Molson Coors and i.c.stars develop a partnership that delivers
We spoke with Jonah Turner, head of emerging technologies for Molson Coors which is based in Chicago and Milwaukee. Turner works closely with i.c.stars to mentor and develop students—and provide a talent pipeline to Molson Coors.
You are a true believer in the power of the i.c.stars program and its participants. Why?
I joined Molson Coors during the pandemic. As the company was expanding from beer to beverages and growing its Milwaukee workforce, we were looking at unique ways to build our innovation and talent pipeline for IT. I was already a champion of i.c.stars having attended different events and being a workshop sponsor with my previous employer, so I knew that there would be significant value for Molson Coors to become a partner.
The participants going through the program are extremely dedicated, hardworking, and ambitious. Not only do they develop transferrable technical and leadership skills by completing this intensive training, but the young adults also inspire others to make a stronger impact within their companies and communities through outreach, mentorship, and volunteering. I have made personal connections with many of the participants along with like-minded supporters of the i.c.stars program.
This summer, you led a program that involved graduates of i.c.stars Chicago and Milwaukee. What did you gain from your efforts with the young adults?
Molson Coors has corporate offices in Chicago and Milwaukee. Since i.c.stars also operates in both locations, we figured that there could be a lot of energy and excitement to run a multi-city project with certain alumni. In continuation of last year’s project sponsorship, these participants worked in small teams and pitched a range of creative ideas to elevate our vision for an “Emerging Tech Lab” as a destination for innovation on campus. They got to visit offices in both cities, tour our Milwaukee Brewery, interview leaders from other companies, and connect with employees who provided mentorship along the way.
As expected, the graduates were really engaged and stayed competitive throughout the project. They did a lot of research on corporate innovation spaces, then presented their recommendations to our extended team with passion and enthusiasm. The winning team’s concept incorporated cutting-edge technologies and special amenities to facilitate ideation, collaboration, and networking. All of the participants demonstrated a creative spirit and willingness to learn, which is reflective of our corporate culture.
What is the advantage of working with i.c.stars?
By working with i.c.stars, we are helping to build a larger pool of technical professionals as well as community change agents. It is a pleasure working closely with their staff, which does a great job of organizing programs that are fun and rewarding. The participants who get selected go above and beyond to develop their skills, grow as leaders, and become strong contributors. It has paid off for us; we have hired six people from the program to date.
One of these students is Natalie Vargas who developed and deployed a streamlined and sleek IT intranet site for employees across our organization to access. Clayton Malliett is another i.c.stars graduate who joined Molson Coors as part of our IT rotational program and has since completed an important project within our Milwaukee Brewery. They are productive team members, bring a positive attitude to work, and give back by mentoring others from i.c.stars. I am proud of what Natalie and Clayton have been able to accomplish and confident that they will make a lasting impact here.
We continue to strengthen our partnership with i.c.stars through event sponsorships and project engagements as well as by hiring top candidates from the program. It is exciting to consider the potential impact of i.c.stars as we collaborate together in order to grow our tech community and talent pipeline.