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Benolkin (’17) Named Cargill’s 2020 Sales Professional of the Year

January 5, 2021

Matt Benolkin, a 2017 graduate of Finlandia’s International School of Business, was recognized by Cargill as the 2020 Sales Professional of the Year. Benolkin earned the award because of his consistent effort which increased new sales by $1.1 million in 2020. Benolkin was a Sports Management major and has worked at Cargill since graduating from Finlandia.

Cargill, Inc. is an American privately-held global food corporation based in Minnetonka, Minn., and incorporated in Wilmington, Del. Employing over 166,000 employees in 66 countries, it is responsible for 25 percent of all United States grain exports. Founded in 1865, it is the largest privately held corporation in the United States in terms of revenue.

Benolkin credits his success to learning how to manage this time as a two-sport athlete at Finlandia while studying business.

“I learned how to prioritize tasks and give a consistent effort into my academics and athletics,” said Benolkin. “I learned sisu while at Finlandia, and that is a characteristic that I’ve put to use in my working career.”

“Matt Benolkin always impressed me with his willingness to learn,” said Associate Professor Steve Nordstrom. “He was not afraid of challenges and was also willing to learn from mistakes. I am not surprised by Matt’s success in sales. This is just the beginning to a successful career.”

Below is the official announcement from Rachel Holstrom, Digital Communications specialist at Cargill.


Finlandia’s own Matt Benolkin was recently named Sales Professional of the Year for Cargill Food Ingredients North America. Recognizing our high performers is an integral part of what it means to be on the Cargill Food Ingredient’s Commercial Excellence (CE) Team. The CE North America Quarterly Recognition Awards were introduced in 2020 as a way to recognize the efforts behind the sales we make, as well as the crucial components that empower our team to succeed every day. This peer-nominated award gives us the chance to recognize a Sales Professional and Sales Enabler each quarter, and then choose one individual to represent our Sales Professional and Sales Enabler of the Year out of that group of winners. We were thrilled to recognize Matt in Quarter 3 of Cargill’s 2019/20 Fiscal Year for his efforts growing contribution margin and meeting customer expectations. Not only does he do what’s right for the customer, but he goes the extra mile to cross-sell ingredients across the Cargill portfolio. This quarterly nomination in Q3 led to him being named Sales Professional of the Year in FY20. We are honored that he is part of the CE team. 

Related Articles & Links

Finlandia International School of Business
Sports Management Degree
Cargill, Inc. 

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