Conference gives women a fresh perspective on industry

04/24/2013 04:40:00 PM
Bettina Lindner Lippisch

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Attendees of the 2013 Women’s Fresh Perspective Conference at the Fire Sky Resort April 21-23 left with many reasons to feel empowered as vital members of the fresh produce industry.

Julie Petrovick, To-Jo Fresh Mushrooms Inc., Tammy Sparkman-Roberts, Lakeside Produce, and Leslie Simmons, Dave’s Specialty Imports, at the WomenBettina Lindner LippischJulie Petrovick (from left), director of marketing for To-Jo Fresh Mushrooms Inc., Tammy Sparkman-Roberts, strategic market development director of Lakeside Produce, and Leslie Simmons, marketing manager of Dave’s Specialty Imports, network with other women in the produce industry at the Women's Fresh Perspectives Conference.A variety of hands-on sessions and workshops offered suggestions on how women can contribute more to the success of their organizations.

Faculty members of the Simmons School of Management and leadership consultants gave attendees actionable advice on how to increase their business acumen, build their personal brand, enhance their strategic networks and negotiate more successfully.

Consultants included Theo Gilbert-Jamison, chief executive officer of Performance Solutions by Design, and Libby Gill, CEO of Libby Gill & Co.

Attendees met influential women in the industry who paved the road for female leadership, including Frieda Rapoport Caplan, founder and chairman of the board of Frieda’s Inc., and heard about success strategies in male-dominated industries.

“Frieda’s career started in mushrooms, so I can relate to her. Meeting Frieda personally has empowered me to express my ideas and thoughts as a woman in my organization,” said Julie Petrovick, director of marketing, To-Jo Fresh Mushrooms Inc.

Moving forward

Key conference takeaways for Daymara Baker, director of sales for Charlotte, N.C.-based Chiquita Brands International were how to take ownership and make a difference by leveraging the women’s insights,

Tammy Sparkman-Roberts, strategic market development manager for Leamington, Ontario-based Lakeside Produce, was eager to put to work what she learned in breakout sessions.

“I want to better promote my personal brand and embrace the differences between male and female leadership approaches, instead of competing with men in my organization,” she said.

Discussing these and other challenges women face in all levels of business with other women felt safe and comfortable to her, even though she would have liked more time to learn from the expertise of the seasoned leaders and speakers.

This desire to spend more time in smaller groups, as well as the opportunity to have more time to network, was shared by Leslie Simmons, marketing manager at Dave’s Specialty Produce Inc., Coral Springs, Fla.

“Being able to connect with women of all organizational and expertise levels who all share the same goals — to make their organizations more successful by growing as leaders — is such a tremendous opportunity. It would have been beneficial to have more of it,” she said.


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Nichole    
Salinas, CA  |  April, 25, 2013 at 03:13 PM

Kudos to the PMA Foundation, the planning committee and PMA staff for bringing to fruition the first Women's Fresh Perspectives Conference. An excellent 2 days and well worth the time and monetary investment! To all of you that didn't attend this year - be sure to sign up for next years conference!

Margi Prueitt    
Newark, DE  |  April, 25, 2013 at 07:21 PM

We are pleased that so many women gained insight and skills to improve their game which will help their companies gain! We look forward to seeing more women at the WFP Reception at the PMA Foodservice Conference and the WFP Breakfast at Fresh Summit in October.

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