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Recognizing Associates Who Serve Our Communities

recognizing associates who serve our communities
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Thus far in 2018, our associates have dedicated, collectively, more than 22,000 volunteer hours, supporting a variety of charitable initiatives, such as the company’s Better Lives Food Drive, Nestle Cares Day, disaster relief donations and fundraisers, park and waterway cleans ups, and community water education programs.

Last week, we celebrated “Thanks for Giving” across NWNA that included a webcasted event at our headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut. This annual celebration honors individual associates who have done an exceptional job supporting their local communities and organizations through volunteer work. It also recognizes all associates who support our disaster and emergency support program as well as those who give and lend their expertise in NWNA communities around the country.


On Thursday, November 15, all associates were invited to attend the Thanks for Giving ceremony. Our President and Chief Executive Officer Fernando Mercé presented the awards for Employee Volunteer of the Year as well as Leadership Support and Outstanding Project Support.

Our winners included:

Volunteer of the Year – Jasmina Sumanovic (Cabazon, CA):

Jasmina has logged 669 volunteer hours this year. Despite an extensive travel schedule, she supports almost all of Cabazon’s volunteer activities in addition to spending approximately 70 percent of her weekends volunteering at the Palm Springs Animal Shelter.

Her efforts at the shelter include training and photographing dogs, onboarding other volunteers, coordinating Sunday morning pet hikes and assisting with the shelter’s social media efforts as part of the marketing team. From time to time, Jasmina even fosters dogs in her own home. She says that her contributions at the shelter combine three of the things she loves most: helping dogs, taking pictures, and hiking.


Volunteer Leadership Support Award – Arlene Anderson-Vincent (Stanwood, MI) and Kent Koptiuch (Lee, FL):

Arlene Anderson-Vincent: As a natural resource manager, Arlene has a 24/7 job and still manages to find time to not only volunteer herself, but create volunteer opportunities for other associates at the Stanwood plant. She has been coordinating, organizing and recruiting for volunteer activities since before there were actual volunteer coordinators at the plant.

Now, Arlene mentors the volunteer coordinators and supports the Stanwood volunteer program with her expertise and guidance. She is an avid volunteer outside of NWNA supporting causes close to her heart.

Since 2014, Arlene has volunteered on the board of the Mid-Michigan Honor Flight hub, where she helps fly our nation’s veterans to Washington DC for a free “Tour of Honor”. With Arlene’s help, the program successfully had their 9th flight this past May and because of her ongoing participation, NWNA received an award commemorating Ice Mountain’s support of the program.


Kent Koptiuch: Back in 2010 when the employee volunteer program was first introduced and local support was requested, Kent was the first to respond. Since then, his support of the volunteer program has been unmatched.


For years, Kent has taken a lead role in organizing and recruiting for volunteer events including the Rap River Run, Eco-Day at Blue Springs, The Great Suwanee Cleanup and a variety of Project WET festivals in Madison, Zephyrhills and Crystal Springs. Each of these events have introduced NWNA associates to community service and placed them on a path to volunteering. More importantly, these events provide an important service in those communities.

In his personal time, Kent is committed to the Lee/Madison Fire department and community councils. His volunteering with the fire department is wide-ranging and includes but not limited to helping maintain the trucks, conducting trainings, organizing the holiday parties for Lee kids and being the official driver for Santa. 

Outstanding Volunteer Project Support – Maria Migliaccio and Alli Walther (Stamford, CT):

Maria and Alli are recognized for their work as Project Leads for the 2018 Better Lives Food Drive. With their support in executing the drive and efforts to increase participation, a record 54,334 pounds of food was collected in our “Step up to the Plate” baseball themed campaign.

Recognizing Our Veterans

This year, in honor of Veterans Day and as a special token of appreciation, NWNA veterans were recognized with a special tribute and presentation of customized coins sponsored by Project Opportunity. NWNA associates serve all of our communities in a variety of ways. Challenge coins were used in the military to award an individual for their excellence, special achievement, and also for inspiration and remembrance. The Project Opportunity coins were presented as tokens of appreciation for all military members and their families for their patriotism and service.


Supporting Our Community Partners 

In addition to the associate and veterans awards, NWNA was presented with a Certificate of Thanks by Feeding America for our ongoing partnership in the fight against hunger and our first line support of their disaster relief efforts. NWNA associate Delphine Fairley was specifically recognized for her outstanding work in fostering this ongoing relationship with Feeding America and her support in coordinating NWNA’s food and water donations throughout the years.


NWNA has been proud to partner with Feeding America since our first companywide food drive in 2014. To date, we have collected and donated 196,102 pounds of food equaling 163,419 meals.

We congratulate this year’s Thanks for Giving award recipients and all the associates recognized for their contributions to our communities. Thanks for giving!