As we move through Diversity Month this April, we’re proud to recognize the dynamic team members that make up Tyson Foods, who all bring a variety of experiences, beliefs and lifestyles to our workplace and help us better feed the world. Team members like Teodora Statz.
Teodora was born in the Philippines and grew up in a one-room home shared with her parents and seven siblings. She remembers immigrating to the United States in January of 1994 and seeing snow for the first time. She also remembers feeling lonely in her new country and struggling to connect. Then she met a fellow Filipina at a baseball game who encouraged to apply at the local Tyson facility (IBP at the time).
On August 22nd, 1994, she began work for Tyson in Storm Lake, Iowa, and there, she says, she found community.
“I met a bunch of people and made a lot of friends, friends that I still have,” Teodora said. “And so many nationalities. We have so much diversity here at Tyson.”
Her first job was on the ham line. Teodora says that when she first arrived in the U.S., she understood little English, but her coworkers and friends at Tyson Foods taught her English – and other languages – as they worked together.
In December 1999, Teodora received her first promotion to Quality Assurance Technician on B-shift. In 2010, Teodora was promoted to her first supervisory position as a B-Converting Production Supervisor. In 2014, Teodora was promoted again to General Supervisor of B-Converting and in 2019, Teodora was promoted to Superintendent. Teodora attributes her success to the support she received in the plant, from the team members she worked side by side with on the line to the upper management that encouraged her to follow her dreams.
“You’re never going to be successful by yourself,” she says. “The support system here is amazing, from my team members and upper management. They helped me with whatever I needed to be successful in my position.”
And one of the most amazing things, she says, is how Tyson embraces and encourages their team members, regardless of their background.
“[Tyson Foods] cares about your ability, not if you’re male or female or where you come from.”
When she became a general supervisor, she remembers realizing she became a role model for other women in the plant and in her community. They would look at her and think, if she could do it, I can too. It’s a role she takes even more seriously now as a “Green Hat” – the color superintendents wear – because she’s the first female superintendent at our Storm Lake facility.
“Learn, learn every single day,” she says when asked what advice she has for others looking to advance. “It’s not going to happen in one day or two days. Be strong. Don’t speak of negativity. Always think positive and be prepared to learn. Never stop learning, even when you make mistakes. Mistakes are not failure. It’s a failure to not learn from them.”
At Tyson Foods, we believe diversity, equity, and inclusion is paramount to our continued success. Our U.S.-based workforce is comprised of team members from more than 160 countries who collectively speak more than 50 languages. And at a single U.S. plant, our diverse workforce can represent up to 50 countries and speak more than 11 different languages.
As we look to the future, we’re excited to continue creating spaces where all team members can thrive, because no matter who you are or where you come from, you can find a home at Tyson. Learn more about our diversity, equity and inclusion efforts here.