Keri is our Vice President of Finance in our office in Issaquah, Washington – she does it all! She joined Vanguard in 1995 and as a key member of the management team she shines bright with her ‘can do – will do,’ proactive, and driving approach to business.
She manages a team of pro’s who take care of all things financial in the always changing, increasingly challenging environment that is Vanguard Global. From Wapato to Issaquah, Keri leads by example with her rolled-up sleeves, hands-on, direct approach. She does so much in so many areas that it is almost impossible to write a short bio that covers her contributions accurately, or fully.
Let’s get to know Keri a little more!
VG: Has Issaquah always been home, or did you re-locate here for work?
Keri: Hawaii and California were the first two places that I called home, so I started my life with a lot more sun than we get in Issaquah. From California, my parents moved to Vancouver, Washington on the Oregon/Washington border. Finally, I headed to Seattle for college and have been in the area ever since.
VG: How long have you been with Vanguard?
Keri: It has been about 24 ½ years and I can honestly say that no year has ever been the same. Vanguard is always taking on new projects, changing, adapting, and looking for more efficient ways to service our partners. It keeps work very interesting!
VG: We must ask, how are you holding up in Washington during this pandemic? How has your day-to-day changed?
Keri: Well, I can’t lie…there are days that I start and end in my pajamas! Instead of starting the day at the gym, my days now start with a solo 4 to 5-mile walk/run. The peacefulness is nice, but I miss the camaraderie of my morning workout crew. We are turning boredom into new hobbies. My youngest son got an inflatable kayak that is awesome for getting outside on the many lakes around us. Everyone has their own unique challenges to deal with right now, so I’m focusing on the spontaneous acts of kindness around us and appreciating the chance for families to reconnect without so many distractions.
VG: You perform many critical functions for Vanguard! Whose day do you impact on a regular basis? Who hears from you the most?
Keri: I’m lucky to have regular interaction with all of our work teams, but the Finance team hears from me the most on a day-to-day basis.
VG: Have you always been destined for produce? Where did your career start?
Keri: Produce was a surprise! My first job was with a public accounting firm, Deloitte, where I spent most of my time on the Boeing audit. My favorite experience was touring a semi-classified production area for the Space Station where I got to see components that were destined for space. When the normal audit was completed, I got to work on projects that were more of a consulting roll. I have been able to bring various strategies from those experiences to Vanguard because we are always looking for ways to operate as efficiently as possible.
VG: What has been a memorable moment for you during your time working for Vanguard?
Keri: A number of years ago, we had an initiative to integrate our work teams outside of normal day-to-day operations with fun events. One month, we had a pie eating contest for those that were up for the challenge. Of course, we only used fruit pies and people could choose between cherry or apple. Watching everyone in the office cheering on co-workers dressed in plastic garbage bags to protect clothes and eating pies as fast as they could with no hands definitely has to be a top memorable moment!
VG: During a regular week, what does your free time look like?
Keri: My free time is a little different these days with the stay at home order. I have resurrected Backgammon, Yahtzee, and Cribbage, and I’m on the lookout for any TV series that might be entertaining at night. I miss watching sports, but I’m hoping to get some golf in when the weather gets better. We’ve had some fun mixing up new versions of our favorite rum, gin, and vodka drinks to take the edge off, and with limited trips to the grocery store I’ve been creative with cooking! Some nights it’s like the cooking show Chopped at my house – see what you can throw together with random ingredients!
VG: Do you have a favorite produce item? If so, how do you prefer to eat it?
Keri: I am not a very good vegetable eater, so I make up for it by eating a lot of fruit. My favorite has changed over the years, but nectarines have been at the top of my list for a while now. I love them simple and plain, by themselves. With my love of dessert, I can also never pass up a good fruit cobbler – apple, cherry, mixed berry – they’re all delicious!
Every day is different at Vanguard; with new growers joining our community, new crops and fresh varieties being introduced, and new markets opening. Keep up to date with what’s happening in our expanding world.