Employee Profile: Leme Tran, Engineering Technician, CBC HQ
Like many people starting new jobs in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Leme Tran felt like she was taking a bit of a gamble when she signed her offer letter. “Not only did I not see half of my interviewers, but I also didn’t know what the offices looked like.”
Her gamble worked out, despite the challenges of adjusting to remote work. In May 2020, Leme started as a Pilot Line Technician at Clif Bar’s Innovation Center, a facility dedicated to research and development near our headquarters in Emeryville, California, and has since been promoted to Engineering Technician. This means she has a hand in ensuring the successful development of new Clif Bar products.
A typical day for Leme includes a mix of desk work and work around the Innovation Center, including operating and fixing equipment, running R&D trials, organizing the plant, and managing warehouse inventory.
While this part of her job requires in-person work, it’s still been an adjustment to work as part of a largely remote work environment for the last two years.
“My advice for others starting a new job remotely is that you might feel a little bit lonely, and you might feel some FOMO. Working remote can be an adjustment. Reach out to others and ask them to hang out (if you feel safe to do so). Don’t be shy about it! I’ve even posted on Yammer to see if a fellow Clifster wanted to go hiking. You’d be surprised at how many people will respond.”
At Clif Bar, she says, she can bring her full self to her work. “Before Clif Bar, I bounced around jobs trying to be the ‘right fit’ for my employers, only to be miserable because it wasn't the right fit for me. Here, I’ve been encouraged and welcomed to be myself. When I look for a job, I want to work for a company I believe in, and one that practices what they preach.”
“My teammates have been so supportive since the day I got hired. Not only have they helped me grow in my career, they’ve also helped me grow as a person. From hobbies to ERGs, conversations on Yammer, and interactions at the gym, there’s always a way I can relate to someone at Clif.”
Outside of work, Leme loves trying new things. “I'm an avid cook. I love trying out new recipes, making mistakes, and trying again. One of my favorite past times is trying to recreate recipes of dishes I’ve enjoyed at restaurants and turning traditional dishes or recipes with meat into a vegetarian or vegan recipe.
“I also have a highly active Shiba Inu that takes me out on walks. I love hiking to the top of a hill and taking in the view. I feel sometimes we get distracted by the noise and just how busy we are day to day. When I am at the top of a hill and I see this panoramic view, the surroundings suddenly become quiet, the air seems crisper and fresher, and it feels like time stops for a moment.”
Leme says one of her greatest adventures has been her journey of self-development.
“I’ve always been a planner and I like structure in my life. So much so that when my plans deviate, even just a little bit, I stress out to the point of it being unhealthy. As I continue to work on myself, I’ve learned that it’s not fun being so rigid in life, and unexpected and unplanned experiences can be some of the best moments.
This hasn’t always been easy. “People who met me would never guess that I struggle with mental health disorders; it’s something I deal with every day. Through this experience, I’ve learned that everyone has a story to tell. Everything has gone through something difficult, with or without you knowing it. I live by Robin Williams’ quote: ‘Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. BE KIND. Always.’”
This philosophy ties in to one of Leme’s goals for the year. 2022 marks Clif Bar’s 30th Anniversary. Leme is planning to participate in the “30 for 30” challenge, during which Clif Bar employees are aiming for 30 hours of volunteer time per person by the end of the year. “I’d also like to prepare at least 30 meals and toiletry kits for people experiencing homelessness.”
We asked Leme to share one of her favorite moments from her time at Clif Bar so far. “Petting all the dogs I run into at HQ!”