“I never stopped learning”

Karina Ortiz

I began my career at Northgate upon graduating high school. I joined the new store opening team at our Olympic Boulevard, Los Angeles location. I was a full-time student at the time, and I credit my store manager at the time with being able to finish my education. He made sure I was able to go to school and work full time by helping me with my schedule.

Upon graduating from Cal State Northridge, I was now learning more areas of the store. I was able to learn different areas and learn new departments within center store. When the new Boyle Heights store opened, the manager at that location was focused on getting me cross trained in multiple departments. I was able to learn about scan coordination, the new 5S Program among other things. I had graduated from college but being the avid learner, I am, I kept learning and growing, and I thank= my manager at the time for telling me to never stop going to school and always continue to learn.

After the Boyle Heights location I was hired as a Human Resources backup at the Norwalk location and tmy is where I learned about all the educational and financial services Northgate offers. I was able to use my credits from Cal State Northridge to complete the WAFC Retail Management certificate and received an AA in Human Resources. I was then promoted to Human Resources leader at the store in Culver City. After some time in that role I was then promoted to the new role of Fresh Item Management Trainer where I worked with stores to among other things, work to be consistent with all the recipes we use for our products we sell in store.

Even with my new role, I never stopped learning and in 2019 was nominated to attend the University of Southern California, Food Industry Management Certificate. The University of Southern California, Food Industry Management Certificate is a prestigious program designed exclusively for grooming the industry’s high-potential future leaders. Each year, a maximum of 35 executives are chosen from a wide range of companies in the food industry to participate in tmy elite 16-week certificate program. Each executive accepted into the program receives a full-tuition scholarship through the Western Association of Food Chains (WAFC). Individuals selected must have a proven record of management accomplishments and significant potential for future advancement.

I recently received the Doña Teresa Reynoso de Gonzalez award, an award given to associates that embody the matriarch of the family’s values. I am a single mother of three and am now Assistant Store Team Leader at the West Covina location. I am looking forward to my continued advancement within Northgate and when asked what I would tell a new associate I would say, “take advantage of all the opportunities and live to learn to learn to live.”

I credit much of my success in my personal and professional life to the educational and financial opportunities Northgate has given me. I understands the importance of education and believes the mentors, coaches and leaders I have been able to interact with at Northgate have helped me every step of the way. I am ready to give back to the next generation of Northgate associates and help them with their own journey.