At 16, Julie Heu left France unaccompanied. TV shows glamorizing California enticed her away from all the stability she had ever known. She dreamt of a perfect breeze on a sunny day, stunning mansions with palm trees, huge windows, and a beach straight out of Baywatch. Then, she arrived.
Among her most difficult and immediate realizations: Oroville, California is not the Beverly Hills she’d been expecting, and the English she’d grown up studying in France was hardly good enough to keep up.
Suddenly, she felt her courage and idealism challenged. Was this a huge mistake?
Overcoming Culture Shock
Of course, Julie could have called it quits right then and there. She could have laughed at her desire for adventure, and retreated home having underestimated how challenging relocating would be. But that is not who Julie is.
With the assertive touch of someone who is both practical and ambitious, Julie said, “If I wanted to survive, I needed to adapt.”
Needless to say, Julie survived California. Then moved to Alaska, Florida, and now, Georgia. She taught herself how to sew, draw, and play the piano. She became proficient in 5 languages (Hmong, French, English, Spanish, and accounting) and sought out a company that would challenge her to build new skills.
Why Kloeckner Metals?
Before applying to Kloeckner Metals, Julie loved that she could watch videos of the executive team, like this one with CEO John Ganem. The videos gave her a feel for the company culture, “it feels more transparent,” she explained. Kloeckner Metals showcased the commitment to digitization that inspired her to apply.
Julie landed an interview with Director of Finance Marietta Alay-Ay, and was happy to discover that, unlike her arrival in California many years ago, the culture, people, and priorities were exactly what she was expecting.
Julie’s interview with Marietta was the first time someone was willing to see everything she had to offer. Marietta focused on her transferrable skills and gave her an opportunity to grow in her career.
First Months on The Job
And grow she has. Julie started in June as Kloeckner Metals’ Treasury Analyst. In these first 7 months, Julie learned a lot quickly.
For example, after just a month, CFO Andrea Moseley reached out to her directly. She tasked Julie to review, revamp, and where necessary, write up new policies—the kinds of policies that would impact the whole company. Julie, as her history overcoming difficult tasks has shown, rose to the occasion, “It was a big challenge, and I accepted it.”
She submitted the new policies and they were approved. This was a success in and of itself.
When Andrea reached out to thank her, Julie was pleasantly surprised. For a company of this size, she never expected to receive direct acknowledgement from the CFO for her efforts. Encouraging experiences like this built Julie’s confidence that Kloeckner Metals offers just the right adventure for her.
Sara Montijo is a writer for Kloeckner Metals. She graduated with honors from NYU and has previously facilitated multimedia programming and worked alongside renowned chefs. Her friends call her a time warp.