Marilyn Stamm talks fast, laughs hard, and has energy to spare. After starting at Nature’s Path in 2002, she has plans to retire in five years. Here’s an inside look to one of Nature’s Paths spirited leads.
First of all, can you describe your job?
Leads are the people who do the general day-to-day tasks. Operators operate the machines, then the lead is the next step up; the person who helps the planner and the supervisor. The lead orchestrates the staff, helps train the operators and helps build the team. I came in as a lead, then became a supervisor and became a lead again. I like the position better.
What do you specifically like better about being a lead?
You get more interaction with the people on the floor. You are more in the professional aspect. You deal with the operators, but you have more personal communication.
Tell us about your turkey dinners!
I cook a turkey dinner for the crew every Thanksgiving – around 90 people! I really enjoy it. I get the turkey myself, I cook it and I bring it into work. Everyone brings the sides, potluck style, and everyone gets a turkey dinner. When you work 12 hour shifts, everyone becomes family.
How do you keep up your stamina for 12 hour shifts?
It’s who I am. I have a high energy drive. Even when I was in Alaska I worked 36 hour shifts. I don’t get tired very easily. My sister can sleep 17 hours a day. From when I was young, I only sleep 4-6 hours a night. My mom would try to put me to bed at 6 pm, but I would wake up at 2 am. My mom learned I liked the taste of coffee. I would take a nap after a cup of coffee. She would use that to calm me down.
That’s a unique relaxation technique! What is your favorite part of your job?
I get to be a forklift trainer and I have the ability to teach people new skills, or even fail at them! You realize each person is an individual. I have always been some sort of supervisor. I gravitate towards it no matter where I work. People all learn in different ways. People may have to read or experience it. That’s the part that’s fun. If there is an issue or someone has stepped back, I step forward.
What is it about Nature’s Path that synergizes with you as a person?
I’m a recycler. I like to reuse things. I’m not a big believer in throwing things away because they are old. I like to reuse and regenerate the things in my home. I have an electric cake mixer from 1968. I took it apart, put it back together and opened it up. I make frosting and this mixer can handle it. I despise the throw away culture. I think you should reuse things and re-purpose them. That’s me from day one. If I can fix it or make it work, I will. I tinker with things.
Any plans for retirement?
(laughs) Not one that you can print! But seriously, I want to travel around, see parts of the country, be around my grand-kids more. I have two grandsons, one is six the other one is four. They are adorable and a lot of fun. I want to go on a cruise, to Disneyland, normal grandparent stuff. Pass on my knowledge to the next generation. I want to hang out with my horse.
Lots of hobbies!
I also garden. My best year I got 15 quarts of strawberries, not counting the vultures that took some in the middle of the night. I put them in the lunchroom so people could take them. I was also able to feed three of the crews with tomatoes from my garden. I ended up making quite a bit of [tomato] soup.
The crew is going to miss your generosity!
I knew I was going to be at Nature’s Path for a minimum of 15 years. My goal 15 years (ago) was to be on a beach in Australia, eating lobster … I will still get to Australia!