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Jayhawk Career Network

Mentor Spotlight: Sean Flynn

We’re highlighting Jayhawks who serve as mentors to fellow alumni and students to celebrate National Mentoring Month.

Sean Flynn, c’11, is a Pilot Brewer at Miller Valley Brewery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Flynn earned a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology from KU.

Connect with Sean on KU Mentoring+.

What do you do at your job? And how did you end up in your current career?

We do all the product, material, and process testing for every production site in the Americas. This includes testing for new product development, new malt or barley strains, new hops and hop products, new packaging, changes to existing products or processes and dozens of other things needed before launch at a production site. We support around 30 or 40 brands, including seltzers, wine, beer, spirits, ready-to-drinks, non-alcoholics and some things that we are still categorizing. I also get to play around with emerging beverage technologies and do some craft brewing when we have some free time. There are a lot of benefits to working for a craft brewery with the resources of a multi-billion dollar corporation.

I got my first job working for Coors in the QA lab, not knowing anything about brewing. I quickly started building my knowledge by moving around the company, spending most of my free time volunteering at other breweries and studying technical brewing however I could. Eventually, my passion and persistence paid off and I landed a job in Milwaukee at the pilot brewery. 

Who is a mentor for you, and how did they help you?

I am grateful to have had several great mentors over the past 10+ years. One of the best things about working for this company is that there are so many people who are invested in the success of others. The greatest help I’ve gotten from my mentors is always their belief in me, especially when I don’t believe in myself.

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What advice do you have for current college students or young alumni?

Don’t worry about jumping straight into a career. You don’t need to know what you want to do for the rest of your life right now. Keep an open mind when presented with opportunities; you never really know what you might be passionate about until you try it. I was supposed to go into public health; everything I had planned for was in public health, but I fell in love with brewing and haven’t looked back.

What is your favorite KU memory?

Losing my voice from cheering so much with the crowd on Mass Street after the 2008 National Championship.

Do you have a favorite story of connecting with other Jayhawks through KU Mentoring+?

On my last trip to Lawrence, I got to sit down with a student, and seeing their enthusiasm for what I was telling them gave me such a thrill that we just kept talking for much longer than I expected. I am so happy that I can give back to KU and support my fellow Jayhawks. I’m really looking forward to seeing a few more KU grads in the industry and, hopefully, in Milwaukee this Summer for one of our internships.

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Making connections

George Hanzel, a junior from Denver, CO studying Finance, met with Sean while he was on campus. We asked George to share his experience.

I am a junior currently studying finance with certificates in professional selling, music enterprise, and career forward. After college I am unsure of what I would like to do, but I would like a position where I am able to make an impact and help people.

I heard about this opportunity to meet with alum Sean Flynn who is a brewer at Molson Coors through KU mentoring+ and I knew that I had to jump on this opportunity as soon as possible!

During my meeting Sean I learned a lot about the industry and what life after college would look like. He gave me an insight into what to do to get into the industry, and eased the nerves that life after college is not as scary as people make it out to be. From the meeting he got me an interview with Molson Coors for an internship! This was very beneficial.

The opportunity has helped me a lot. I have learned to connect with people whose industries I am interested in working in during my career. KU and the KU Alumni Association have helped me connect with and learn from many different people in many different industries while I try and find a career that I find interesting and fulfilling.

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Do you have a favorite story of connecting with other Jayhawks through KU Mentoring+?

On my last trip to Lawrence, I got to sit down with a student, and seeing their enthusiasm for what I was telling them gave me such a thrill that we just kept talking for much longer than I expected. I am so happy that I can give back to KU and support my fellow Jayhawks. I’m really looking forward to seeing a few more KU grads in the industry and, hopefully, in Milwaukee this Summer for one of our internships.

Need a mentor? Want to serve as a mentor? KU Mentoring+ is open to students, alumni, faculty and staff, and friends of the University of Kansas. Professionals who are looking for opportunities to connect with KU and provide assistance to Jayhawks are also welcome. Learn more about KU Mentoring+.

 

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