Ruiz CEO Puts People First

Kimberli Carroll in a suit

Kimberli Carroll’s dad often told her that food was a good business to be in because people are always going to eat. For Carroll that has turned into a 23-year career at Ruiz Foods, where she now serves as president and chief executive officer.

In her role Carroll says, “Like any CEO, my job is to communicate the vision for the business, ensure we hire and keep great people on our team with the right mindset and deliver optimal results for the owners and shareholders.”

Carroll is passionate about what she does and how she does it. “I love working with people. I love interacting with customers, industry peers and being a part of a community of professionals,” she says. “Even more, I love working with a team to develop a goal, cultivate a plan and work cross functionally to achieve it. I love working to solve problems, innovate new solutions and I really love helping to develop people to reach their full potential and gain the confidence that they can do and be anything or anyone they choose.”

Kimberli shaking a man's hand

But the food industry has its challenges, and those challenges drove Carroll to seek a B.A. in Organizational Development in the university’s bachelor’s degree completion program. “I chose Fresno Pacific because of the reputation for a quality education and the flexibility of the course curriculum that allowed me to continue to work full time,” she says.

That degree was vital to helping her career in the food industry. She describes her experience at FPU this way, “The atmosphere was welcoming but fostered debate and challenged my critical thinking skills. It was not about teaching me what I need to know, but how to think, be creative and go beyond what is known.” That creative thinking has been important while working at Ruiz Foods.

She developed a creative way to use shipper data to create analytics for the Food Services Business Unit. This use of shipper data— which Carroll considers her greatest career accomplishment—has not only set Ruiz Foods apart from its competitors but also has been a game changer for the entire industry.

This is an example of how Carroll sees herself as more than a boss or leader. “I endeavor to foster an environment where my team can truly be themselves,” she says. “I want to know them and cultivate an atmosphere of trust. I endeavor to be a coach, an advocate and advisor and sometimes I rely on them to provide that same support for me.” While she feels she is in the place God wants her to be, Carroll still has work to do.

As an advocate and advisor Carroll wants to help others. When asked to give advice to other students or recent graduates entering the field she says, “It is also really important that you believe that what you are doing has purpose for your company, your customers and your consumers.”

I know that I would not be where I am today had I not attended Fresno Pacific”
Kimberli Carroll
Kimberli giving a speech at a food ceremony

As Carroll looks at her career, she is reminded that FPU has been instrumental in her ability to make that difference in the lives of others. “I know that I would not be where I am today had I not attended Fresno Pacific,” she says. “Completing my undergraduate degree offered me opportunities that I would not have been afforded otherwise and the whole experience helped to better prepare me for the challenges I would face professionally. I also really enjoyed my cohort of classmates, some of whom I have remained friends with to this day.”