After graduating from Chicago Vocational Academy in 2009, Burnham neighborhood resident Antoinnette Smith spent some time figuring out her next step. She took classes at Daley College and had jobs in warehouses and a distribution center. While she originally thought about studying medicine, it turns out that the best fit for her is what many of her family members were already doing – a career in supply chain management and logistics.
When she knew she was ready to head back to school in 2017, a friend told her about the TDL program at Olive-Harvey College. She jumped into her classes, fueling her passion and desire to learn all she could about the field. When a professor mentioned an internship with PepsiCo, she jumped at the opportunity. She had already earned a PepsiCo scholarship to help fund her studies, so she figured it was worth a try. After a few rounds of interviews, she started her PepsiCo internship right after she graduated from OHC with an Associate in Applied Sciences with a focus on Supply Chain Management in the spring of 2019.
“I was taking what I learned in class and applying it to an actual supply chain,” she says excitedly.
And she’s gotten a lot of good experience at PepsiCo – working in sports marketing, tracking orders, learning and using different apps, perfecting her customer service, and working every day in a career she loves.
At the end of her year-long internship, she transitioned to apprentice, where she has more responsibility and works a little more independently as a member of the Regional Grocery Team. She is also earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a focus on Supply Chain Management from Chicago State University. And thanks to a partnership between Olive-Harvey College and Chicago State, she transferred in with 66 credits and jumped right into career-focused classes.
Ultimately, Antoinnette wants to learn all she can, enhance her skills, and build her knowledge so one day she can open her own business. For now, she loves working at PepsiCo and getting the first-hand experience she needs for a successful career.
“I’ve worked in warehouses and directly with the products, but now I am working directly with customers – this opportunity is helping me to see the whole supply chain picture,” she says.