With a fondness for math and an affable personality, Kelsey Boote (pronounced “boat”) earned an industrial engineering degree from the University of Arkansas in 2015.
“I had a lot of people in my life who told me, ‘If you like math, try engineering,’” she said. “And [industrial] is one of the more social divisions of engineering. I didn’t necessarily like the idea of being stuck in a lab or doing research all day.
After the UA, Boote, a Fayetteville native, matched her degree with a traditional career path, which included a logistics engineering job in 2015 at J.B. Hunt Transport Services, where she interned in college.
She said the work was enjoyable and gave her data analytics and visualization skills, though it was not necessarily a job she was passionate about.
“It was very technical,” she recalled. “I was more of an individual contributor, and I’m attracted to work that involves a team. It’s not just about your success. It’s about how you contribute to others’ success.”
In early 2018, Boote found what she was looking for with Harvest Group, an omnichannel retail agency that helps clients (CPG companies) grow their business with Walmart Inc., Sam’s Club and Kroger.
Curious and meticulous about details, she quickly learned the retail business and made an immediate impact. Boote was promoted to her current job in July 2019 to lead other insights managers and handle the company’s largest grocery clients’ most complex analytical challenges.
Aside from her business contributions, Boote has been recognized with an annual internal award for her work relationships, a pillar of the company culture.
“You can do your job really well but not [need to] have close work relationships,” she said. “I operate much better where I think people will flourish when they have trusting relationships with people they work with.”
Though she doesn’t have a specific goal in mind, Boote said pursuing a strategic leadership role on the client services side of the business is something she has an eye on.
“I’m excited about the fluidity [of the work] instead of something rigid,” she said. “I could be in a job a year from now that [today] doesn’t even exist.”
Boote has a leadership role in her church’s women’s ministry, and she also enjoys traveling with her husband.