New York City Brings Growth for HyLife Masters Students

August 13, 2018
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The HyLife Masters Program took their pursuit of knowledge to New York City this past month. While seeing the sights of the big apple eight Masters Program students learned the skills and expectations needed in becoming an effective leader.

The goal of the three-day trip to the east coast was to take part in a Management Kaizen hosted by ITOCHU International’s Management Program. The program sets out to take individuals on a journey of self-discovery, learning and application in the following areas: communicating effectively as a manager, active and reflective listening, getting work done through others and the importance of providing feedback are a few of the topics.

“We had two objectives in attending the Kaizen,” said Andrew Penner, Senior Manager of Talent Mangement. “We wanted to build the critical skills for better productivity, efficiency and performance and we wanted to learn more about our partnership with ITOCHU.”

ITOCHU is a big part of HyLife, owning 49% of the company. Penner says his HyLife team was excited to get the chance to connect and learn from the largest general trading company in Japan.

“Supper with ITOCHU was very special,” said Penner, who talks further on getting to meet the company’s General Manager of the Foods Division. “We got the opportunity to get to know Lou Otaka on a personal and professional level. The discussions we had over supper were inspiring.”


The event consisted of a half day teamwork workshop, a half day presentation by ITOCHU and then a two-day Management Kaizen. Throughout the mind filling three days the team of Elroy Peters, Cater Schellenberg, Gina Kahake, Michelle Martel, Tyrone Gulick, Jessica Martens, Rachelle Ross-Funk and Lyane Cypress had a lot of positives to look back on.

“I think my greatest takeaway was understanding my own personality and how you have to sometimes step outside of that to deal with different personalities,” said Kohake, a Customer Sale Representative at HyLife’s office in Kansas City.

Rachelle Ross-Funk, a Project Accounting Manager at HyLife’s La Broquerie office also reflected on learning new relational skills. “The open dialogue of not only the struggles we all face but how we all worked together to try and offer advice or different perspectives without judgement brought our relationships with each other to another level,” Ross-Funk said.

During the group’s last teamwork session they took the opportunity to share the challenges each of them face in the organization and the different challenges each of the department’s encounter.


“This was exciting to see the group work together to understand better the challenges we all face,” said Penner, who is in his second year of leading the program. “Because of our group’s diversity, we were able to learn more about our fully integrated business platform.”

Along with their visit to ITOCHU’s offices in New York City the group has attended a two day Project Management course at the University of Manitoba along with multiple tours internally through HyLife’s sow and finishing barns, the new cut floor at the processing plant in Neepawa and the new feed mill in Randolph.

The program also had the privilege of going one-on-one with HyLife’s President Claude Vielfaure in June. Vielfaure shared about the HyLife’s growth and about the challenges they had to face to get to where they are today.

HyLife is always striving to live out its mission statement to “Take care of our Employees, our Customers, and our Communities”. The Masters Program continues to develop into an innovative branding tool to strengthen new and existing leaders within the company.

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