of passion, resilience, determination, and focus that allows a person to maintain the discipline and optimism to persevere in their goals, even in the face of discomfort, rejection, and other obstacles. Every year our businesses and processes are going to become more complex and we are going to have to solve unique problems that we cannot even imagine at this time. Grit will give you the right tools to be successful.
*In light of the recent hurricane that has impacted Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Gallo has donated $100,000 to the American Red Cross to assist with relief efforts.
Gallo has a legacy of supporting the communities where its employees, distributors and customers live and work. The company also matches employee donations up to $5,000 annually through the employee match program. Please visit www. redcross.com to learn more about how you can help with relief efforts.
I am of legal drinking age in the country where this site is being accessed.