AEO Pride Spotlight: Anna, Distribution Center Operational Training & Safety Lead

At AEO, we celebrate the diversity of one through the inclusion of many. Throughout the month of June, we will be celebrating associates who are members of the LGBTQ+ community – highlighting their accomplishments, learning about their unique roles and hearing about their experience at AEO!

Anna has been part of the Ottawa Distribution Center family for 8 years. She is an avid sports lover and a certified National Athletic Trainer (the folks you see running from the sidelines to help hurt athletes). She’s passionate about volunteering in her community and in her free time, she and her girlfriend Erin enjoy grilling out, entertaining friends and enjoying some R&R with their pups Sophie and Sadie. We asked Anna to share with us how she has grown professionally and personally throughout her time at AEO.

Q. What does an Operational Training & Safety Lead do and how did you land in this role?

I began my career with AE as a Forklift Driver and after about a year and a half, I was promoted to a Group Lead. During my time as a Group Lead, I was always extremely active with the Ottawa Campus Safety Committee, so when the Operational Training & Safety Lead position opened, I knew I had to apply! My role is essentially ensuring our associates prioritize safety in every way. I facilitate on-boardings for new hires, I support ongoing safety training and work directly with associates to ensure we’re always improving safety measures
where we can.

Q. What is one career milestone or impact you’re really proud of?

A few years ago I was selected to be the Ottawa DC rep for the AEO Foundation. In 2019, I helped organize our Community Day project where we had 196 associates volunteer nearly 400 hours over 7 straight days in various Ottawa community programs. Being able to connect associates to volunteer projects in the community is so rewarding and it really encourages associates to interact and work as a team.

Q. At what moment did you truly feel part of the AEO Family?

Ottawa is a pretty small town in Kansas, so when I started my job at AEO, I was very quiet and reserved. Right away, people were super accepting and friendly. From day one, my work ethic, personality and characteristic as a person were how I was evaluated, and who I was dating was never a factor. My partner and I attend work events regularly and everyone always makes us feel welcomed. My work family truly loves me unconditionally. I’m also a member of PLUS, an associate network group that connects allies and members of the LGBTQIA+ community within the organization.

Q. How does AEO encourage you to live your REAL self every day?

In previous companies, I sometimes had to hide who I was dating or not talk about it and I felt it limited my growth. At AEO, I can keep pictures of me and my partner on my desk because who I date does not define me as a person. I want to be defined my values, character and performance, and AEO allows me to do that.