Creating Your Own Career Pathway At FGF: An Interview With Jiti Sharma

Jiti Sharma had every intention of becoming a grade-school teacher, but in her studies at the University of Toronto Mississauga, she took a sociology course that led her down a different path in labour relations. Recently celebrating her five-year anniversary at FGF, Jiti originally joined the Talent & Development team as a Talent & Development Coordinator before moving into a Health & Safety role. When a senior role opened up in Talent & Development, with a gentle nudge from her old team leader, she applied and returned as a Talent & Development Business Partner.

What do you do at FGF, Jiti?

As FGF’s Talent & Development Business Partner, I’m the go-to person for our Team Members to help direct them to the right response. It runs the gamut – from facilitating training and supporting Team Member promotions, to general questions about the company – I help support our Team Members and their respective projects at our Home Office.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m from a relatively small family – I was born and raised in Mississauga for a decade before my parents, my sister, and I moved to Brampton. We’ve been there ever since and have deep roots in the community. In fact, my husband and I are high school sweethearts. We’re lucky to call Brampton our home where our daughter can visit her grandparents just a few blocks away.

How did you start at FGF?

I had every intention of becoming a teacher and took all the courses to prepare myself for what I thought I wanted to do. Then I took a sociology class that introduced me to industrial relations & HR — the rest is history.

My first gig was at a corporate grocery store chain where I learned how to train, mentor, coach, and elevate Team Members. From there, I worked at two staffing and recruitment agencies before I started looking for my next challenge.

FGF was one of the first jobs I applied for in my search. When my colleague reached out for an interview, I was thrilled because I knew how big of an opportunity this could be for my career. I vividly remember walking in for my first interview and being greeted by the smell of freshly-baked muffins — that’s when I knew I had to work here.

What has the journey been like since joining FGF?

So much has happened to me professionally and personally over the last five years. I originally started as a Talent & Development Coordinator and I always lived by my professional mantra to learn as much as you can laterally within your role and organization before moving up. When I was ready, there was a new role in Health & Safety that I felt could complement my skills further. I spent another year in that new role before my colleague encouraged me to apply for my current role at Home Office. I started in this role two-and-a-half years ago when it was just my counterpart and I — we’ve had significant growth since then!

What do you love about your role?

The whole reason I got into HR is because I’m a people-person. I love the interactions I have with my Team Members. I find great pleasure in being the person that people can depend on. Plus, it’s amazing the kind of relationships people build here at FGF, because I can genuinely say all of our Team Members are fantastic people who come from different backgrounds and lived experiences. It’s really fun just getting to know them.

What makes FGF a great place to work? 

There’s a number of things that come to mind!

First, we’re a Technology Company that Bakes. If you walk into any of our sites, you’ll see how carefully we’ve considered automation and innovation to efficiently produce, maintain and exceed the quality our customers come to expect from FGF. We’ve fostered such a culture of homegrown talent and FGF ensures each Team Member has the tools and resources to grow their career — whether here or somewhere else.

What also comes to mind is how seriously FGF takes Health and Safety compared to other industries — our track record speaks for itself. It pushes me to work even hard to ensure our protocols consistently go above and beyond the industry standard to protect our Team Members and make FGF a great place to work.

How has it been adapting to working remotely because of the pandemic?

I have to give so much kudos to our IT team because at Home Office, we mostly work on desktops. The day it was announced we were going to be working remotely, our IT team literally migrated everyone to a laptop overnight.

When it comes to office culture, when the pandemic began, it took some adjusting. At FGF, we’re a very open and communicative place of work. We pride ourselves on the fact you don’t have to book appointments to speak to your colleagues or leaders. To replicate that, we’ve been putting together weekly activities and events through Microsoft Teams and Workplace to keep everyone engaged and to sustain our in-office culture online.

How has Talent and Development changed in the last 5 years and what advice do you have for anyone starting a job at FGF?

FGF has evolved so much in the last five years — originally there were 10 of us in Talent & Development when I started. The team is focused on helping support different roles and projects around the office and our facilities.  Anyone who joins into Talent & Development should have that agility, flexibility, and adaptability that comes with the pace of how we work.

I’d tell anyone who’s joining FGF that they should embrace the nature of ‘going with the flow’. Embrace the speed, change, and uncertainty. Things at FGF move fast and we grow fast. It’s a humbling and valuable experience to witness. Lastly, I’d say to enjoy the ride! You know what they say — time goes by quickly when you’re having fun!

Career news