At your service: Julie Parrett

Written by Emily Battmer

As the executive assistant to Guida’s Dairy President Michael Young, Julie Parrett says her most important responsibility is helping others. She assists Guida’s executive team with administrative duties, and she helps her colleagues with communication, training and answers to their questions. As part of Dairy Farmers of America’s Fluid Milk and Ice Cream Division, Guida’s, based in New Britain, Conn., manufactures a variety of dairy products, including white and flavored milk, cottage cheese, sour cream, creamers, butter and more.

But Julie’s efforts go above and beyond her official job responsibilities. She is committed to helping those in her community as well. She has stepped up to coordinate Guida’s philanthropic arm, spearheading three major community service events in the past two years.

Julie says she is eager to help the company give back to those less fortunate because she feels she has been blessed with her job. 

“In order to be a good corporate citizen, organizations need to give back to the community,” Julie says. “I think that when you’ve been fortunate enough, either as an organization or as an individual, to be in a place where you can eat a good meal, have a roof over your head and be healthy, at that point it’s important to give back to others who maybe aren’t in that position.”

Because she knew she wanted to benefit the community as much as possible, she decided to take full advantage of Guida’s involvement with Dairy Farmers of America when planning Guida’s inaugural charity golf tournament last year.

“When DFA acquired Guida’s in 2012, I was very pleased to find out it was a farmer-owned cooperative and that the company’s core values were very similar to the existing values at Guida’s Dairy, as well as my own personal beliefs,” Julie says. “Guida’s has always been very involved in the community, and now we feel fortunate enough to be involved in a bigger entity with DFA. We wanted to do service on a larger scale, so we worked closely with DFA Cares to set up our nonprofit arm.”

Julie says the DFA Cares Foundation helped Guida’s navigate the legal nuances and logistics of establishing its charitable arm and assisted with the golf tournament. The results exceeded her expectations. After subtracting expenses, Guida’s was able to donate $15,000 each to four charitable organizations. She says the event was so successful that it was moved to a larger venue for this year’s tournament to accommodate the overwhelming turnout.

While money raised at this year’s golf tournament still is being calculated, Julie says the total has surpassed $66,000, and donations continue to pour in. She expects to provide substantial checks to four charities again this year, including Connecticut Farmland Trust, an organization that helps preserve farms throughout the state. She says she learned about the organization last year and felt it was a perfect fit for the event. 

“Right now, I just feel eternally grateful to the DFA farmers for allowing me to work at a place that I love,” she says. “Now that we’re part of DFA, it’s very important to give back to farmers because they give us so much. And because DFA Cares helped us have such a successful event, we wanted to return the favor.”